The Crooked Billet, Clapton relaunch

This sounds great: East London and City CAMRA We are getting reports of exciting changes happening at the Crooked Billet on Upper Clapton Road. The pub is due to reopen in early July and will be serving up East London By The Horns Sambrooks Hackney and Crate beers. There will also be a micro-brewery and the largest beer garden in East London. Food will be simple and authentic (sausage roll sold by the inch!) and entertainment will comprise a weekly quiz. More details as and when they emerge. You heard it here first.”


  1. I saw these guys on twitter : I wasn’t entirely sure about their bio “Crappy pub about to get a bit better””

  2. @gavinredknap Looks like things are changing quite quickly in UCR.

  3. Wow. I was speaking to the barman in there about a month ago and he said he was pushing to get some ale taps in but never mentioned anything about a microbrewery. I always thought it had massive potential with its garden and the car park next to it that was totally underutilised. I do hope that it retains some of its original character though – it was effectively the last refuge for the old locals who had been chased out of the Three Sisters and Windsor Castle. Guess the London Tavern will get a bit busier now.

  4. \Hope to open at the end of June”

  5. Mixed feelings about this, I have been drinking in there since 1996, and while I welcome a new ale pub around the corner, it did have a group of regulars that weren’t massive ale fans, it was a classic old school boozer, and with the demise of the Swan, Windsor Castle, the Princess of Wales going up market, there seems to be a lack of those type of pubs in the area.

  6. DP

  7. Sorry double post

  8. I guess if theyre targeting end of June re-opening they cant be doing too much to the place, but it does need a good going over, to be frank. What the area really lacks is a place for both the new and old Claptonites to mix (it does to an extent at Biddles) and lets hope this can be the place…

  9. Just spoke to one of the old employees, it was bought by the real pub co Ive been in the North London Tavern in Kilburn and the Old Dairy in Crouch Hill…both decent enough without getting too excited. The entire car park is going to be incorporated into the beer garden by the way. It’ll be huge.”

  10. Yes for big pub gardens – they spoke to my via the magic of twitter and promised to put a favourite ale on for opening night – Dark Star APA 🙂 I am being romanced

  11. you’ll soon fall to earth when you get your bill if you eat there. Their other places tend to charge £7.50 for a starter and £15 for a main! I think i’ll stick to Sodo and get down the Billet after for the beer. One more thing you might be glad to hear – the toilets are being ripped out in their entirety and new ones plumbed in upstairs, I guess with a new kitchen too (the old one is on the little side extension which im guessing is being opened up too). It will be a pretty huge pub after that.

  12. thankfully there is now some competition for food – not just Sodo – the Hart is cheaper than those prices too – the Windsor Castle is more pricy though. It is amazing the change in Clapton from when I moved here in 1997

  13. Its all been since the Hart opened up and proved there was latent demand in the area. Since then the Princess of Wales, the Windsor, the Three Sisters, Rileys and now this (not to mention the cafes of course). It’ll be a matter of time surely before the Elephants Head is reopened and someone buys the Cecil. Shame that the Cricketers doesnt look like being saved.

  14. Had to look up the Elephant’s Head – that was Fitzgeralds – I wasn’t sure if that was re-opening as a pub  – thought it was housing and a restaurant/shop – only went there a couple of times. The Cecil was a sadder loss

  15. Sooooo excited to potentially have somewhere nice to go for a drink on UCR.

  16. Just walked past and had a good shufty inside..they’re well on the way to what looks like a total refurb. The central bar area has been totally stripped back and new ceiling in. New canopy running around the side and back of the original beer garden and I assume that will go around the new area too. They had a good few workers grafting up until 7pm and that sort of number can do a pretty major fit out in the next fortnight.

  17. Thought I better clear up a few of the truths and half truths going about.Firstly, the Crooked Billet has not been bought by Real Pubs but I did once run a couple of their pubs before they were bought by Green King a few years ago.It’s going to be a very independent pub although we do also run the Empress in Vicky Park.The head chef from the Empress (Ellitott Lidstone) will be looking after the kitchen and we will be using the same suppliers we use there – Ginger Pig for meat, Climpsons and Sons for coffee and E5 Bakehouse for bread. We are going to be serving up proper pub grub – pies, sausage and mash, fish and chips, burgers – just using the best ingredients and cooked by chefs that know more than just how to switch on a micro wave. Most mains will be around a tenner, starters £5We will have 5 hand pulled ales and keg beers from Camden and Darkstar to name just two.We will not have a seperate dining room, we will be doing a pub quiz and yes, the car park will be one great big beer garden.We are hoping that we won’t alienate too many people in the process and that we don’t get labeled a gastro pub – I’ve always hated the expression.Tug my coat tails on July 3rd if you are interested in a free pint.Michael

