Far East{London} antics

Wondering about local pubbage, you booze hounds you? you are not alone…

There is no shortage of pubs in East Ham or Newham. There IS however, a shortage of good beer (you know ale, not lager-lager-lager-mega-mega-white-thing and all that), foodie pubs and family friendly venues.

Newham is rich in public housery, and boasts some of the most beautiful booze buildings in old London town. There are plenty to go around, if you are a Sporty-McSport-Sport, or love your lager. If however you prefer ale (ale-glorious a-a-ale), fancy any kind of independently brewed alcohol, or need a family friendly place to while away your Sunday, you might find yourself rather stuck. So much so that the BLAM inbox is chock full of emails from non footie folks, all wondering about their local beer den might be.

** Editors side note** We’d like to caveat now that we are not against the footie or sports pubs (What kind of East-Hammer would we be, Boleyn is practically our back garden?), but they are not everyone’s cup-o-tea (er, cup-o-beer?).

Enter ANTIC London. Sort of like Batman, but in the form of a chain of pubs.

The Antic pub’s natural habitat is saaaf of the river, but in recent times they have been getting their noses in to all sorts of Far East {London} business including Newham native, The Forest Tavern, The Red Lion in Leytonstone, Leyton Technical, The Galvanisers Union in Bromley by Bow and their most recent acquisition The Earl of Essex, Manor Park (which BTW, is right on the home borders of East Ham. Bingo, we said!).


We can’t confess to having tried them all (to be fair, there is 43 pubs on the Antic books, and 9 in the pipe for Ron so we’d be very ver drunk if we had tried them all) but we have checked in at the Forest Tavern and Galvanisers Union and here is what we think you need to know…


The Forest Tavern, Forest Gate

For any avid East Blammers, this will not be the first time you have heard us talk about The Forest Tavern, in Fo’Gate (see our article on the hipsterness of The Gate). It’s pretty hip and happening as far as the Far East{London} goes.

Bricks & Mortar: From the outside it is relatively unassuming but inside is all exposed brick and mix and match up cycled furniture. THEY HAVE A FUSSBALL TABLE. Nuff Said. Actually, not quite nuff said… They also have a joyful collection of objet d’art loitering on the walls, a set of the old ivories in the corner, flowers on the table and IT IS JUST REALLY NICE IN THERE, ALRIGHT!?

Beer: Volden is a throughoughly enjoyable session beer brewed exclusively for Antic and available at all their pubs. The Fo’Tav also offers beer by Windor & Eton and Hackney Brewery as well as guest ales, plus a stocked fridge of craft beers. So yes, they had Beer. Proper Beer. Nice Beer. Lots of it.

Food: The menu is gastro-pub worthy: lots of choice, mostly locally sourced. The food itself won’t be winning a Michelin star anytime soon, but is good solid poshed up pub grub. The Sausage rolls and Scotch eggs on the other hand are entirely note worthy. If you were going to write home about something from the Fo’Tav menu, it would be these. OM. NOM. NOM.

Outsidy-ness: Yes, a courtyard out back and also some tables out front if you fancy watching the latest influx of beards go by.

Atmos: Lovely friendly beery goodness. The kind of place you could have a quiet conspiratorial chat with a buddy, a raucous knees up with a group of mates, or challenge your dad to a game of dominoes. We did not see any LADS-LADS-LADS kind of behaviour. No juke boxes, no fruit machines and no footie, so it got a major thumbs up from us.

Goings on: Yes, Most definitely: Record Fair first saturday of the month, Swing Dancing every Monday, Jazz every second Sunday, open mic night and more. Err, did you guys catch that? they have live JAZZ MUSIC!!! Find out more here.

Opening hours: 4pm-11pm Mon – Fri, 12-12 Sat, 12-11pm Sun.

£££: Sunday Roast from £12, Snacks from £3. Beer from £3.


The Galvanisers Union, Bromley by Bow

The Galvanisers Union is not quite inside our Far East Borders (Bromley by Bow is technically part of Tower Hamlets) but only a few stops on the tube, and is a bit like Forest Tavern’s older sister. More grown up, more focus on the food and wine, and a bit more family orientated but ultimately still cool.

Bricks & Mortar: This old guy (yes old, like 1872!) is a BEAUT. All reclaimed saloon style, tipped with velvet and a foot rest at the bar (so you can prop yourself up there all day and chew the fat, yeah?). It is rustic country pub meets gin palace, with a gentle lean towards ramshackle.

Beer: Again with the Volden, they also have Sambrooks, a few Sharps (Doombar amongst them) and a selection of indie Gins to choose from. These guys also ‘do’ wine, and had a vast and unusual selection on offer – worth investigating if you are a wino (errr, sorry “wine aficionado”).

Food: Similar to Fo’Tav, but airing more on the side of classic pub grub. It does the job. Check out the menu here. 

Outsidy-ness: A beautiful view of the A13. You might want to sit inside.

Atmos: Calm. We went for Sunday Lunch, so perhaps it was the time of day but Galvanisers union had a soft and gentle bustle to it that made you feel all warm and contented. It would be very easy to while away the day in here, from coffee-o-clock, right through to beery bleary eyes at bed time. It’s family friendly too, which is always a bonus.

Goings on: Quiz night on a Wednesday and a stack of bar games that you can get involved in, when the conversation gets old.

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 4pm – 11pm. Sat 12-12, Sun 12-10pm

£££: Sunday Roast from £12, Snacks from £3. Beer from £3. £10 beer and Burger on a Tuesday.


Chain of fools (no wait, actually, a chain of pretty and well run pubs)

In a horizon littered with sports bars and Weatherspoons, Antic is a welcome and inclusive light on the horizon. They serve great beer, serve food, welcome kids and have a long standing history of supporting their local communities (each one has a local notice board and is full of flyers for local activities).What more could we ask for… Um, ok yes, independence. There is no denying that Antic is a chain, but they are supporting local community networks, buying from local traders and breweries and protecting our boozers in postcodes where pubs are closing faster than Kanye can say ‘hurry up with my damn croissant’. We’d always prefer an indie landlord or brewery to do their thing (no monopolies here please), but in the mean time, Antic can certainly keep the seat warm…

Antic are all up in our grill

Whether we like it or not (we do actually) Antic and the East Side are now going steady. Manor Park, you guys are next on the hit list with the majesty that is The Earl of Essex due to open some time in 2016 and we heard rumours on the claret and blue grape vine that Antic have their beady eye on East Ham pubbery too, in case they see something they like. TBH, that’s fine with us.


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  • Reply NM January 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Great article. Any news on when the Earl of Essex will actually arrive?

    • Reply East Blam February 4, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Hmmm, good question! Soon we hope!

  • Reply F Mac July 2, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Any progress /news on Earl of Essex ??.

    • Reply East Blam July 11, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Hi, we heard a rumour that the Earl of Essex was having some legal difficulties but it is just vicious gossip at the moment. We are all rooting for it though.

  • Reply F mac January 4, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Any news on Earl Essex reopening in 2018 ??

  • Reply Francis Mccarthy May 1, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Have ye pulled out of reopening The Earl of Essex in Manor park?

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