Birkbeck Tavern, E11 4HL
- 020 8539 2584
- 45 Langthorne Road, E11 4HL
- 11am-11pm Mon-Thu; 11am-midnight Fri-Sat; noon-11pm Sun
It has two separate bars, each with their own entrance. The public bar has a pool table, and the lounge bar has a dartboard (with Courage Best branding). There's also a pleasant back garden and upstairs function room which is often used by the Masons.
Decor in the lounge bar is traditional, with a patterned carpet, high ceiling, tankards hanging from the ceiling beams, and horse brasses mounted in a line up the staircase. The fireplace boasts even more horse brasses, as well as some nice old flowery tiles and a cat sculpture lying asleep in front. Seating is upholstered banquettes, low bar stools, and upright chairs.
Real ale is served, including an own-branded "Rita's Special". According to a sign seen in August 2014, bar snacks are available 1pm-4pm, with sandwiches and wraps made to order.
Kake visited again on a Friday afternoon in August 2011. There was again occasional music. Three of the seven handpumps were on, including "Rita's Special". A half of lime and soda was 40p. In contrast to my previous visit, service was perfunctory, with no acknowledgement when I walked up to the bar and no eye contact throughout our interaction. There were quite a few people in just before 3pm, but plenty of free seats.
[Flash]?'s verdict: Generally accepted by the locals to be the best pub in Leyton and this is evidenced by CAMRA awards.
Accessibility: Fairly large steps at both entrances. No further steps to the ladies' (accessed via the lounge bar), but the cubicles are very small. Gents' not checked.