Caught by the River

Pint By The River

9th October 2012

I’ve become obsessed with something recently. I’m convinced it’s harder to buy a bad pint in London now than it is to buy a great one. It might just be that I’m lucky. My manor – Hackney – seems to embraced the craft beer revolution with both frantic hands. All over town, former shitkicker pubs have been given a hipster makeover. In come endless incredible keg lines and someone flipping premium burgers in the backroom, out go the old customers. Luckily/worryingly for me, my local – the Cock Tavern – appears to be the best of the lot. A riot of hugely hopped local brews (many of them concocted in the pub’s own basement), prize winning pork pies and dusty reflective silences, the pub could almost have been designed with me in mind – an experiment in how to create the perfect way to empty my wallet on a regular basis.

For a full-on meta experience, I recently spent an afternoon in the Cock Tavern consuming Doghouse – ‘The Pub & Cafe Magazine’. Doghouse is wonderful – a loveletter to all aspects of British pub culture put together in a glorious colour magazine. The first issue features stories on pub crawls, Japanese beer machines, back room rap battles and dogs that have been barred for pissing in the public bar. It magics up a world of pints of mild and Fosters fonts in smoky snugs, of Tavern Snacks and greasy spoons; a world that my hipster pubs are slowly but surely replacing as you can be certain that whatever trends happen in London will soon enough begin their relentless march out of town. The snapshots captured in Doghouse may well be fading Polaroids of a dying breed. I really hope not. But then, the beer round here is so much better now…

Robin Turner. Robin co-authored The Search for the Perfect Pub and the Rough Pub Guide.