Drink: Gladstone Arms
Beloved pubs getting turned into blocks of flats is a depressingly common narrative in London. So it’s heartening that Borough’s The Gladstone, having been condemned to the property developer’s wrecking ball in late 2016, has reopened six months later, having been declared an asset of community value and taken on by a new team. Hooray for that. Old regulars needn’t panic – the much-loved live music offering is still intact. Elsewhere, the new-look Glad brings few surprises: a craft beer offering, a menu of small plates, reclaimed furniture and the obligatory canopy of filament lightbulbs. Even if you’ve never set foot in the place, you’ll feel like you’ve been here before. On my visit, the draught line-up was solid, if a touch conservative, with Hammerton’s punchy N7 pale ale the pick of the bunch. Given the pub’s location, it was disappointing not to see any south London brews on the taps (except the omnipresent Meantime), though Kernel, Brew by Numbers and Partizan all featured in the bottle fridge. Food lacked finesse, though: Japanese-style fried chicken ought to have come with something to dunk it in, while nicely crisp chips were in need of some seasoning. Still, most people won’t come to The Glad for two-thirds of Belgian sour and a gourmet feed – they’ll come for the cosy, friendly atmosphere, up-close live music and to bask in the fact that for once – just once – developers got told to do one.