The Old Ship pub is in Hammersmith situated on the banks of the river Thames between Hammersmith Bridge and Chiswick. This area is not short of a pub or two with a number being in close proximity along this short stretch of footpath overlooking leafy Barnes. The Old Ship is one of the more modern of the pubs here and as such loses a little bit of charm and character that others further down the river (such as The Dove) have. That said, it is the most spacious of the riverside pubs and with a good ability to spill out onto the riverfront and walkway is a great place to enjoy a summer beverage or two.
The outside space is really what this place has going for it as inside it is fairly cold and characterless. The bar itself is open pan with a long bar running across the back wall. Televisions showing all manner of sporting event adorn the walls which are otherwise bland and bare - at least that is the image I have come away with.
Bar staff here are more often than not antipodeans and friendly. At the weekends, especially in the summer, it can get very busy indeed and fairly rowdy. I find on occasion the atmosphere can get a little aggressive so if you want a quiet drink you'd be better off further towards Hammersmith in The Dove.
Drinks are about as standard as you could get in a pub with a range of bitters and lager that will not over excite but serve a purpose. Lager is cold and bubbly; bitter is OK but you sense is offered to placate rather than as a speciality. Given the potential rowdiness at weekends, shots and other grotesquely sticky drinks are abundant and leaning on the bar towards the end of an evening can be treacherous.
Food here is standard pub grub. The Old Ship does not pretend to be gastro and thankfully it greatly succeeds in not being. Food here serves to fill and little else. Expect burger & chips, pies, etc... out of the packet and into the pan.
In all, if you want a quant riverside drink, the Old Ship is not what you're looking for. For a large social gathering it can be a pretty good meeting point and it serves its purpose well in this, especially on a sweltering summer weekend day.
The Ship is a large establishment on the north bank of the Thames, perhaps fifteen minutes' walk west of Hammersmith Bridge. The nearest tube is Ravenscourt Park. The pub consists of a large, modern (but no uncomfortably so) open-plan bar, with several outdoor terrace areas (some heated in winter by braziers). There is also an upstairs bar, often hired out for private functions, an upstairs terrace and plenty of space along the river wall and on the grass next to the pub itself... The bar serves London Pride and several other bitters on draught, lagers and the full range of tap-flow beers. It has a respectable wine list, and a vast range of speciality vodkas (Dime Bar, anyone?). Prices are not cheap, but respectable for a bar that attracts local twenty- and thirty-somethings. A pint will set you back between £2 and £2.50. The pub serves food all day, with several hot roasts or specials in addition to burgers, pasta and the usual staples. Again, prices are reasonable (£5-7) and portions healthy. Summer weekends see the pub packed out, as a favourite meeting-place for locals before heading on elsewhere (or simply staying on and soaking up the sunshine). Boat Race day sees the place packed out to the rafters and beyond. But even winter evenings do not find the Ship empty, as it is a retreat from chilly walks along the banks of the river before heading home. The Ship's size means that one can usually find space to settle down, although getting to the bar can be a bit of a crush in the summer. In short, the Ship is not one of the snug, atmospheric pubs that one can find along the river, but is a perfectly pleasant place to while away the day.