Friday, 10 February 2012
Sebright Arms, Bethnal Green
Once attached to a Victorian music hall, more recently left abandoned and boarded up, this typical East End inn faced the same fate as so many pubs: oblivion. Despite a petition raised by local residents, it looked set to become another victim of the fatal combination of greedy pubcos, swingeing taxes, Labour's smoking ban, ridiculously cheap loss-leader supermarket alcohol and Simon Cowell’s Saturday opium for the masses that has decimated our stock of boozers. Cue the savvy inn-trepreneurs behind the Horse Bar, Waterloo: riding to the rescue, they've saved the Sebright from Demolition Man, reinventing it as somewhere quite special to boot. Its lovely tiled and wood panelled saloons may be unchanged since Cockney sparra Babs Windsor last had her nappy changed, but the crowd is decidedly ‘now’: Bethnal bushy-beards and Lauren Laverne-alikes soundtracked by name-to-drop DJs - Mark from Rae & Christian good enough for ya? Less up-its-own-harris than hip Shoxditch gaffs, friendly, button-cute staff pull pukka pints from London microbrewers Sambrook’s, Brodie’s, Meantime, Redemption et al and wines start at recessionista-friendly prices. Old school fun runs to jumble sales, stand-up comedians, a ‘working mens club’ complete with meat raffle (how very Hilda Ogden!) and live gigs in the basement. Top scran is currently provided by peripatetic burger barons, Lucky Chip, whose decadent patties are meaty magnificence. Talking of meat magnificent, current Hollywood hottie via Michael Fassbender is in the house tonight. 'Shame he's fully clothed,' reckons my date. Worth crossing town for, even in tonight's snowy blizzard, I'm miffed this ain’t my local. As for the Sebright's local locals, a manager tells me they're not overly thrilled about the noise emanating from their newly buzzing, rescued local. Start another petition?
31-35 Coate St E2 7729 0937www.sebrightarms.co.uk