The Cock Tavern

Bars and pubs , Breweries Hackney
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(15 user reviews)
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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
Do you own this business?

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:3
LiveReviews|15
1 person listening
gd p
1 of 1 found helpful

Best pub in Hackney with a proper local feel and great booze (8 x keg, 8 x cask and 8 x hand pull cider). And Howling Hops may have moved to Hackney Wick but there's brewing downstairs again from Maregade. Pint?

John C
1 of 1 found helpful

Still a fab pub in spite of the recent relocation of Howling Hops brewery. New staff over the last year or so are much, much friendlier.

Kay
1 of 1 found helpful

Terrific selection of beers on tap, lovely old style decor, friendly staff.

Violet M
Tastemaker

Told a friend the other day, "Let's go to Cock Tavern." And they replied, "Ooh, best not, Cock Tavern it's a bit dodgy."


I was floored. floored. 


Cock Tavern is one my favorite pubs. Yes, it's pretty dark inside, but that's part of the charm! CT is lovely and has the friendliest staff I've ever met. It's not flashy or hip, but it's perfectly pub-like and exactly what I want as my local. CT has all wood flooring, wood tables and plush stools for seats. There are excellent beers and ales on tap, for decent price as well. A few times I've asked the bar man for recommendations on what to drink and he's spent a good 10 minutes giving me tasters and helping me find my next pint. Additionally, they've got a brilliant playlist, but it's not super loud at all - you can hear your friends easily. The volume is perfect background noise level. 


I love this place. It's cozy. You know it's a pub where people are going just to have a good chat and a good pint with friends. 


Not been in the "world's tiniest garden yet" but will go this summer!

rpate
Tastemaker

Any respectable East London pub crawl kicks off at The Cock Tavern in Hackney Central. Once home to Howling Hops- another brewery that outgrew its tanks and moved down the road- this pub showcases a vast and alternating selection on keg and cask. You’ll find their current in-house microbrewery, Maregade Brew Co, on offer alongside local heroes such as The Five Points Brewery, Redchurch Brewery, Howling Hops and Pressure Drop. Other UK-based favourites, including Weird Beard and Moor Beer, are likely to be featured as well. The bar is cash only and the décor is no frills, but you are guaranteed to discover a good drop here.

Emma

Perfect start to a Saturday Pub day with the housemates. Beers, Ciders, Good conversation, Simples! Super friendly crowd in here and the staff are lovely too. Keep in mind though, its CASH ONLY, so be prepared beforehand or else you will have to move from your comfy spot once there! Very happy that this place is 2 minutes from my place, this could become a Saturday tradition.

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.

N A
0 of 1 found helpful

My friends and I were finishing up our drinks after the last bell and we were told to "drink up and get the hell out" the table next to us were told to "get the fuck out".


My friend said he shouldn't work in the service industry if you're going to be so rude to your paying customers for no reason and the same guy got really aggressive.


Not to mention it smelt like urine when we came in.


Absolutely shocking service and an awful man.


If you want a decent pub with nice, chatty staff, try the old ship in a few doors up.