I'm still on my "Pubs near my London flat" theme. There's one very near indeed that I had (until yesterday) never been in despite our fifteen years or so of it being just round the corner. The Dog and Truck I am told was rebuilt in 1935 in its present form and survived the wartime bombing unscathed. Hidden in Back Church St in East London it could be considered as a hidden gem. Well certainly hidden, though it is just five minutes off busy Leman St. But is it a gem and why despite its nearness have I not called in? I suppose the answer is that the time was never right.
The first thing you notice about the Dog and Truck is its faded Watney Combe and Reid livery. Inside you step into the 1970s. One single room, long and bare boarded is served from a long bar. Typical of the seventies, there is a food servery on one side of the bar, from which astonishingly cheap (for London) food is dispensed. Think three Cumberland sausages and mash for under a fiver. The menu has a kind of retro feel too, though food service was finished when I called in. There are three handpulls offering Greene King IPA, another GK one turned round and thankfully, Harvey's Sussex Best which I chose and which was in splendid form. Clean, vibrant, cool and conditioned. Lovely. I looked around. Inevitably there was a dart board and a pool table plus fruit machines. No Space Invaders though, which was disappointing and no pink formica topped tables either, though I wouldn't have been at all surprised if there had been. Also typical of the seventies was a set of framed banknotes from around the world above the bar.
The pub had three other customers just finishing their pints when I arrived and within five minutes, there was just me and three - yes three barmaids - plus the landlord and landlady. The boss was tilling up and the landlady sorting out some baked potatoes . The barmaids scurried about busily. It was a slightly surreal scene as I was completely ignored as if I was invisible, but not in a remotely unfriendly way. One barmaid served me twice. The only words exchanged were "£1.90 please" for my halves of beer. No warm East End welcome, but I didn't make any effort either, serenely content as I was, sipping excellent beer in my time capsule.
I liked it a lot. I'll be back and I'll make an effort to chat and hopefully too, I'll find it busier. I'm looking forward to it already.
It was a funny old day pubwise yesterday. More of that soon.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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