Just who was it that reawakened London’s thirst for real ale? CAMRA, of course, should get some of the credit but what about all of these ale-drinking hipsters in East London– surely they’re not paid up members? Whatever forces have combined to create the boom in London’s beer industry, we should give thanks, as it’s led to more ale-focused pubs like the Railway Tavern.
Located on a neat little side street somewhere between Dalston and Islington, you couldn’t really ask for a better location for your friendly neighbourhood pub. A suntrap of a corner position, a quiet road outside and a quick hop from the surrounding suburbia – it’s a great spot. Inside, it’s all about the clean lines and subtle pastels of the colour scheme that somehow shout renovation, with a whisper. Sensible benches sit in a row against the windows, the retro bar is originality to a tee and the cosy chairs face an open fire at the end - it all gets along famously. There’s also a drawing room with its own projector screen and black and white movie prints plastered across the neutral walls.
You should count yourself lucky if you can walk down to the end of your road and find the Railway Tavern - it is a true local with engaging characters and a warm welcome. When it’s quiet it feels relaxed, and when it’s busy there’s a gregarious feeling among its regulars. Even the music, which includes some very respectable live shows, is a welcome distraction from staring at the memorabilia and makeshift artwork on the walls.
Although many traditional pubs have taken on a Thai menu, there are many more that continue to serve up average pub food - but there’s nothing average about the Thai food at the Railway Tavern. Dishes taste fresh and it’s an authentic menu prepared with care. It’s reasonably priced, too.
Adnam’s, Darkstar, Meantime and the more elusive Brewdog all bring selections of their finest to the pumps and a welcome selection it is too. This is what you want to see in your local, ale tankards lined up along the bar, and no Fosters and John Smiths in sight. There is choice for the lager drinker in the form of Meantime London Lager, and there’s also the delicious Leicher Weizen wheat beer from Germany
The Last Word
The Railway Tavern has made many friends with its sympathetic restoration and the addition of fine real ales. Add that to the convivial atmosphere and it’ll have you weeping that it’s not your very own local.