The outside of The Black Dog with people sitting on benches at tables.

Taylor Swift fans swarm London pub The Black Dog after new album release 

Taylor Swift fans have swarmed a pub in Vauxhall after the release of her new album, The Tortured Poets Department. 

The singer-songwriter sang about The Black Dog, a pub, restaurant, and beer garden in Vauxhall, in track 17 of her latest album, The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD), which dropped on Friday, April 19. 

One of the first times Swift has name-dropped a specific institution in her music, Swifties from all over the world have been flocking to The Black Dog to gain a new perspective into her life and intense heartbreak. 

Marketing manager Amy Cowley from Just Miso said: “The good news is that we were already a really loved, well-running pub, but this has just been the icing on the cake.

“We have had to turn customers away every day since the release, so that gives some idea of the demand.” 

The outside of The Black Dog

Events manager for SC Soho, the hospitality group that owns The Black Dog Lily Bottomley told The Guardian that the pub even had to hire last-minute security to cope with the unprecedented crowds. 

In her 2016 album Lover, Swift named other London sites in her song “London Boy” including Camden Market, Brixton, and Shoreditch, and names London yet again in her song “So Long, London” on TTPD. 

“The Black Dog” is part of Swift’s surprise double-release, as she released the TTPD album and an additional 15 songs in The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, with 31 tracks total. 

The album broke the record for Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day on release day. 

TTPD chronicles Swift’s heartbreak and sorrow following her breakup with her partner of six years, British actor Joe Alwyn. 

Fans have also speculated that the album discusses her long-term situation-ship with another Brit, 1975 frontman Matty Healy. 

When asked who The Black Dog thinks the song is about, Cowley said: “We wouldn’t like to speculate, but maybe a certain blonde.” 

More than heartache and a discussion of complex relationships, the album produced by Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff is full of an eclectic mix of the wonder that is Taylor Swift– an evader of genre and an enigmatic lyricist. 

Synth-pop and folk-inspired guitar and piano weave the tapestry of Swift’s views on happily ever after, grief, the music industry, fate, magic, and the power of her renowned pen collection.   

Swift highlights the pub in the first verse and chorus: “And so I watch as you walk/ Into some bar called The Black Dog/ And pierce new holes in my heart/ You forgot to turn it off.” 

Taylor Swift lyrics from "The Black Dog" written on black chalk board in window

She continues: “How you don’t miss me/ In The Black Dog/ When someone plays The Starting Line and you jump up.” 

Swift even hinted at the song in one of her Easter eggs for fans in one of the album’s promotional pictures.

“Old habits die screaming.”

Cowley mentioned that since the album’s release, The Black Dog has been playing Swift’s music for fans and has added new Swift-inspired items to the menu– including the Swift Half of Black Dog Lager as well as the Swift Burger, which includes a secret sauce and chilli salt fries.

Drinks menu written on brick wall with Taylor's Version written at the end

To suit growing demand, Cowley also said that The Black Dog is already selling Black Dog pint glasses, and is in the process of creating a whole merch store which should be up and running imminently. 

Cowley said the pub is even planning Taylor Swift-themed events, specifically when she comes to London for her performances at Wembley Stadium for the Eras Tour this summer.

Following the album’s release, The Black Dog started making Taylor-Swift-themed TikToks and changed their Instagram bio to include “home to tortured poets @TaylorSwift.”

@theblackdogvauxhall Thank you SO SO SO much to everyone who is visiting and booking!! (Biggest thank you to queen @Taylor Swift) #taylorswift #thetorturedpoetsdepartment #ttpd #theblackdog #taylorsversion ♬ Light work no reaction – 𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖔𝖉𝖞

Bottomley described the energy of fans flocking to The Black Dog the weekend of the album’s release as “celebration, super jovial, really good vibes” to The Guardian

Bottomley also told The Guardian that staff have been looking through CCTV footage for any signs of Swift, but so far have been unable to find any. 

Business is booming in The Black Dog and this isn’t the first time Swift has boosted economies, from local to national levels. 

According to CNBC, financial holdings company Nomura’s global economists determined that in 2023, the Eras Tour resulted in a 0.5% nominal consumption growth in US cities, which economists have nicknamed the “Swift-lift.” 

Head to The Black Dog in Vauxhall to try the Swift burger, have one of the Swift-themed drinks, and embrace your inner tortured poet.

Featured image credit: Maya Mehrara

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