This buzzing modern pub is the king of multi-function and has one of the best outdoor spaces in the area.
With a spot in Spitalfields – between the City and nightspots of Shoreditch – this venue has a great location. And, unlike many of the packed neighbouring bars, there's a lot more to the pub than first meets the eye. There's five main sections to the venue, including a main bar area with tall tables, slouchy sofas and wide-screen TVs, a dining room with a second bar, dark wooden flooring and long curtains, and a pool room with two tables and a scattering of stools. An outdoors section has plenty of seating, a barbecue area and impressive lights, while a covered garden dining room sits to one side. And lastly, there’s a basement bar where screenings and events are held. The venue's decor throughout is a bizarre combination of quirky artwork, grand mirrors and chandeliers, as well as retro oddities, such as a large set of red scales, which sit right by the door.
There's loads going on in this venue, so the atmosphere can shift considerably. Generally speaking, Thursday and Friday evenings are packed and finding a seat can be near to impossible unless you arrive super early. Weekends are slightly quieter and during the day it's calmer still. The music pays due to who is in the pub – if it's a busy weekend night, expect to hear old and new pop hits being played, while the tempo drops somewhat during the day. The Water Poet is well staffed and, despite the crowds, you don't have to wait long for a drink.
Food is good value for money considering the quality of the dishes. Lunch is served until 3pm during the week and Saturday brunch until 4pm. The menu changes regularly, but expect to find dishes such as a West Country cured ham & free-range egg sandwich, with salad, fries and a cup of soup (£7.50), and big plates like an organic burger or Adnams ale-battered fish and chips for a tenner, when purchased with a small glass of wine or selected pint of beer. Desserts take the form of traditional pub favourites, such as warm chocolate brownie, whipped cream and berries (£6). Sharing platters are also served in the evening (£14) and on Sundays the venue prides itself on the roast dinners it serves – there are plenty of different meats on offer, as well as several veggie options and something for fish eaters, too.
The selection is huge at The Water Poet, but drinks are rather pricey. Draught beers start at £3.95 and include Aspalls, Becks Vier, Estrella, several Meantime beers and Guinness to mention a few, while bottles include Peroni, Corona, Little Creatures Pale Ale and Anchor Stream Beer. The cider and fruit beer selections are good, too - including Bulmers, Rekorderlig, Crabbies and Mongozo Mango – but cost nearly £5 each.
The Last Word
With a prime spot, a multi-function space and food and drinks menus fit for any purpose any time, you can do a lot worse than visit this sprawling Spitalfields venue.