It’s not true to say that Stoke Newington has been crying out for a spot like this; by and large, the locals have seemed content with the array of weary boozers, formulaic gastropubs and corny bars that dot N16. Still, the area is a lot richer for its arrival. Formerly a miserable pub, it’s had its tired decor ripped out and replaced by… well, not much. The walls are plain and the furniture is wooden, a decorative ethos that seems built on the elusive phrase ‘shabby chic’.
It’s nice enough, as is the no-messing food (burgers, pies, cassoulet, all around a tenner), but the real appeal is provided by the beer: ten handpumps offer real ciders and rarely seen brews from the likes of Crouch Vale, Dark Star and Thornbridge, plus local microbreweries such as Camden Town Brewery, Redemption from Tottenham and Pressure Drop from Hackney, while the 80-plus bottles in the fridges head beyond Britain to Belgium and the US. A welcome addition.