Until recently, the reveller on their way up to the more fashionable nightspots of Dalston could have passed the Fox right by. No more – it’s another boozer that has had decline reversed by new owners with a real interest in beer, and a straightforward approach to the provision of food.
The pub’s been opened up and stripped back inside, and looks prepared for the crowds, with a lot of floor space. The addendum ‘craft beer house’ has been applied to the title, leaving us in no doubt what to expect to see behind the bar. We’re told there are ‘about 44’ bottled beers: not the biggest selection in town, but it’s well-chosen.
There are brews from Kernel and Bristol Beer Factory, a good few Belgians, and from the US, Goose Island and the fabulous Odell. And on the eight draught pumps is a rotating selection from brewers such as Scottish Hillfoots’ Harviestoun and the rarely bettered Thornbridge in Bakewell. Along with Dark Star (also represented) they create some of the most exciting British cask ale around.
A menu lists good bar snacks, such as ‘pork belly bits’, or meat pasty. Another good thing: it means drinkers don’t have to choose between food that comes in packets or a sit-down meal. There is more substantial fare too though, and roasts on a Sunday. We had a potted mackerel which, although a simple test, showed the chefs know what they’re doing.
Another nice feature of the Fox is its refurbed roof terrace, which is decked and embellished with flowers. It’s not huge, but will be packed when the sun shines.
This is how to reopen a pub and appeal to the progressives and traditionalists alike.