The Mile End watering hole might look like a regular boozer from the outside, but step inside and jump back in time.
Back in the day, The Palm Tree was part of a row of houses before the surrounding buildings were bombed during World War Two, but today it sits between the canal and the ecology park, a short walk from Mile End station, with a standalone location away from the main road. From the outside, apart from being a rarity in that it's a secluded pub in London, it's not really anything special. But enter through to one of the two sections of the pub and it's a different story. With the décor of a bygone era, it's as if you've stepped back in time – and not in the “vintage effect” way so common in this part of town. With red velvet curtains and fringing around the bar, a worn-down patterned carpet and dark red lighting, as well as gold and black patterned wallpaper, a seriously old-fashioned till and rows of photos of old theatre stars, this place is the real deal, even if the lighting does make it seem a little bit seedy when you first enter.
The pub attracts a mixture of artistic Hackney types and true Eastenders, while staff are chatty and typically East End, too. At the weekends, the pub comes to life with a resident jazz band and a sing-song isn't uncommon. Generally, expect to hear modern and old pop classics. In the summer, the atmosphere spills out on to the canal banks, where people sit sipping pints outside.
There's a huge selection of beers, wines and spirits and usually two ales on offer. Expect to find beers and ciders such as Fosters, Stella, Stowford Press cider and Guinness on tap, while the huge bottle selection incudes Courage Light Ale, a couple of Meantime beers, Becks, Peroni and Corona, to mention a few. A pint is a very modern day price of £4.40. Whatever you do, don't ask for tap water – the request has been known to nosedive with bar staff! There's no food menu served, but if you're nice they might rustle up some sarnies.
The Last Word
Friendly, character-filled and genuinely retro, this typically East End pub is a canal-side must-visit.