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We love Leytonstone – east London’s lesser known neighbourhood has burst onto the craft beer scene in recent years with a bevy of new breweries that compliment the traditional pubs and old school bars so well.
Leytonstone truly is a divine, drinking destination, with many local taprooms, good transport links to and from the city, plus a whole of bars and pubs that are within walking distance of each, and generally reasonably priced. Here is our lowdown on Leytonstone’s best bars, pubs and brewery taprooms:
17 Best pubs, bars and breweries in Leyton and Leytonstone map
Best pubs, bars and breweries in Leyton and Leytonstone
1. Gravity Well Taproom
Leytonstone’s Gravity Well Taproom is a warm and welcome addition to the local craft beer scene and conveniently located directly below Leyton Midland Road Overground station (literally 30 secs walk), meaning you may actually wish for a train delay.
We didn’t know what to drink from the (Gravity) Well on our first visit so thankfully, we were offered several samples and we opted for their Relativistic Beaming NEIPA (6.7%) and a pint of their new batch of topically titled Omicron Persei 9 Pale Ale. For ‘dessert’, we tried their Chocolate Oatmeal stout (Brane Reimagined) – rather nice!
The Gravity Well taproom set-up is nicely set up, with a railway arch beer garden out front, a scattering of tables inside plus a mezzanine seating area up top and some board games available. A well stocked beer fridge with colourful Gravity Well cans comes as standard.
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2. Pretty Decent Beer Co
With a name like Pretty Decent beer company, you can’t help but be intrigued by their innate confidence in their craft beer range. Luckily, it lives up to the name and this is another example of a great taproom located underneath a railway arch (all the best tap rooms are on industrial estates or under railway arches, right?)
Waltham Forest’s finest and near to Wanstead Flats and the Wanstead Tap, the Pretty Decent Beer Co has a cosy interior with several tables inside and a beer garden out front. Open 7 days a week, Pretty Decent Beer Co has beautifully designed cans and some of the best beer puns out there – most important, all the tipples we tried tasted so good.
We’ve been to Pretty Decent Beer Co on a couple of occasions on a Friday and Sunday and both times, it was really busy with a nice atmosphere. They also have rotational food stalls that set-up in the kitchen to the left of the bar (we had delicious African baos last time). A nice beery experience – perhaps they should rename themselves Very Decent Beer Company?
3. The Red Lion
A popular Leytonstone High Road pub that describes itself as a Tardis (due to its size, not because it is bright blue), The Red Lion is a historic Leytonstone pub pulling pints since the 1690s.
The most beautiful pub on this list with lush salon like interiors, the Red Lion Leytonstone was rammed to the rafters when we last visited on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The big bay windows streamed light into the bar and it was a nice mix of couples, family get-togethers and lone drinkers with books.
Boasting the biggest beer garden in Leytonstone (which we thought was a bit dark and dismal; hopefully the peeling awning comes down over summer), most of the cool kids were sitting outside on the benches on the outside of the pub watching life go by on the high street.
Upstairs at the Red Lion, there is an antique ballroom and boutique hotel and downstairs, you’ll find a huge bar with a pretty good beer-range on tap, meaning you can try something new as opposed to your standard big brewery beers. The Red Lion is retro as and all the better for it.
4. Mammoth Tap
As at May 2022, the newest brewery addition to the Leytonstone taproom scene (although unlikely the last), Mammoth Tap has a prime spot located underneath the railway arches at Leytonstone High Road overground station – very handy indeed.
We visited on Mammoth Tap’s very first opening day in April 2022 so it was incredibly busy with plenty of people trying the taps – lots of families too. Mammoth Tap’s location works in its favour and the beer garden outside acts as a great showroom, enticing people in – with the trees swaying in the sunshine, it almost feels a little rural.
Mammoth Tap’s beer range was top-notch, including all the regular favourites like Prism Lager plus a decadent and delicious stout. Track down this hoppy hangout at the Alfred Hitchcock Business Centre; we think Mammoth Beer tap-room will likely become one of our regular Leytonstone hang-outs given it good beers and handy transport links.
5. The Rookwood Village
From the same pub team that runs The Village pub in Walthamstow, the Rookwood Village pub on Cann Hall Road is likely the most beautiful bar in Leytonstone, with lovely, tiled interiors, a shiny bar and ample beer garden out back.
We also like the Rookwood Village as it has a good craft beer selection on tap (hidden away behind the bar, so quite easy to miss) that offers local brewery beers like from the Pretty Decent Beer Co plus craft curiosities from further afield like GoodH brewery in Cornwall.
