A very small pub off Whitechapel High Street, Bar Locks keeps it simple but offers a nice, affordable selection of British pub grub and Thai favourites.
Bar Locks is a very small, traditional pub on the corner of White Church Lane, just a two-minute walk from Aldgate East station. It’s so small, in fact, that there are just five tables, as well as a few stools lining the bar, so if you’re after an intimate drink with a date or a confidential work chat with colleagues, this probably isn’t the pub for you. If you just fancy a pint some place with a bit of atmosphere, you’re in luck.
The décor at Bar Locks is minimal; a wood floor and beige walls set the scene for a very simple, traditional pub with no real personality stamped on it, though the countless St George flags covering the bar do give you a little insight into the sort of clientele – or indeed landlord – you might expect. That’s not to say that there’s a rowdy, unpleasant atmosphere here; there’s actually a very friendly vibe. But Bar Locks is obviously a classic British pub that isn’t trying to fit in with the more modern bars in the area. The TV playing loud music or live sports and regular darts matches are testament to this.
If you pop in during the day you may well be the only person there aside from the barman, but you’ll feel welcome enough. The staff are really friendly and there’s always a lively vibe thanks to the background music. Really, this pub would be ideal for a big group of friends on a night out who fancy meeting new people, or indeed a private party who want to use the whole space.
Outside, the blackboard advertises typical British grub, like ‘cod, chips and peas’, ‘jumbo sausage in bun’ and ‘battered chicken chunks’, all served from 12pm to 3pm. On seeing this board, you’d be forgiven for thinking the menu is pretty limited and simplistic, but inside, another board announces a slightly more adventurous though still well priced selection. Try vegetable samosas (£3) or Thai fish cakes (£3.50) as starters, or a main of chilli con carne for £5.50.
You’ll find all the usual suspects on draught here, including Strongbow, Carling, Guinness, Fosters and John Smith’s, starting at around a decent £3.20 for a pint. There are more beers and ciders available by the bottle.
The Last Word
Friendly staff, a laid-back vibe and a great location make this pub worth a visit if you’re in the area and fancy a casual drink, but for a cosy evening or somewhere with a more modern feel, try one of the bars around the corner.