Best Ale pubs in Hackney

(almost) every pub has ale on tap at the moment – ale is in vogue right now. But I thought this new group would be a good place to gather some of the best for anyone wanting to take a Hackney ale trail.

So to start off, here are the obvious ones:

Jolly Butchers: a huge range of brews that often change

Pembury Tavern: a big range of ales (including them from Milton brewery) and bigger when they have beer festivals.

The Dove: Belgium beer pub with some beer on tap and a lot of bottles.

What are your favourites?


  1. Its not necessarily an ale pub but the Prince George (Parkholme Road e8) has a good selection of ale, and its a nice pub.

  2. Three Crowns usually has 3 ales on tap, my fave is still the Butchers though. Honourable mention to the Hope and Anchor on the canal as well, usually has 3 or 4 ales on tap.

  3. I read somewhere that the Daniel Defoe was adding some more pumps – maybe this means an extra ale or 2″

  4. Albion on Broadway Market, nice pub and none of the posers the Dove attracts.

  5. @lucyatkinson what kind of ales does it have?

  6. The Hemingway is a little pricey (and a little poserish) but usually has Doom Bar and Deuchars. Yum.”

  7. There are a few ales at the Scolt Head

    According to their website Green King IPA Crouch Vale Brewers Gold andTrumans Runner”

  8. trying to get a list of the best (ale) pubs in hackney together – any more recommends?

  9. Jan’s around the back of Stoke Newington high street has some very interesting beers.

  10. The Brownswood Park Tavern (owned by the same people as the Jolly Butchers and Rose and Crown) always has four or five ales. Not bad for a tied house. Is the Alma in Hackney? Its regular selection is poor but it sometimes has ale festivals which are brilliant.

  11. I haven’t checked the Brownswood since it’s re-openedAlma looks like it’s over the border in Islington”

  12. I will check the Brownswood soon, and I have tried to go to Jan’s but it doesn’t seem to be open a lot, does it have strange opening hours?

  13. I think it’s closed Mondays at least. It’s a pub that really should be patronised more but sadly that corner doesn’t get much walk by trade due to the race track nature of the A10 at that point.

  14. Don’t know if I can resurrect this post but I’m hoping someone can point to a traditional pub with traditional prices (as in < £3 pint) close to Downham road. There are Weatherspoons down Old Street and up the Angel but both are a bit far and I’m not mad on chains. Having moved away from London and come back in the past year I’m stunned at the changes. Where do the old locals go these days? Every pub has basterdised into yet another gastro pub (cloned-just minor changes to detail?), and a synonym for high prices? (And sometimes this is cheered by the CAMRA brethren.) I recently visited the Duke’s Brew & Que pub, previously the Duke of York but the atmosphere for me was not comfitable and at  £4 pint I did not stay long. Hackney has become to me a very surreal place that appears to have lots of foreign voices to give the place an abroad air  (I’m of Irish descent so don’t get me wrong). As far as going out at night and socialising, its also appears to have its own not so apparent apartheid. The anarchist Paul Stott wrote (blogged?) \the Duke of York is gone. The local (mostly) black faces in that pub have been replaced in the new bar and ‘kitchen’ by white twenty somethings.” Across the road are council flats housing lots of blacks and there were none in the pub btw it was a black music pub. And just wandering around the area looking in on other pubs I didn’t see any characters of the type  I can relate to and strike up a conversation with. Where do all the low rent and council tenants go? My father is 87 and there is nowhere for him to go no pubs clubs not even a pensioners club. When I was young it was cheaper to drink in the pub than at home – you went into the off license (separate “bar”) and paid the same price plus deposit (returnable) for the bottles. Now I either spend £4 for a pint in the pub or else go to Tescos and pay £5 for 4x500ml bottles of real ale (eg Old peculiar)  or if you prefer lager: £4 for 4x330ml Leffe. The chemical brews are even cheaper. of course. With limited income this is a no brainer. So you have this apartheid at night with the affluent out enjoying themselves (& best wishes to them) and the low rent /council tenants sadly locked away indoors watching the box. Ok some do get together but the point is the traditional meeting place to socialise make new friend hear news be entertained relax feel you have life are now no more.”

