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The Coborn

Bars and pubs Mile End
3 out of 5 stars
The Coborn, pub, Bow

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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Another Young's pub refurbishment, this time in Mile End.

You can usually spot a refurbed Young’s pub a mile off, and it’s not just the brewery’s own beers on the bar. Those ales were London through-and-through for almost two centuries until 2006, when the historic brewery moved from Wandsworth to Bedford. The Young’s pubs remain, though, and while they’re never groundbreaking or thrilling, they’re straightforwardly reliable: a bit like their beers.

The Coborn is on an attractive street just off the motorway that is the Mile End Road, in the middle of a terrace of perfectly preserved nineteenth-century houses. (It’s come a long way since Jarvis Cocker sang: ‘It’s a mess alright.’) The pub used to be a salt-of-the-earth East End boozer with a dartboard and bags of character, but like many Young’s pubs, it’s had a stylistically non-specific-but-probably-pricey makeover, a mishmash of textures, knick-knacks and furnishings. It’s all a bit Kirstie Allsopp.

But it’s a pleasant place to be: there’s a smartly parasolled area out front on the quiet Coborn Road, and inside it’s bright and comfortable, with better beers than other company pubs (Honest Brew’s NZ session ale, say, at £4.25, or some of the last few cans in London of Beavertown’s blood orange IPA at £5.25). Food is decent, and is more of a priority now: a selection of British pub dishes with a few smarter twists, such as an English charcuterie board, or fishcakes with sprouting broccoli and parsley sauce.

Young’s is investing in its licensed property portfolio (sorry, pubs), turning many of them into smart sites with an emphasis on ‘gastro’. If that keeps them open and serving, good. Meanwhile, however, the authentic Cockney drinking experience retreats deeper into its native habitat.


Address: 8 Coborn Rd
E3 2DA
Transport: Tube: Mile End
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