The Earl of Lonsdale
You might be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into a Hobbit’s tavern here: the miniature doors and quirky booths in this local boozer make for a baffling entrance at first. This is all indicative of the pub’s character, where you’ll frequently find seasoned locals rubbing shoulders with West London’s young and beautiful. The beer garden out back is huge and well furnished, perfect for a spot of good conversation (with humans or dogs as it happens). The Earl of Lonsdale is a Samuel Smith pub, which is definite cause for celebration - it means pints in the £3-4 ballpark, a rare sight in LDN these days. Pub grub is available but nothing to write home about, though on Portobello a square meal is never difficult to come by.
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St John's Tavern
Artist Nic Sharpe has owned this plot for some 18 years now, but a recent refurbishment turned St John’s Tavern into what it is today: a large, incredibly stylish, somewhat minimalist space, part-pub part-restaurant. If you’re here for the boozing then expect heaps of local craft, including Hammerton’s N7 Pale Ale (from down the road), along with a bit of great value nosh from the bar’s tapas kitchen. The restaurant dishes oour British classics (incl. a smashing Sunday roast), sourcing produce locally and changing the menu on a seasonal basis. We’re also big fans of the weekly collab with local wine merchants Theatre of Wine - it’s BYOB in the restaurant on Mondays, so cop a bottle and get on down.
The Windsor Castle
***Permanently Closed*** With all the fairy lights, candles and rustic tables, this cosy Victorian pub is giving us the romantic feels. Perfect for a date but equally an ideal place to take your mum. As for the food, we'd say it's somewhere between standard pub grub and fine restaurant dining, so everyone's satisfied. We went for the Bavette Steak and Stuffed Butternut Squash for our mains, but the menu changes seasonally so we can't really recommend something even if we wanted to. A spacious bar and sweet beer garden makes the Windsor Castle a perfect place for a pint, too.
The Chesham Arms
The Chesham Arms is really all you could want from a pub - an open fire, a well curated selection of bevs, a nice little balcony, and a huge garden out back with wooden benches for the squares and hay bales for the more whimsical punters. The garden is a real afternoon sun trap, making the call of afterwork pints very hard to resist if you’re lucky/unlucky enough to have The Chesham lying in wait on your commute home. But, guilt aside, once you’ve plonked yourself on a hay bale, with one hand around a cold pint and the other patting some stranger's dog, you’ll start to think that going to the pub everyday isn’t so bad after all. And with Yard Sale Pizza a phone call away, there isn't actually a reason to ever leave. Ever.
The Red Lion Leytonstone
The Red Lion is a cracking boozer, filled with a cross section of the community and all different ages. It had us falling in love with pub culture all over again. Chew the ear off a hardened regular and you’ll likely hear tales of The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin playing the upstairs ballroom. But screw the past, there’s still plenty goings on these days to keep us curious. By day freelancers and young mums gather on sofas and in nooks. But by night the pub fills with punters turning up for one of the events. From free cinema and quizzes to garage and northern soul nights, this lot have your monthly calendar sorted. They even have an all day hip hop festival in the summer - where local artists graffiti the walls anew each year. Good British grub, board games, bloody marys, table football, kids' dance classes... it's less of a pub and more the heart of Leytonstone.