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Clapton Hart

Bars and pubs, Pubs Clapton
3 out of 5 stars
© Josh Kearns

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

No one seems to have informed the Antic group that Britain is in the grip of a devastating recession or that our pub trade is on its knees. It recently opened three pubs in one fortnight across London – the Catford Bridge Tavern, the Sylvan Post in Forest Hill and Pratt’s & Payne, formerly a Goose in Streatham Hill – taking its current total (both serving and in production) to 29. Some of its earlier pubs and bars are great, such as the Tooting Tram & Social, Balham Bowls Club, and the Antelope.

And this one’s interesting – the former White Hart Hotel (briefly Chimes, a music venue) stands alone beside the desperately unlovely Lea Bridge Road roundabout, and is so far the only pub in this part of ‘up-and-coming’ Clapton that has spruced itself up in preparation for the influx of up-and-comers. But thankfully, it’s not a fancy sort of place – it’s very much in the current ‘decorators done a runner halfway through’ style, which highlights original features and leaves the wattle and daub walls and ceilings exposed and raw.

Someone’s had great fun furnishing and embellishing the Hart too – there’s a whole junk-shop-worth of knick-knacks, novelties and gimcracks on shelves, tables and plinths. There are many dark corners for canoodling couples to share a bottle of wine, but Clapton really does have a big Hart now – it’s fairly massive, with another upstairs room due to open and a garden currently being populated with plants.

Eight real ales celebrate London and British brewers (Deuchar’s IPA, Redemption Trinity, a couple from Devilfish Brewery in the West Country on our visit), and a simple food menu that included a fine Welsh rarebit and poached egg, and leek and parmesan risotto, should suit locals just fine – it’s not too expensive, but what we tried was made with care.

Judging by our early-days visit, those locals have already taken the Hart to heart – it was busy on a Wednesday night with a varied crowd of starving artists, first-time buyers, dedicated Claptonites, women with dogs and the young hipsters who have realised Dalston’s not all it’s cracked up to be.



Address: 231 Lower Clapton Rd
E5 8EG
Transport: Tube: Clapton rail or bus 106, 254 or 55
Opening hours: Open 4-11pm Mon-Thur; noon-midnight Fri, Sat; noon-11pm Sun
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