  15. @royal oak I agree with you. Whilst I’ve welcomed some new(ish) arrivals, notably the Pembury Tavern, I’ve been disappointed by others. There’s a heavy atmosphere of trying far too hard on all fronts in these places. Too much focus on pretentious decor and quiffed sardonic barmen; no focus on value for money or being ‘the local’. The Pembury, on the other hand, has managed to create a pub without alienating parts of the local population. They’re focussed on reasonably-priced quality beer and making you feel welcome. You still see a mixed group of drinkers – not just indoor hat-wearers. Further up the road, it’s an entirely different matter. Has your father considered the General Browning club – near Morning Lane?

  16. karlrees, thats very kind of you to take the time to post. My Dad is a Tin Hat member so will be visiting the General Browning club  (an easy on/off bus ride). He used to go to a MOTHS club near there but not that one. Anyway thanks that’s great for him, plus it seems the legion meets there too . I’ve looked a bit more into local pubs and believe there is no longer a proper local near to my Dad. And from what I’ve managed to glean the only pubs that it appears the locals use are either Weatherspoons (Old St, Angel, Mare St) or the Prince Arthur at the back of Charles Square and the Brit in Ironmonger Row (I remember this as a hard core Arsenal pub, told it still is). Its odd, people say the area has ‘gone up in the world’, yet on the estate where I grew up: the nearest shops are closed; the 5+ nearest pubs are all now residences; the local  swimming baths are (I think) closed (Ironmonger row.); and even the library is closed – if there ever was a marker of a civilised society. The whole family used to use this, my mum would get through 4 books a day, I know as I had to go and get the buggers (she had rheumatoid arthritis plus did not sleep much).

  17. I’m surprised that no-one has mentioned the Cock Tavern on Mare Street as a good ale pub. Found myself in it on Friday night after my first (overdue) visit to the Picture House over the road. Not sure how long it’s been there in its current incarnation, which closely resembles the Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington, but there are loads of unusual ales and ciders on tap. Can’t really comment on the prices, though I seem to recall paying about £2.30 for a half of a locally brewed chocolate stout, which is obviously pretty horrific.

  18. @jskinner we have been talking about the Cock over here:

  19. I tried the Cock for the first time on Saturday afternoon, really liked it, good selection of ales, and reasonable prices – will be going there again.

  20. The Cock Tavern is great but be careful you don’t drink to much and fall asleep!

  21. Good advice Mark

  22. I’d like to put in a mention for the Adam and Eve on Homerton High Street. Proper pub, really nice staff, has pool tables, young, old, black and white. And a football team…

  23. The Adam and Eve is amazing, huge with particularly awesome lights, but @anttix what is the beer like?

  24. Tried The Fox in Dalston last week, beer very good, food looked interesting and its comfortable.North Pole, New North Road, N1 is really good.Old Fountain (now open at weekends) in Old street.Wenlock Tavern off City Road (think they are doing a bit of a tidy up inside at the moment).Chesham Arms used to be quite good, but shut now.Craft Beer in leather lane and also one near Chapel street market.Crate in Hackney Wick (great pizzas).Duke of Wellington, Balls Pond Road (good beer fest).The Rake at Borough Market (a class above the market porter, which is horrid).Tap East in Westfield Shopping, Stratford. (strange to drink quality real ale in a shopping centre).Well and Bucket in Bethnal Green Road.Pride of Spitalfields, Heneage Street of Brick Lane (scruffy but great pint of Crouch Vale Gold).Strongroom bar in Shoreditch has a beer fest every now and then.Lastly my favourite at the moment is the Cock Tavern, Mare Street.

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