Know Your Local: Biddle Bros, Lower Clapton
88 Lower Clapton Road
Biddle Bros/Brothers is a cosy local Clapton boozer that plays host to a varied selection of live music for a varied clientele. You might like what’s on that night or you might not, but the patrons of Biddles prove to be just as entertaining at times as the live bands and performers themselves. The crowd is, like Hackney, fairly diverse, with your young trendsetters mixed among other locals of various vintages and vogues.
The pub is made up of three rooms, with the third room being downstairs leading to the toilets with a communal sink, which can function as a bit of a social spot while sudsing up your hands. The other two rooms are on the ground floor, with the bar extending into the second room for drink service. The stage is in the second room, but the music can generally be heard throughout the pub if it’s a live performance.
Biddle Bros is cash-only, so be sure to have some bills in your wallet or some pounds in your change purse, especially since the nearest cash machine will charge you to withdraw money (you’ll need to walk to Mare Street for the nearest free cash point). As for the cost of drinks, from a visit in February 2010, a pint of Staroprammen was £3.20. There’s no food prepared at Biddle Bros, but if the Italian restaurant next-door is open, you may be able to order food from there and have it brought to you at the pub. Otherwise, requisite pub snacks such as crisps and peanuts are present to satiate your stomach enough for that next round.
When it’s full, it can be quite a squeeze, as Biddle Bros is built to be more long than wide. Get in early and stake your claim on a bar stool, at a table or at a spot near the stage if you fancy the jazz or the folksy-blues being played that night.
I like Biddle Bros a lot, it was really nice to come across when I moved into the area in 06, it always felt like a good mix of people.
You may have been there on a Tuesday where Nev puts on “My Space or yours” which is a unsigned live music thing, there is also a monthly or maybe weekly Sunday quiz with really random rounds.
The main thing that lets them down though is that they have many good beers and what they do have is a little pricey, they are not certainly not ale lovers like the Pembury. They do now have Sam Smiths larger on tap, but I think the Star has gone up.
Oh and as they don’t do food, you can also order pizza from Vesuvio (who have a wood fire) and they will deliver to the pub.
The addition of a parrot has made it my favourite boozer. There’s something about a parrot that can’t fail to amuse.
I love Biddle Bros, I’ve played there several times and i always enjoyed it. I like the fact the venue is intimate, you can try new things out and connect in a different way with the audience.Not many venues have a piano so it’s great to have one in the music room. Also it must be one of the rare venues in London where you are not forced to bring to all your friends and fans in order to have an audience. Even if you don’t tell anyone about your gig, there will always be an audience to play to and that’s brilliant.
Definitely a great place to go out and hear live music.