Plumstead brewery Common Rioters plans ‘beer café’ at closed Blackheath Standard bank

Barclays Bank, Blackheath Standard
The bank closed its doors on 15 January

A Plumstead-based brewery is hoping to turn the former Barclays branch at the Royal Standard into a “beer café” – just weeks after the bank closed its doors for the final time.

Common Rioters has submitted a planning application to Greenwich Council to change the building’s use – the first stage in a journey it hopes will end with its own bar and place to brew its beers.

The three-year-old brewery, run by Stephen and Maryann O’Connor, takes its name from the Plumstead Common rioters, whose revolt in 1876 saved the open space from being destroyed by a developer.

They had originally hoped to take on a unit at the Jack’s Acre development on Rochester Way in Eltham, but when that fell through, Stephen told The Charlton Champion that he spotted the Blackheath bank building was being let.

“We’re into learning about historical and modern styles of brewing coupled with peoples’ history,” he said. “Not yet having a commercial brew kit or place to brew means that until now we’ve relied on friends in the industry to brew our beers with. Our beers have been available at a select few pubs in the area and at our Plumsteadshire stall, which pops up in various locations as well as online. Following the theme of our stall somewhat we intend to have guest brewery appearances at our pub alongside many other non-beer items for enjoyment.

“The opportunity to bring The Green Goddess to Blackheath in an iconic building was too good to miss.”

Common Rioters’ interest in the bank comes less than two months after it closed. Barclays announced it was shutting the branch – the last bank at the Royal Standard – in October, and it closed its doors on 15 January. Nearby, the former NatWest branch has not yet found a tenant nearly three years after the state-owned bank pulled out of the area.

The brewery is currently selling beers from other suppliers though its online shop, with free delivery in SE7 and other Greenwich borough addresses every Friday.

While all pubs are closed because of the lockdown, there have been hopeful signs for SE7 drinkers looking for a decent pint once the restrictions have passed, despite the loss of the White Swan a year ago.

Matchday favourite The Royal Oak on Charlton Lane is being refurbished under new management and is planning to serve food during the week, while the once-notorious White Horse on Woolwich Road has also been given a makeover.


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