During the week, The Rookwood Village also has various offers like 2 pizzas for £13 on Tuesday nights, 2 for 1 cocktails on Fridays plus a mid week quiz. Definitely a nice neighbourhood place, if you visit on a Sunday, try and combine your visit to the Rookwood Village with a trip the Leytonstone Farmers market held most Sundays.
6. The Birds
Named (we presume) in honour of Leytonstone’s most famous former resident, Alfred Hitchcock and his sublime horror flick The Birds, is a Laine Pub company bar on Leytonstone High Road with a homely interior – think sofas, retro arcade machine tables and wooden floors.
With an incredible beer range (around half of their own Laine beers and other guest brews), you could do worse than spending an afternoon here working your way through the taps. The bar staff are really friendly here and knew a lot of the regulars by name. When we visited, there was a heated discussion about what game was best on the old school Nintendo Game Boys (Mario obvs – end of).
Whilst the beer garden out back at the Birds is a bit of lame duck, the inner workings are warm and welcoming with a slight retro feel – we can only think they missed a trick here and not named an area of the pub after Hitchcock’s best movie, ‘Beer Window’.
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7. Burgess & Hall Wines
A bouji and boutique wine bar that also does a nice line in craft beers, Burgess & Hall Wines was a welcome discovery and one we discovered quite by accident (we were actually looking for the bar next door).
A lush Leytonstone railway arch wine bar, Burgess & Halls gets our vote as a top neighbourhood drinking spot mainly due to the interiors (they have done such a good job) and awesome aesthetics. But also mainly down to the incredible friendly chap behind the bar (likely the owner, whose name we didn’t catch) – but he was convivial, knew lots of the locals and had such awesome knowledge of all his range. The devil is in the detail and Burgess & Halls delivers in spades.
We sat on a comfy sofa overlooking the bar, drinking our craft beers (reasonably priced too) as a steady stream of locals bought wine and nibbles – the terrace outfront was also a popular spot and doggy friendly.
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8. Arch Deli
Just off Grove Green Road and launched in 2022 by a former employee of Kernel Brewery and manager of Clapton Craft, Arch Deli is a hidden gem making great use of a railway arch siding. Focusing on fresh products, delicious deli fare and the best local wine and craft beer goodness, this is all about the personal touch.
Indeed, as we sat inside the Arch Deli, we got chatting to the owner and it was so great to hear her enthusiasm for this new venture (handily also located just a few steps from both Solvay Society taproom and Heathcote & Star)
9. The North Star
Very different to all the other Leytonstone bars and pubs in this list, The North Star is located in a quiet street away from the hustle and hubris of Leytonstone High Road, in the Browning Road Conservation Area in Brushwood.
As you approach the North Star, it feels like you are in a village environment a million miles away from east London, with a couple of tables out front and a larger beer garden out the rear.
The North Star also has one of the best beer ranges in Leytonstone – we were spoilt for choice so grabbed a few halves and then sat out in the beer garden, increasingly getting hungry as the smell of the freshly baked pizzas wafted across the terrace.
The North Star has vintage interiors and is a well-loved local hang-out. On the day we visited, the beer garden out front was packed and inside, people were playing darts and sharing stories – gotta love it!
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10. Filly Brook
Fill your boots at Filly Brook is all we can say! A beautiful bar and neighbourhood restaurant that boasts a massive range of beers both on draft and in bottles, we recently visited Filly Brook to taste beaucoup de beers and try their joyous Japanese okonomiyaki pancakes (alas the Sho Foo Doo pop-up is soon to leave, but we’ll be back for the craft beers alone).
Bustling on the Friday night we visited and dined on okonomiyaki, Filly Brook has a nice interior dining room and during the daytime, becomes more of a taproom set-up. There are usually 15 to 20 beers on tap at any one time at Filly Brook and they are proud to serve up local craft breweries like Solvay Society, Gravity Well and Mammoth Beer – enjoy!
11. The Holly Tree
The most well-known pub in Leytonstone due to the miniature train that runs through the garden most Sundays from 2pm, this popular family hang-out is themed with railway elements throughout from model trains inside to an outdoor eating area outside that looks like a train station platform – just be careful when crossing the tracks in case the choo-choo is going past (it usually toots its steam whistle as it passes – tickets are available to purchase to ride on the train).
The food at the Holly Tree is really good – we had a couple of Sunday roasts (one vegetarian nut roast, one chicken) and the latter was superb; deliciously moist chicken covered in bread sauce and a good variety of veggies with a Yorkshire pudding. Just be careful if you order the chicken on the menu as it is called a ‘half chicken’ on the menu which is what we asked for, but got served the children’s portion instead.
