I've long admired the look of the Commercial Tavern building in Spitalfields from the outside; recently I spent an evening there with friends. We arrived early and stayed late.

It's an old Victorian corner pub, built in about 1865, which stands like the rounded stern of a ship on the corner of Commercial Street and Wheler Street in London E1.


Being Grade II listed the Commercial Tavern has avoided being modernised. The passage of time has worn the building down, imbuing tons of character which is accentuated with some eccentric decorations and rustic period furniture.

After arriving and getting some drinks we went upstairs where, at that time of the day it was nice and quiet. The place reminded me of hidden "empty" buildings I had snuck into as a child, with lived-in spaces which nod towards all that may have transpired before you were even born.


I loved the Victorian ladies which are plastered on some of the upstairs doors ... but if you're prudish don't look too closely.


At the front of the building upstairs there's a smaller bar, more of a cocktail bar, which was staffed by a friendly guy named Ziyad.


As the afternoon waned into evening some of us got peckish and ordered some food. ... Well someone did: I might have still been talking to Ziyad or to someone else by that time.


The food looked simple but yummy. I didn't partake, just sticking with liquid refreshments.


In the late evening, as the numbers swell, people spill-out onto the street in front of the building. I'd highly recommend spending a warm summer evening at the Commercial Tavern: with friends, or making new ones.


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