This Summer's Surprise Travel Destination? “Some Bar Called The Black Dog”

Checking in at the London pub, one week of notoriety (and many tourists) later.

by Tim Latterner

It’s been a little more than a week since Taylor Swift’s new album dropped, and in that time, The Black Dog in London has become a bona fide travel destination where, soon, you might run into more visitors from around the world than you would at Borough Market.

As name-checked on track 17 of The Tortured Poets Department’s expansion anthology, the Vauxhall pub has become overrun with fans hoping to sit at the same picnic tables as the pop star and an unnamed ex (probably Joe Alwyn — the song says he shared his location with her, and we all know Matty Healy wouldn’t do that). And while Lily Bottomley, the pub’s social media manager, has only hinted that the establishment does “have a certain blonde regular,” that breadcrumb has been enough to draw Swifties from around the world — including New York-based couple Robin Reetz and Zach Mills.

“Not to sound like a crazy Swiftie, but would I go to a bar or restaurant just because she references it in a song? The answer is yes,” says Reetz, who’s already planning a London trip. “I want to know it all, and if that means supporting a small business while I’m at it, then why not?” Alternatively, on the off chance that the aforementioned former boyfriend is Healy, Mills says he wants to go anywhere the 1975 front man has touched.

Lauren Van Klaveren of Toronto is also planning to make a stop at the pub for the Sunday roast after successfully getting off the waitlist for Swift’s upcoming Wembley dates. “I immediately made a reservation,” she says. “I’m really excited to go because there will likely be other Taylor Swift fans there, and I’m hoping the energy will be great.” Judging by the comments flooding The Black Dog’s Instagram, Van Klaveren likely will be joined by other vacationing Swifties — and by Londoners reluctantly watching their local go international. (One commenter wrote, “I’m like, girl, don’t blow up my spot!!! Now everyone will come here! Which is great for business but not for me!”)

Soon, you might run into more visitors from around the world than you would at Borough Market.

According to Business Insider, the staff has already had to turn guests away due to high capacity. But Amy Cowley, a representative for the pub, calls the sudden popularity “surreal” in an interview with PA News. “We’ve got people on the team who are definitely Swifties and they alerted us to it before anything. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but we’re enjoying it.” Meanwhile, manager Jonathan Murray thanked his staff in a statement. “This level of attention … has come completely out of the blue and the team has been working round the clock to make sure our regular customers, new customers, and Swifties receive the fantastic service The Black Dog is known for. We could not have got through the last week without every single one of you.”

Ahead of Swift’s Wembley stops in June and August, The Black Dog will continue riding the wave with specials like a “Swift Pint,” or a free half pint of beer to anyone who can quote a line from the song, and an imminent merch drop that will also be available for purchase online, the pub said in an Instagram comment. So stay tuned for hoodies that might read “The Black Dog (Taylor’s Version)” or a pint glass that says, “Some bar called The Black Dog.” Or, book a flight and pick one up IRL. By then, maybe they’ll have put in a jukebox that only plays “The Starting Line.”