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The Elephant and Castle

Bars and pubs, Pubs Elephant & Castle
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
@ Andy Parsons
@ Andy Parsons

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A historic pub reopened after being closed and threatened with being turned into a Foxtons.

Pub histories don’t come much better than The Elephant and Castle’s. Back in the 18th century, the entire area was named after it. In 1991, DJ Matt Jam Lamont’s Sunday morning raves made it the birthplace of UK Garage. Then, last year, it lost its licence after a customer was stabbed in the eye with a pen. Subsequently Foxton’s tried to turn it into an estate agents and protesting squatters moved in and erected a sign that demanded, ‘Ridiculous moustaches and shit fashion sense out of working class areas’.

But after the council gave the pub protected status as an asset of community value it’s been reopened as a trendy joint with craft beer on tap. Fortunately, it’s been done with a wariness that suggests the owners (Antic, obviously) realise that going too hipster is unlikely to win them many friends in an area whose ‘redevelopment’ has seen complaints of borderline social cleansing. The draft beer selection treads the line between crowd-pleasing lagers (Amstel, Sabres, Heineken) and hip and hoppening local craft brews (Orbit Neu and Fourpure IPA).

The layout remains the same and the decor’s not been radically altered. The beer garden (disappointingly) appears to be fringed by the same reeds you’d find during this place’s previous incarnation as a bizarre hybrid of boozer and Argentinian grill. It’s teamed with paraphernalia that attempts to make the venue fit in with Metro Central Heights: the ‘60s building it sits underneath. Think chintzy table lamps, retro telephones bolted to the wall and red velour banquettes. (no longer under threat from fight-spilled chimichurri and eyeball juice.)

Overall, it’s a welcome update. It’s trendy without being too showy. It has a good booze selection without being too alienating. And, with the opening weeks seeing a largely non-hipsterish crew of locals drinking there, it looks like the community has happily embraced it.

Details

Address: 119 Newington Causeway Road
London
SE1 6BN
Transport: Tube: Elephant and Castle
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Users say (2)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
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LiveReviews|2
2 people listening
tastemaker

Elephant & Castle is really turning into a destination with a range of bars, restaurants and a theatre straight outside the tube station. One such destination is the Elephant & Castle pub. Since it's refurbishment, the pub attracts the young trendy crowd from Central and South East London. It has a wide variety of beer on tap, complimented with delicious and affordable menu. If you visit, be sure to try the jerk chicken wings, they make a tongue-tingling accompaniment to your cold brew.

Tastemaker

I have a complicated relationship with Antic Pubs. On the one hand, they know how to do pubbing well - each one of their pubs has a unique character and retains some sense of the history of the building that houses it. The Elephant and Castle nods towards this in its decor that makes the most of the brutalist architecture surrounding it (imagine living in Pulp's "Common People" video and you're not too far off). On the other hand, Antic Pubs have traditionally popped up in parts of South London that have gone on to become gentrified (is there a PhD to be written about the correlation between gentrification and Antic Pubs? Probably). None of this matters very much if you're looking for a nice pub to have a pint in around E&C, an area which is short on pubs that cater to the south London dwelling, craft beer drinking, burger eating crowd. 

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