This is what canal-side dreams are made of. This craft beer brewery was Hackney Wick's first, and remains the best. Housed in a former print factory, the industrial space is a siren song to East Londoners - especially in summer, when you can dine al fresco on some pretty scrumptious pizzas. This is a local spot through and through - the interior is made with reclaimed materials sourced from local artists. You can even chill in the boats that are moored up during summer. Nice.
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This is a comeback story for the ages. The Shaftesbury Tavern, previously an inconspicuous local hole in Richmond, has been taken over by the Remarkable Restaurant group (of the Dragonfly Brewery and the George & Dragon) – and boy, did they transform this pumpkin into a Cinderella (did we get that right?). Palatial Victorian accents peek out around the massive space – think chandeliers and towering pillars. There's a decent selection of ales on tap, including microbrews sourced from Dragonfly that won’t put off beer ignoramuses. The food is standard pub fare and while it doesn’t stun, it definitely does the trick. A good standard for slightly fancy people.
If the Crate Brewery isn’t quite edgy enough for you, take a couple of extra steps through to Alfred LeRoy, a barge right on the canal. They make some seriously good cocktails here, with syrups made on site and spirits, mixers and bartenders sourced as locally as possible. When it’s parked up by Crate you can order pizzas onto the barge but the real fun starts when they cruise. In the warmer months cruise tickets are £26 and include one cocktail and a sharing board of (E5 Bakehouse bread, Neal's Yard Cheese, and some tasty charcuterie too). Tours running through October. In the winter, and when it's not on a cruise, Leroy can be pretty good for some evening work with a quiet drink - as it’s well heated, has wifi and power sockets. Just don’t tell everyone.
Canopy Beer Co
Long gone are the days you'd only travel to Herne Hill for the lido or the annual dog show (we recommend both, obviously). This brewery-cum-bar is one of many new additions to the arches. Originally known for its on-site craft beer brewing, Canopy has since opened a small bar and added a few tables and stools for a low-key locals' watering hole. Drink in or pick up a Sunray Pale Ale to go. For the non beer lovers we suggest the Bermondsey-made gin.
Born over a pint, this Leyton-based start-up is centred on a joint love of music and beer. There's nothing worse than a shit pint at a gig - and the two lads behind signature brew are hell-bent on changing things. To do so, music artists are invited to brew their own beer at their brewery which is then sold to their fans. What's in it for you? You can come and taste these delicious brews in their taproom - from Backstage IPA, to Red Wedge and Signature Pale. Opening times can vary so give 'em a call before rocking up.