Monday 10th December 2012
This is a pub I've wanted to visit for some time. Many had recommended it but I just never got round to calling in. Because of a Christmas reunion in the City later that same evening I used some afternoon time to go out to Hackney.
The pub is located at a major intersection where Dalston Lane crosses Amhurst Road and meets the namesake Pembury Road. It is just outside Hackney Downs station and although it is an imposing building it is paradoxically quite anonymous as there is none of the signage that one would expect on the outside walls of a pub.
Inside, there is a lot of space with the bar directly opposite the entrance. Immediately on the left of the door is a bar billiards table, a bit of a rarity these days. There's a pool table a bit farther up the room but surprisingly, I couldn't see a dart board. In addition to these, there is an extremely large range of board games to borrow and play in the pub.
There is a food menu that is very ethnic Italian and it looks superb.
The pub is the London outlet for the Milton Brewery of Milton, Cambridgeshire. The brewery owns a subsidiary company that operates several pubs around the eastern counties. This will explain the preponderance of beers from Milton. In addition to them, there are normally two or three guest beers available.
On offer when I visited were: Milton Brewery Nero (5.0%); Icarus (4.5%); Saturnalia (5.3%); Nike (4.7%); Marcus Aurelius (3.9%); Pegasus (4.1%), Minotaur (3.3%). The guest beers were Dorset Brewing (Dorchester, Dorset) Jurassic (4.2%) and Sharps (Rock, Cornwall) Project Wheatcore (4.7%).
There is always one traditional cider on offer and it comes from an ever-changing list of makers, large and small. There are the usual bottled beers from Belgium and a few from Germany.
Even the owners are unsure of the pub's building date, but they believe it to be between 1840 and 1870. Bearing in mind those pubs close to railway stations are nearly always built shortly after the station opens to traffic it would be an easy matter to find out when the Hackney Downs station of the Great Eastern Railway began life. I may even get round to doing it myself one day. During the 1990s there was a serious fire and the pub was closed for a very long time.
There are Beer Festivals three times a year in February / March, July and November. This is a pub with great transport links and should be a must on your itinerary should be anywhere this part of North East London.
The Pembury Tavern, 90 Amhurst Road, Hackney, London E8 1JH. Tel: 0208 986 8597
Open: Daily 12.00-23.00. Food is served daily from 12.00-15.00 and 18.00-21.00
The pub is opposite Hackney Downs station which is served by the trains of Greater Anglia. It is about ten minutes from Liverpool Street Station and the service consists of at least one train every ten minutes. The trains continue their journeys to places like Tottenham, Edmonton, Enfield, Walthamstow and Chingford. Just five minutes away is Hackney Central station which also has trains every ten minutes from and to many points, all over London.
Buses are very thick on the ground you can choose from any of these: 20, 38, 48, 55, 56, 106, 242, 253, 254, 276, 394, W15, N38 or N253.