The Cock Tavern

Hackney

By Euan Ferguson

The Cock Tavern is the sort of place you walk into and think: This is a bloody good pub. It’s dark, uncomplicated and resonant with merry conversation. Put simply, it’s a room for grown-ups to stand in and drink beer. The owners of the Southampton Arms in Gospel Oak – another bloody good pub – recently took it over. And, to their credit, they kept the original name – there are puerile unsophisticates who will snigger and make innuendo, but this reviewer is not one of them. So let’s keep things above the belt.

It’s nice inside. The walls are of buffed wood the colour of Burton mild, decorated with no more than a few old beer signs. The floor and furniture are comfortably scuffed. It’s timelessly classic: aside from the Victorian beards on the bar staff, it could be any era between 1920 and 2013 in here.

As for size, it’s not too big, not too small – the perfect size, really. A sign advertises ‘Hackney’s tiniest beer garden’. It is tiny – that bit’s accurate – although only an estate agent would recognise it as a garden. Still, it’s better than smoking on Mare Street.

It’s almost all the way up Mare Street. Handy for Hackney Central. In an area not blessed with destination pubs, it’s clearly a big draw.

It’s usually rammed here - positively engorged. And it’s mainly down to the fabulous beer and cider. The pub cellar is now home to the Howling Hops microbrewery, whose output is mostly drunk in the Cock. Try the lively Pale XX, or Smoked Porter, rich and black as the knockings from a drayman’s pipe. A few guests pop up too among the 22 taps, but with a home-brewed selection this good, you might not need them.

To fill you up there’s gloriously simple food. A bartop cabinet displays Scotch eggs and pork pies, and there’s a jar of pickled eggs.

It really is the perfect package. Have you got all the way through this review of the Cock Tavern without any smutty puns coming to mind? Then give yourself a hand.

Venue name: The Cock Tavern
Contact:
Address:
315 Mare St
London
E8 1EJ

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|6
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William B

Unpleasant, unhelpful and rude staff. You will feel like your presence in the pub is unwanted

R M

Perhaps not a typical experience but our time at the Cock Tavern was awful. We came in late one night and bought a round at last orders, assuming reasonably we'd have enough time to drink them. As soon as we sat down the manager came by and told us (bluntly as if we'd been hanging around for a while) to leave. When we protested that we'd just bough the drinks, he mouthed off at us and then insisted on standing over us with the pub security guard while we sipped awkwardly from our untouched pints. The security guard was meanwhile resting his hand inappropriately on my female companion and when she asked what he was doing, he snapped and snatched the pint out of her hand, spilling it all over the floor of the pub. He then did the same to my other friend. All the while, two people (friends of the management?) were sitting at the bar watching all this while sipping their own drinks - and were still there when we left. Won't be coming back!

Charlie

This pub is relatively local to me. I go here when I can because the selection of beers is superb. If you like them hoppy, smoky, malty, bitter, dark, light, sour, whatever your fancy they will usually have something to cater to your taste. The pub itself is very simple but its simplicity is not something found in most pubs these days. The wooden furniture and warm setting makes it an ideal hang out spot to enjoy ale during the winter months. During the summer they open up the walls/windows so you get a nice breeze flowing through. Getting half pints is defiantly the way forward. I would highly recommend this pub to anyone visiting or local.

FrFintonStack

Fantastic proper boozer with a good atmosphere and a great beer selection brewed in the basement. Could do with some soft furnishings though to absorb some of the noise from the chattering-class patrons.

Dave

The great thing about this pub, and something so many people seem to forget, is that the bar staff know their product. The ales and beers are amazing in taste and price. I recommend drinking half pints and trying a variety of the ales, they give tasters should you want, and the ambiance is spot on. Pork pies are unreal. Try one , and then tell me you wouldn't be compelled to write a review on Timeout about them!

Sam

I live practically next door to the Cock Tavern and its a great pub for a drink. Unfortunately the food is really not up to standard. I've eaten here twice now and both times the orders have been delayed, wrong or just bad. The quality just isn't what you'd expect. When I mentioned into the wait staff, they generally just shrug.