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More good pubs opening than closing


It turns out we’ve now got four pubs serving decent and interesting beer within a ten minute walk of our house. We’re spoiled.

The Old Rose and Crown on Hoe Street in Walthamstow, in east London, used to be a cool but down-at-heel pub with rotten beer. It was taken over by new management a year or more ago and the decor improved. Sadly, the beer didn’t.

They’ve obviously been working hard since, though, and this year have deservedly made it into the Good Beer Guide. Having decided to give them another go, in the last couple of weeks we’ve enjoyed fantastic pints of Hopback Crop Circle and Edwin Taylor Extra Stout (a great beer, full of flavours of bitter chocolate and smoke).

With the Nags Head, the William IV, the Village and now the Rose and Crown, we can say without any irony that Walthamstow is worth 20 minutes on the tube and an hour or two of your time if you’re at a loose end in London.

Even our local off-licence is worth a look — it’s now a Spar franchise, but the beer’s got even better, with all the old stock plus Sambrook’s, Brodie’s and a few other breweries we’ve never come across before.

17 replies on “More good pubs opening than closing”

Walthamstow is somewhere I’ve considered travelling to on a spare Sunday for a while now. Isn’t William Morris’ house there?

PS. That Pig’s Ear festival is unbelievably depressing. Sorry, but it is. I’d rather visit a Wetherspoons, and that’s saying something.

A big reason for my returning a third year is the high probability I’ll meet some of my friends there. This is unlikely to happen anywhere else in London that evening. Particularly a Wetherspoons.

I need to get myself to Walthamstow, especially now that I live a short train ride away. I am keen to go to the Pig’s Ear fest, as I’ve never been. I hope it coincides with The Beer Nut and possibly your visit?

Ally and Beer Nut — as per usual, I think we’ve scheduled a trip to Germany at the same time, but I gather Knut Albert is in town, so you won’t run short of beer bloggers to hang out with.

Jeff — Walthamstow’s got its charms and there’s certainly plenty of Morrisiana to enjoy. And if you hate it, you can flee back into town easily enough.

If so, those bottles in Spar are likely to become collector’s items. I’ve not heard anything along those lines, though.

Peter — how so? I’ve lived here for years now and I don’t find it miserable. I mean, it’s not Belgravia, but still…


I first started going to Walthamstow regularly just tree years ago. On my first visit I thought that Walthamstow was a miserable place. Over the past three years the pubs have improved markedly. Well worth the 20 minutes on the tube.

I agree with you about the Nags Head, William IV, and Rose and Crown, but I don’t like the Village Inn. The last time I was around, the Castle was closed. Is that still the case?

The Castle has re-opened under new management (used to be the same owners as the Nags) but we haven’t been in yet. Looks clean and tidy, at any rate. The Village has been refurbished and is now cleaner, with better beer, but maybe a bit soulless. Still, their Adnams Bitter is worth popping in for if you’re passing.

Hi Bailey

I dropped into the Castle last Thursday (29 October) for a drink.

There were three hand pumps; but only one working (Fuller’s London Pride).
I had a pint of Pride at £2.95, which was in good condition.

There were also pumps for Stella, Foster’s, Staropramen, Beck’s Vier, San Miguel and Leffe.

The pub has had a bit of a make over, freshly painted. There were little candles lit on each table. Quite a chilled out feel to the place. There were about 10 customers in the pub when I arrived at 7:45 (half of them female).

Ian — thanks for letting us know. Sounds like it’s nice enough — 10 years ago, it would have been the nicest pub in the area! — but it might struggle to compete. They could do with at least *one* beer you can’t get easily anywhere else.

Yes, it was nice.

I agree, only have London Pride on hand pump doesn’t make the pub stand out. I could see that one of the unused pumps had a Rev James badge turned around.

I went to the Nags Head afterwards. It was very busy about 50 customers plus another 25 – 30 customers at the wine tasting that they run on the last Thursday of the month.

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