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.


    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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