London pub The Black Dog has been forced to “turn people away” due to a rise in popularity after being namechecked by Taylor Swift on her new album.

The boozer, which is based in Vauxhall, south London, is mentioned by the pop star in the song ‘The Black Dog’ from the extended ‘Anthology’ edition of ‘The Tortured Poets Department’.

And your location, you forgot to turn it off/ 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,” Swift sings. “And it hits me/ I just don’t understand/ How you don’t miss me/ In The Black Dog….”

The track is thought to address Swift’s ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn, who lives in the same area as the pub (and inspired 2019’s ‘London Boy’). Some Swifties think that ‘The Black Dog’ could be about her brief relationship with The 1975 frontman Matty Healy last year.


Following the release of ‘Tortured Poets’, hundreds of fans flocked to The Black Dog in London. Staff at the pub said they were “trying desperately to figure out if it was Matty or Joe” who had visited the premises by searching through CCTV footage. They have also launched a ‘Swift Half’ drink promotion as well as a new ‘Swift Burger’.


During a new interview with People, the pub’s marketing director, Amy Crowley, explained that the experience had “been surreal”.

“We’re quite lucky because we’re a well-established and well-loved local pub already, but that’s the key word, we’re a local pub, so to get this worldwide attention has been crazy,” she continued.

Crowley went on to say that Swifties had visited The Black Dog from far and wide, including the US, Spain, Germany and Australia.

“Every single day since the album has been released we’ve had to turn people away as we’re at max capacity, so that shows the levels that we’re talking about,” she said. “What’s been great though is that the fans have been amazing.


“We’ve had them shifting up to share tables with strangers to let people get in the door which is really cool.”

Crowley explained that staff at the pub “couldn’t possibly comment” on the identity of the person Swift is singing about on ‘The Black Dog’: “I think that is part of the allure of Taylor isn’t it, she’s got to keep her fans in suspense, so we will go along with that.”

The Black Dog is now creating new T-shirts to celebrate, and many Swift fans have been buying the pub’s branded pint glasses.

Posting on Instagram, The Black Dog owner Jonathan Murray said: “I want to say a huge thank you to our amazing team, who have been riding this Taylor Swift wave like total professionals.

“This level of attention and custom has come completely out of the blue and the team have 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.”

He added: “We could not have got through the last week without every single one of you. Drinks are on Taylor to celebrate!”

Swift also mentions a track by The Starting Line being played in The Black Dog in her new song of the same name.

In response to the nod, the band wrote: “Dear Taylor, we heard the song, thank you for name checking our band. We feel flattered and humbled by the reverberations of love that have come back to us as a result.

“It’s an honour to have TSL memorialised on such a lovely song. You didn’t have to do that, but you did, and we appreciate it wholeheartedly. Respect!”

Taylor Swift – ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’. CREDIT: Beth Garrabant

It is widely believed that The 1975’s Healy is the subject of several songs on ‘The Tortured Poets Department’, namely its title track and ‘The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived’ among others.

He has recently responded to the record during a brief interaction with a paparazzo. His mother, actor and presenter Denise Welch, also replied to a question about the LP during an episode of Loose Women.

Meanwhile, Swift has shared a video from rehearsals for the ‘Eras Tour’ – fuelling speculation that her new album could be added to the setlist. The European and UK/Ireland leg is scheduled to begin in Paris on May 9.

This summer will see Swift bring her career-spanning spectacle to Wembley Stadium in London, where she’ll play eight sold-out concerts with Paramore. In a new interview, Florence Welch – who features on the ‘Tortured Poets’ song ‘Florida!!!’ – hinted that she could make a surprise appearance on stage in the capital.

In a three-star review of ‘The Tortured Poets Department’NME wrote: “Swift seems to be in tireless pursuit for superstardom, yet the negative public opinion it can come with irks her, and it’s a tired theme now plaguing her discography and leaving little room for the poignant lyrical observations she excels at.

“It’s why the pitfalls that mire her 11th studio album are all the more disappointing — she’s proven time and time again she can do better.”