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.
|Venue name:||Clapton Hart||Contact:|
231 Lower Clapton Rd
|Opening hours:||Open 4-11pm Mon-Thur; noon-midnight Fri, Sat; noon-11pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Clapton rail or bus 106, 254 or 55|
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Average User Rating
3.8 / 5
- 5 star:8
- 4 star:8
- 3 star:4
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:2
The rooms are amazing, there's always something interesting to look at. And the mango cider they served in the summer was to die for. Only pointer would be the hackney pint price tag
Very nice local pub - very different during the week to the weekend when it's much more of a party vibe. One negative is the selection of beers, I'd prefer to see more craft ales...
The beer is consistently excellent, there's a nice atmosphere on a weekend which is a bit more party without being annoying and there's enough space for you to sit somewhere and talk etc. Big garden which usually has space in the summer. Sometimes a few too many prams but that's fine really and just me being a grumpy old man. I like this pub.
Great local pub. Can be a bit too hipster but I live opposite and love it. Only problem is its huge and can feel a little empty sometimes
The Clapton Hart hosted our wedding party in July 2013 - it was an INCREDIBLE party and the chef (Shelley) made extraordinary food for all over 100+ guests. The staff were friendly, relaxed, warm and attentive; the beer and wine excellent, the attention to detail of the whole team faultless, and the vibe superb. All our guests were blown away and all agreed that the food was amazing (including the vegetarians and those with dietary requirements). We cannot recommend these guys enough - they truly are absolute stars. THANK YOU CHARLIE AND THE CLAPTON HART!!! And now they have a truly gorgeous private garden out the back too - get in! James and Daf xxxx
Best nut roast i've had in London to date- incredibly clean and well-organised kitchen visible through an open hatch - speedy, friednly service AND a game of scrabble (complete with pen and all tiles!) to round the perfect Sunday roast experience off. Amazing New Local status affirmed.
This pub could be a really great place to enjoy a drink and some nice food with friends. Unfortunately, it has been highjacked by the clicky crowd. The staff seem more interested in looking cool behind the bar than serving the very busy crowd on the other side of the counter. They are painfully slow and distracted with having funny banter with each other. It feels like you are watching some tv soap performance rather than ordering a drink. Saturday nights are very, very busy and...it might be me, but the crowd seems a little pretentiously unfriendly. The space is beautiful, and the selection of beers and food is also very good. The crowd gets better midweek, but you might have to put up with a few prams and unsupervised, screaming toddlers.
3 visits, 3 let downs. 1st: over an hours wait for food. 2nd: 5pm on a Sunday, roasts sold out! 3rd: 3pm on a Sunday and they are about to run out of roasts?! We order, 20mins later we are told the chef does not want to serve the pork. We eat tough beef. Greasy gravy. Cold red wine. Such a shame for such a lovely pub. :-(
Had a superb roast pork here with friends here on Sunday, washed down with a couple of Cornish stouts made from oysters! I would highly recommend the food and the service is excellent. The pub itself is a fantastic space that really stands out against the usual gastro pub ordinariness. Great Stuff The Hart.
Lovely pub. Good selection of ales and there has always been a good atmosphere whenever i have gone there. High ceilings make it good when its crowded. It let's you pay for food at the bar too. take note hampstead gastro pubs, half the reason for eating at a pub is not having the annoying who-ate-what at the end of the meal when it comes to paying for the bill. I've had a good time every time I have gone here and as someone who doesn't love Sunday roast, this one was pretty good!
Don't believe the hype! This place under delivered on every level - terribly slow, uninformed staff, a menu sheet with 99% of the options unavailable (the 1% came with no Yorkshire puddings). Complained to the manager on these points, to no avail. The decor is nice but I didn't go there to admire Victorian coving. As for the food, when it did arrive, was no better than Witherspoons in Heathrow Airport. Avoid.
Lovely venue and drinks. Food below par. The roast beef was really tough and came less than warm; we had to ask for it to be re-heated. When we finished, we ended up taking our plates up to the bar ourselves as no-one seemed to notice they'd been finished and sitting on the table for half an hour (despite the fact that the pub was not busy). Shame as we'd heard good things.
Great building, friendly staff and a constantly changing array of ales gives this pub a very promising future in Clapton. Unfortunately the food is disappointingly below average and food service is very slow (45 mins - 1 hour wait). I hope the food here improves soon.