I decided that 2016 was the year for me to explore pubs within the radius of East Ham.
I am a relative newcomer to the area and have never been sure of where I can go to grab a quick tipple. So this year a new resolution has been to brave the local boozers and find out for myself. Besides, nothing incentivises research better than a fine glass of red wine.
I have tried out the pubs in the area that are within walking distance or a bus ride away. Having firmly stuck to my new year’s resolution (obviously, like I always do), here’s the lowdown.
Located in East Ham North on the ‘Curry Mile’ this place is situated in a decent spot. Legend has it that it used to be home to a vast crowd of bikers and rockers and was even the starting platform for Iron Maiden.
Nowadays you won’t see so many bikers. In 2016 the Ruskin Arm is a no-frills pub with a decent selection of lagers, ciders and ales. Food is available (but I have not tried it due to the temptation of nearby curry houses). It also hosts a quiz night, karaoke and occasionally a swanky jazz evening. There is also a hotel if you enjoy yourself so much that you can’t make it home.
The Boleyn Tavern
Entertainment-wise the Boleyn (pronounced ‘Bow-lin’) hosts a quiz, bingo and a karaoke night. This place is a ‘looker’ as well: it has a very attractive billiard room at the back with cut glass and some nice old wood features.
I am still stinging from coming last in the pub quiz (eh hem, twice), but all in all, my verdict is that it’s a lovely grand old pub that should be checked out. The ladies who run the bar are also really friendly and have everything under control – so don’t mess! This is probably front contender for a close range local. A bargain £3 for a frozen pizza too, although maybe a wider pub grub selection could tempt me more.
This is a bus ride on the 104, 474 or 101, so not within walking distance, but it really is a lovely pub no more than fifteen minutes away and so deserves a mention. It has lovely views looking out onto Wanstead Flats, and its own beer garden and playground area so you can bring the family. Craft beer is on sale too. You could easily forget you are in London here, and there’s good grub as well – even comes with a smiley face.
Crossing into up-and-coming hipster-ville, the Forest Tavern boasts an array of activities including music nights and dominoes. Plenty of real ale is also on offer for those that way inclined. Again, this is a bus ride away (route 58 or 330), but is nice for some Sunday socialising and a good value roast. For more info on this one check out East Blam.
The Denmark Arms, like the Boleyn, has an interesting Victorian interior. Its beautiful hanging baskets are an asset to East Ham High Street, which, let’s face it, can be a little aesthetically challenged! The pub is opposite Newham Town Hall and is a grade 2 listed building built in 1890, though the lack of gentile lamp shades slightly lets this Victorian-esque vibe down. I was tempted in by the Kate Bush music, but went out again as it was so very loud! Offers a rock-and-roll night and a space for band practice upstairs.
On a serious note, come the moment when West Ham leave the area and go on to their shiny new Stratford stadium and surroundings, it will be interesting to find out how the above will fare without the regular influx of gold from footie fans.
It could be a time of positive change, but this won’t happen without your support.
If you don’t want to go it alone, a few locals meet regularly for socials and often try these pubs. Check out their Facebook page for more details on upcoming meet-ups.