Under the arches of the Overground – and a two-minute walk from Wanstead Flats – is this little Forest Gate shop, café, bar and events space. The Wanstead Tap has a charmingly scrappy feel: beneath its corrugated roof lies salvaged furniture in clusters, AV equipment with pools of cables, and stacks of empty beer casks. There are shelves lined with books too, if you fancy burying your nose in something besides a pint glass.
The Tap serves a rotating selection of beer – Bermondsey-based Fourpure on tap when we visited – with usual suspects like Beavertown and East London Brewing Company lined up in the fridges. But since there are more than 100 types to pick from, you ought to peruse; the chap behind the bar pointed me towards a sour by Thornbridge, a brewery in Derbyshire. The cider selection was broad too. And Yard Sale Pizza (which recently set up shop in nearby Leytonstone) delivers to the bar free of charge.
Tucked away among rows of anonymous suburban housing, The Tap has a gentle, discerning vibe that feels aimed squarely at parents and property owners rather than younger craft beer aficionados. Its opening times are a little patchy (closed Monday to Wednesday and only open till late on Friday), but a regular programme of gigs and performances will keep a buzz going in this sweet, unassuming neighbourhood spot.