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The Elephant’s Head (CLOSED)

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Clapton
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 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.

A deliciously decadent bar in Hackney.

Please note, The Elephant’s Head is now closed. Time Out Editors, November 2019.

One thing you should know about this Lower Clapton bar is that it has ornate, medieval-looking loos. Imagine flat wooden seats and luxurious detailing. These extravagant bogs are symbolic of The Elephant’s Head itself. You have to push through a thick velvet curtain to enter the bar, which is atmospherically narrow, with trendy stripped walls, dark-red banquette seating, candelabras and a curved-glass ceiling. It’s like hipster east London meets a banqueting hall from the middle ages and ye goode people of Hackney are loving it – on my Friday night visit it was heaving.

Up at the backlit bar, they’re serving from a tempting menu of cocktails. If you’re into margaritas go for the El Chapo: it was a sharp, dangerous mix of tequila, mezcal, lime and spicy ginger syrup. The Smoky Negroni, a mezcal-infused version of the classic Campari cocktail, was also excellent and so smoky that every sip actually smouldered. Go off-menu if you’re after the more traditional: I ordered an amaretto sour that was perfectly zingy, sweet and foamy.

To get a seat at one of those squishy banquettes you have to order food. Everything’s quite pricy – mains range between £12 and £18 – but very good. A small plate of smoked salmon and dill-speckled cucumber (£7) was deliciously fresh and the scotch egg was top quality. Service was friendly, and those seats were a comfy place to bed in. The Elephant’s Head is an all-round treat for the bum cheeks and beyond.


Address: 43 Lower Clapton Rd
E5 0NS
Transport: Hackney Central Overground
Opening hours: Mon – Wed: 5pm to 12am, Thurs – Sat: 5pm to 1am, Sun: 12noon to 12am
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