Food & Drink
Chancellors Pub in Hammersmith

The Chancellors: From ‘back-street pub’ to world-famous pizza and celeb clientele 

Carl McCluskey took over from his grandmother at the The Chancellors pub in Hammersmith in 2020, rapidly shaping it into one of the UK’s best spots for a slice. 

Behind the classic London pub facade, he’s perfected a pizza base through combing the recipe he adopted while training in Brooklyn with the kind of Italian flour he used when proving dough in Naples.

The results have been widely appreciated too, with Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, world famous for his pizza reviews, calling it “By far the best pizza I’ve had in London. It’s not even close.” 

Reviews like Portnoy’s has prompted calls to Carl from as far off as Atlanta and Sydney. 

“They call to say ‘we’re coming to London in two weeks, can we book a table?’, but we can’t handle bookings so we just do pre-orders, if we didn’t we’d be booked out everyday,” he said. 

The claim sounds bold but its hardly surprising once you hear how Carl sparked six-hour-long queues when he first introduced the pizzas via a tiny wooden oven in The Chancellors garden. 

The move was largely a reaction to the gentrification of the area and a need to draw in the new locals. 

He said: “I noticed it around the end of 2017 with the new flats coming up across the road and realised I definitely had to adapt to the area around us.

“It was only after we had a few articles about us from places like Eater and Hot Dinners – which I guess people in the flats around here read – that they started to realise what was going on here.”

Previous longtime resident of the area Gareth Whiley said of The Chancellors pre-pizza: “It was a beacon of old London, in an area that was radically gentrifying. It was true to itself but was completely out of place.” 

Carl’s desire to seek a wider local appeal might have just ensured The Chancellors’ survival, a greasy spoon down the road having been taken over by an upmarket dog-friendly cafe around the same time. 

What’s more, Carl’s managed to maintain the pub’s appeal to its old regulars. 

He said: “Somehow everyone’s just managed to gel. It’s surprising but I think it’s the hospitality standard, talking to people like they still mean something because they do!”

For their loyalty, Carl provides the regulars with a discount on their pints, but he thinks it’s the least he can do for their support during lockdown and the funds they provided to buy the pizza oven. “They are still a key part of the pub,” he said. 

Carl has added some new patrons though, including Harry Kane and Eric Dier. 

Asked about the attention he’s received from top chefs too, he said: “It’s crazy and a bit embarrassing because as amazing as all the reviews and celebs are, it’s been the recognition from those guys that genuinely blows my mind.”

With all this success, Carl is looking for another site in central London but it has to suit his lengthy conditions. 

Sounding nervous about expansion, he added: “It’s not always about the money though and it would just kill me to look back in five years and see that I’ve screwed it all up.”

Though when asked whether we could expect to see pineapple on pizza, he laughs off the idea and claims he’s never tried it.

Keeping true to his entrepreneurial spirit, he suggests a pineapple jam instead. 

While there are many options for a cheap night out in the area, it’s hard to beat the reasonably priced pizza and beer in the Chancellors humble setting. 

Featured image credit: Oisin Mcilroy

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