  18. Michael, as the source of many of those rumours let me firstly apologise – the info i got was from the old bar staff who it seemed were misinformed. It has become increasingly apparent to me that what was being done seemed at odds with the real pub co, and Im glad its you rather than them. The billet was and will be my local (aI pub that I eventually grew quite fond of despite its tattiness) so I wish you all the best in this. As well as seeing you on the third I also would like to invite you and the staff to the street party on Ickburgh Road (across the road from the billet) on saturday 6th – it’ll be our fourth annual party. Hope to see you and other regulars from this site there.

  19. I went passed the Billet this morning on the way to catch my train and was impressed at the speed in which its all coming together.  I always thought the Billet had potential and at long last it looks like this may be the case. This has been my partner’s local for a good few years although even he rarely visited towards the end as I refused to stay longer than one drink – the sticky carpet and dreadful toilets were enough to put anyone off!!! I have visited and Empress and eaten,so am now excited more than ever in the Billet’s relaunch. Thanks Michael for keeping us informed.

  20. The old  billet has been my local for a long time – although my visits waned when the Hart opened as the billet did not serve real ale – and mrs21 refused to visit it as she thought it was a shit hole ( harsh) she is excited about the refurb.

  21. New sign going up today on the swingboard according to their twitter feed. Ive had a good look inside and have been impressed at how easily they appear to have got it looking decent. Out back there’s a continuous line of booths under the wooden canopy that skirts the edge of the walls. With the other pubs in the local area having limited outside areas, I think the beer garden in the Billet could become legendary, especially if the sun ever comes out again.

  22. Yep, noticed that they have started removing the car park and are putting down soil. Actually getting excited about the opening, I was talking to a barman at the Hart just now, be interesting to see how it effects them, I have grown to love the Hart, the billet is a little closer though so I might well be at the hart slightly less.

  23. Noticed a load of deck chairs at the back, hope the weather improves !

  24. This garden is going to be a huge draw.Crooked Billet garden

  25. As will the table football Im massively looking forward to this. Theyre also getting a table tennis table in!”

  26. I’m looking forward to opening night on the 3rd, who else is heading down?

  27. I’ll be there from about 9. Not missing this one.

  28. I’ll be there early doors, not sure if I’ll stay til 9, but we will meet in there at some point!

  29. Absolutely packed to the rafters earlier on tonight. If anything signals that the old place has become trendy, it’s the metamorphosis of the billet. Apparently there are Sunday Times and guardian features of the area on the way. For an old timer like myself and a few others here, it’s headscratching time.

  30. @quitepeculiar, is this the next twee8? that’s quite the reno! (although i do yearn for the real e8 locations sometimes)

  31. Nice to meet you briefly Gavin, it was a bit too rammed for a relaxed chat, they had 16 staff on and they couldn’t cope with the numbers. It won’t be as rammed every night, not sure I’d enjoy that tbh. Chatted to the owner, Michael, who turned out to be the brother of an old mate from Uni who I hadn’t seen in about 20 years! who was also there supporting his bro. I did  see a fair few of the old regulars in there, some looked a little bemused at the hundreds of young people in their old pub, hopefully they will still go there. Michael seemed keen that it will be a boozer with food, rather than a gastro pub.

  32. The refurb is great and the launch was much fun @crookedbillete5 thanks for having us.I didn’t have any food, but it looked great. Looking forward to some summer evenings in that garden 🙂

  33. Once we got past the slightly unfriendly and overzealous bouncer, we were greeted with this was great to see such a large beer garden, this will be popular with families I’m sure. Can’t wait to go back on a normal day…

  34. Really think they are onto a winner here and I hope the Billet keeps the same mix of peeps.  Marty21 some of the locals did look a little bemused didn’t they?  The die hard regulars I were with moved onto The Sovereign, I guess they felt too much like little fish in a very big pond.  Hopefully, they will be back when not so packed.  Great night though.

  35. Thanks to everyone that came down last night – we couldn’t believe how many people turned up. Getting served was hard work but we couldn’t have got anymore people behind the bar. We did stop anyone else coming in for an hour to stop things getting out of hand but maybe should have done that a little earlier.Probably going to be two old men and a dog in there tonight.Thanks for the support. We really appreciate it.

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