Dating back possibly as far as 1460 and later finding itself at the heart of the docks of a seafaring empire, the pub has witnessed centuries of the highs and lows of naval life. Drunks would be press-ganged into naval service here (fortunately no longer), the pub cellars acted as a holding prison for convicts before deportation to Australia, and Captain William Bligh and Fletcher Christian are said to have both drank here before the most famous mutiny of all time: mutiny on the Bounty. It is also the pub where Judge Jeffreys, loyal to James II, was captured trying to escape England, dressed as a sailor fleeing the Glorious Revolution in 1688. Known as the The Hanging Judge for his preference for justice to be at the end of a rope, following the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 he issued 144 death sentences in just two days, so becoming a national figure of hate and securing his place in British history.
With the stretch of docks between Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf now little more than a residential district, The Town of Ramsgate has become a family friendly pub for locals, offering real ales and pub food, and is somewhere we've returned to again and again during our years living in the neighbourhood.
Foodwise, there is a large selection of unmistakable 'pub grub', with pies, burgers, grills and sandwiches aplenty. Meeting friends there, the large table allowed us to see lots of the menu, though over the years, we've already sampled much of what they offer.
Starters included whitebait, which was perhaps the star dish of the day for it really was a great tasting plate, let down modestly only by needing to be a little hotter. A prawn cocktail gave crisp fresh prawns with old style brown bread and butter and without drowning the prawns in Marie Rose sauce, while the nachos came appropriately slathered in melted cheese and salsa etc. The only issue with the nachos were that they were of the flavoured variety, not plain tortilla chips, as if trying to compensate for some perceived absence. The Buck Rarebit with a poached egg could have been a contender for dish of the day if the bread had been toasted just a little more.
Mains saw a good mix of pub classics. Fish and chips, and scampi and chips, both suffered from a moment too long in the fryer, but we are pleased to see that the pie (as always) here is home made and while the crust looked a little pale, it was simply not brushed with egg wash, but was greatly enjoyed. A baby back rack of BBQ ribs gives a good plate of food as long as you're happy with a generous covering of BBQ sauce on your ribs (I am). Having had the ribs a few times now, it has been consistent over the years and a choice I've never regretted. Great news too for the pocket, on a week day lunch, when you buy one main course, the second is just £1, an additional bonus.
A quick view of the puddings leaves everyone saying the same thing at the same time: school dinners. The format is a sponge of some variety and custard, we opt for treacle, jam and chocolate. They are what you expect them to be and welcomed on a grey winter's day.
We love The Town of Ramsgate as a pub and a Wapping landmark, and in the neighbourhood, if you are meeting friends, it's as good a place as anywhere to get together. If you're enjoying a riverside walk, it's a convivial staging post, while as a local, it's simply a great place to visit even if only for a pint. Food here is traditional pub food that is good enough, and as a local, The Town of Ramsgate is always a candidate for those days when you neither want to cook yourself nor make the journey into town to eat at a 'fancy' restaurant. At a time when too many pubs are closing, we very much hope that the Town of Ramsgate at least will be around for another 500 years.