The beer range at The Holly Tree was also top notch with lots of local different craft beers on tap, all of which are reasonably priced – a nice spot to spend a Sunday afternoon or have a mid-week pint.
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12. Stone Mini Market
Curious and homely but in a very good way, the Stone Mini Market is a local hangout that became better known after winning a Time Out Award, as voted for local residents. Billed as an ethical produce stall with craft beer bar, the Stone Mini Market seriously has one of the best collection of craft beer cans we’ve seen in East London and was an unexpected treat.
Fridges galore contain surprise after surprise, from local and London breweries to other craft beer manufacturers from all over the country, and all so reasonably priced compared to others.
We visited Stone Mini Market one hot Friday evening and after many minutes mulling over what to drink (so much choice – yay!), we picked a couple of ice cold cans and headed back to the beer garden / terrace outback. There is also a kitchen and bar that serves a couple of draft beers as well as usually hosting a street food pop up.
We’d chosen to visit on this particular occasion as Chicken & Gochu (delicious Korean chicken and other delicacies) were the vendors this week (note the food offerings are usually at the weekends and rotate regularly).
We love the ethos and vibrancy of Stone Mini Market and it was nice to experience such enthusiasm from the staff / owners; very knowledgeable and passionate about their products. We only planned to stay for one round but as the food was so good and the back garden a bit of a sun-trap, we stayed for a couple of hours and tried beers from all over the country – highly recommended.
13. Heathcote & Star
Brought to you by the Electric Star pub company, purveyors of fine pub fare such as the Lord Napier Star in Hackney Wick and the Star of Bethnal Green, this was the busiest pub we visited in Leytonstone by far (maybe that is the lure of the beer pong or the rather unusual intergalactic and stellar roof illustrations).
The Heathcote & Star has probably the biggest and best events schedule in the area, with monthly comedy nights, party nights and live music. Big and bold, the Heathcote & Star doesn’t do subtle and is all the better for it.
14. Spark House
A former Wetherspoon pub on Leyton High Road lovingly transformed into a good-looking, bright and breezy neighbourbood, the Spark House has…ahem …sparked back in to life over the last couple of years with new owners and a new look.
As well as having a good range of craft beers on tap (several from Laines Brewery, similar to the Birds pub), the Spark House has an excellent outdoor beer garden with several dining huts and an evergreen wall full of tropical, lush foliage (or very convincing plastic plants – it was hard to tell).
The Spark House also has an upstairs roof terrace overlooking the main high street and is popular for Sunday Roasts. The highlight of our last trip was a rather bemused looking guy stumbling in the beer garden loudly shouting ‘This isn’t a Wetherspoons any more is it’?
15. Wanstead Tap
A live entertainment and arts venue located beneath the railway arches with a little beer garden looking out over a quiet residential area, the Wanstead Tap (located immediately next door to Burgess & Hall) is a short walk from Wanstead Park and is a cosy, dive bar with bags of character and a ramshackle mismatch of furniture to boot.
We really liked the Wanstead Tap as the lady behind the bar was very friendly, walked us through what craft beers were available on tap and told us about all the upcoming events.
The Wanstead Tap also has a huge range of craft beers available both to drink onsite or take home, from bold Baltic porters to perianal favourites like Beavertown and Signature Brew.
As we visited early one Sunday, the railway arch was quite quiet and we sat outside next to a group of locals who clearly loved the place. Given the venue size, the gigs here are likely intimate affairs and atmospheric as; with fun and frivolity on ‘tap’.
16. Hare and Hounds
Leyton’s oldest surviving pub, the Hare and Hounds near to Hackney Marshes oozes history, with its wonderful wooden interiors and cosy armchairs, plus a huge, flashing arrow made of various coloured light-bulbs chucked above the bar for good measure – just in case you don’t know where to find the bar.
There are lots of nice little touches at the Hare and Hounds, like the little table of dog treats and doggy bowls of water as you first enter (presuming that is for the hounds, not sure about the hares). Outside, a huge marquee and various rustic areas await, where beer meets Bedouin vibes (it reminded us of the Secret Garden pub in Battersea). On tap, local favourites like Hackney Brewery and Beavertown compete with more mainstream draft goodness.
17. Solvay Society
Bringing a little bit of Belgian beer to east London, Leytonstone’s Solvay Society was founded by Belgian born Roman and is home to a compact but cosy taproom underneath the railway line at Dyers Hall Road, just a few doors along from new neighbour, Arch Deli.
Open Friday to Sunday, Solvay Society’s taproom has a rustic feel and huge selection on tap, with knowledgeable staff behind the bar to guide you through their epic craft collection.
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