Please note, Stokey Bears has now closed. Time Out Food editors, March 2019.
In a city where anyone with access to glazed brioche buns proclaims they’re grilling ‘London’s best burger’, it takes something truly different to stand out from the crowd. In the case of the Burger Bear, the difference is disco. Yes, the burgers here are among the best you’ll get in London – some with the fiendishly hot Rib Man Holy Fuck sauce, another with wrong-sounding-but-right-tasting bacon jam – but what gives this previously peripatetic operation its appeal is an extra dollop of fun.
You don’t need to know what home county the beef here comes from, or how long it’s been aged, or which artisan butcher grinds it to bespoke mince. They all tell you that. You just need to know that if you’re going to be eating burgers, this is a great place to do it – service is smiley and personal, the soundtrack flips between Studio 54 floorfillers, gay anthems and Italo piano classics. The beer is provided by the East Dulwich Bear Hug Brewery, which gives a portion of turnover to rainforest charities. As well as the burgers and fries, which come in authentically tacky plastic baskets, of course, there are hot dogs and wings.
It looks as if this diner is thrown together, temporary even, with its rough-hewn wood tables and beer keg seating (although we’re assured it’s there to stay). But amid the hundreds of grilled patties in restaurants across London, this little bear gets it just right.