Quite a change

“It’s quite a change”, commented a bewildered local outside the newly refurbished Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington, North London, as we were on our way in.

Following Pete’s enthusiastic review, we scooted across to Stokey to check it out. We were excited to hear about this new arrival because we’ve long thought that Stoke Newington is exactly the sort of place you’d expect to find a good pub with decent food. As previous scouting trips have shown, however, to date, there have been lots of places masquerading as good boozers but actually displaying the worst tendencies of the pretentious would-be gastropub: crap beer and overpriced food.

It was pretty busy, which bodes well, but we managed to nab a table. As reported by Pete, the beer range is pretty cool – Dark Star, Thornbridge, and Schlenkerla rauchbier on tap. Nice to see an emphasis on the local, too, with brews from Brodie’s (Leyton, further east) and Tottenham, further north. The food really was quite satisfying — posh pub grub and convincing (that is, very processed) bratwurst for those who yearn for the beer gardens of Germany.

The beer condition was a little disappointing. We found the ales slightly warm and served with zero head (thanks again for that ‘take it to the top’ campaign, CAMRA) but it is only their first week and that will hopefully improve.

All in all, if we lived in the area, we’d be seriously chuffed, and its immediate success, and that of CASK in Pimlico, suggests that London can support a few more really decent pubs yet.

15 thoughts on “Quite a change”

  1. Last time I went here they had McKewans Export on tap and someone had locked a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the gents which hungrily eyed my genitals as I used the urinal.

    Although neither your review nor Pete´s mentions these features I really hope they are both still in situ; it´s a real shame when the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater in pub revamps like this one.

  2. I wish this refurb had taken place when I was still working around there! Sounds marvellous – and Schlenkerla on tap! Fantastic.

  3. I think you’ll find the answer to why your beer had no head in your own report. It was too warm you said. Warm beer is the enemy of condition and the lack of a head is the inevitable result of such lack of condition. I’m guessing too that it wasn’t sparkled, but then again, you’d just have got a flat pint with a head.

    Seems a little unfair to blame CAMRA for the fact that the pub didn’t serve you a decent pint?

  4. TM — I think the beer had condition, but they were doing that thing where they pour the head away to make room for more beer until it’s standing over the rim of the glass with only a slight scum. For that specific thing — bar staff who are nervous about serving you anything but a totally flat but full pint — I do blame tightwad customers, and CAMRA for encouraging them to make a fuss. (Not suggesting anyone should get ripped off, and bigger, properly marked glasses would be ideal, etc., but, seriously, I shouldn’t have to say: “Can I have it with a head, please?”)

    Jimbaud — the Staffordshire bull terrier was gone, I’m afraid. The gents were very freshly painted and posh.

  5. Bailey- I am afraid you are hoist by the petard of Southern serving methods, lack of proper cellar skills and poor training. I am constantly frustrated by both in London.

    PS

    What’s this ” Authenticate this comment using OpenID”? Unless I remember to uncheck the box – and I didn’t know I had to – I lose the comment and have to rewrite it!

  6. I’ll look into that OpenID thing — I had to set it up so I could comment on Zak’s blog but wasn’t aware punters at ours were seeing it when they tried to comment too.

    I’ve never had the problem with headless beer in the north (or the midlands, for that matter). It does seem to be a particular issue in London.

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  8. Looks good and sounds interesting, so i will have to pay a visit. In fairness, though, I might wait awhile till the teething problems are sorted.

  9. I’m totally with you on the inexperienced-barstaff-pouring-lovely-head-away-just-because-some-take-it-to-the-top-idiot-harrumphed problem. Increasingly prevalent. While the perfect (southern) head sits like the immovable face of the moon (craters included) above the liquid, anything less than 100% will form a fairly horizontal foam and should not be completely poured off just ‘cos one customer in 50 sniffs at not getting 100% liquid. Spot on.

  10. enjoyed a proper pint with a substantial meal and good company
    what more could a man ask for in life, than outside into theinteresting streets of stoke newington, what a treat

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