A secretly placed pub in Bethnal Green that’s worth venturing off the beaten track to find.
The Approach Tavern is almost hidden away from view down a leafy, tree-lined avenue in east London. It’s a short stroll from Victoria Park, in an area that was once filled with poverty and crime, but that’s now enjoying rejuvenation along with the rest of formerly gritty Bow. The beautiful Victorian houses on this street are now filled with middle-class families, so it’s fitting that a classy little pub such as the Approach Tavern should pop up nearby. The outside décor is very much muted, with a dark black façade that’s not exactly inviting. There’s a small beer garden to the front with some picnic tables placed under a few faux palm trees. It’s quite a nice place for summer drinking. The interior is similarly understated with a classic Victorian look that fits in with the ambience. It’s a fairly small bar with a central drinking area and what seems to be an extension on the back with larger dining tables. The pub is open every day from 12pm and there’s a quiz night on Mondays.
Being in now uber-cool east London, this pub attracts a varied mix of people. Fashionable Dalston-ites mix with yummy mummies living near the park and those gnarly old regulars propping up the bar. The bar staff could be said to be slightly aloof (or maybe that’s slightly cool) when serving, but overall there’s a nice, unpretentious feel about this place - it seems to welcome all walks of life. The tables nearer the back of the pub are more suited for eating, so if you’re only after a pint (and want to avoid large groups of diners and screaming kids), stick to the front bar.
The Approach Tavern operates a traditional British menu with a bit of a fancy twist. Midweek, expect to find pub favourites such as rib-eye steak served with chunky chips and a very tasty all-day breakfast. The mains here are quite expensive, even by local standards. While the food is of high quality and in big portions, most of the mains are well over a tenner, with the steak reaching a wallet-busting £17 - quite a lot for a cheap dinner. One of the main draws here is the Sunday roast, known by locals as one of the best in the area. There’s the choice of meat or vegetarian options, all served with deliciously large roast potatoes and an assortment of veg. The chicken is highly recommended and is an above-average sized serving, costing £14.50.
This pub is part of the Remarkable Restaurants chain, proud promoters of Litovel Czech lager, and you’ll find plenty of this at the bar, a pint costing £3.90. There’s also a great selection of real ales for beer lovers to try. These can include Hobgoblin, London Pride, Seafarer’s and Fuller’s Organic Honeydew Lager, a pint of the latter will cost you £4.55. There’s also a very good wine list on offer with some good recommendations to go with your dinner.
The Last Word
The Approach Tavern is hidden away down a quiet residential road in east London. Maybe the locals want to keep it that way, but if you happen to stumble upon it, you’ll find a great little boozer with some top-notch food and ale to be had.