london pubs

A time capsule pub in Mile End

Terms like “a real old fashioned East End boozer” and “doesn’t look like it’s changed in decades” can be overused. But the Palm Tree, on the Regent’s Canal near Mile End, really does look as it must have done at the time of the Iranian embassy siege.

In fact, it’s reminiscent of the Queen Victoria from Eastenders circa the 1986 Den and Angie Christmas divorce special.

There are fonts for Whitbread Best Bitter and “Carlsberg Special Continental Lager”, as well as bottles of Whitbread Pale Ale behind the bar. There are a couple of real ales on, too, from the Brentwood Brewing Company and Archers. Is this a living museum, like the one at Ironbridge? Maybe.

Inside, enjoying the gloom and the cool, stale-beer-smelling air, there are a few older men sipping at pints from dimpled mugs.

Just to confuse things, though, it’s like a completely different pub outside. On a nicely mown meadow overlooking the water, there are about 60 would-be Pete Doherty’s, some young families and (oddly) loads of French people eating picnics and drinking from plastic glasses. It’s strangely idyllic and very 21st century.

Beer in the Evening has very mixed reviews of the place. For what it’s worth, we both had bags and there was no problem, plus the landlord was very happy to let us take some photos. Here’s a map.