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Cosy, old-fashioned pub conveniently close to Columbia Road.
Please note, Nelson’s Head is now under new ownership. Time Out Editors, January 2019.
The meat pie I ordered at the Nelsons Head – one of the best-dressed ‘proper’ pubs I’ve visited in forever – well, it had no lid. There was no explanation as to my pie’s naked state, and this was after waiting almost an hour for it to arrive, all the while eyeing up golden-topped wonders flying out from the kitchen. When I asked I was informed they’d run out of pastry, so regrettably I chowed down on dry steak and ale. It was a crying shame, as up until this point I’d been considering whether I could keep the Nelsons Head a secret since I liked it so much.
It takes over from Fanny Nelsons but stays under the same management – they’ve changed it from a borderline chi-chi cocktail bar and brunch spot back to its pub origins, stealing style tips from sister pub the Chesham Arms. The old-timey mock-Tudor exterior sets you up for what’s in store, an honest-to-goodness boozer with patterned carpets, engraved mirrors, a collage of beer mats, maritime art and a wood-burning stove. And then, incongruous to the old-manish decor is a framed picture of a pink flamingo, about the only possible tip of the hat to the Nelsons Head’s status as a gay pub. All walks of life are welcome here – cute doggos were off the leash the night we visited, while a shelf of Mr Men books offer entertainment to punters of all ages.
At the bar, they pour from London breweries near and far – Hammerton, East London Brewing Company, Five Points and Redemption are regulars. The wine list is red-heavy for the winter months, while a room downstairs is being turned into a hideaway rum bar when not being hired for private parties. That menu of pies turns to roasts on a Sunday, which should suit visitors to Columbia Road Flower Market well. But following pie-gate, I’d suggest that a beery session is best in a place so wonderfully faithful to the traditional pub formula.
32 Horatio St
|Opening hours:||5-11pm Mon-Thu; 5pm-11am Fri; noon-midnight Sat; 11am-10.30pm Sun (roast served until 6pm)|
|Do you own this business?|