After a substantial period of refurbishment, and quite a bit of speculation and expectation, The Bell opened the doors last night for what felt like an opening party.
It was a fun night, with a great atmosphere, probably helped by the fact that a lot of people there knew each other from Twitter. The landlord and bar staff were keen to say hello to people, and it was only when it got really packed that getting served at the bar took a few minutes. The kitchen isn’t open yet, but the bar laid on some free pork pies and sausage rolls, which was a nice touch (I’m not sure if there were vegetarian snacks too). In terms of ale, they had 8 hand pumps, with a few lagers and ciders on tap too. They also had what looked to be a decent wine selection.
It was a good use of the space, lots of tables, and an open fire. There was a pinball machine but no pool table, and a DJ spinning vinyl. There are lots of little details to iron out, but it definitely had the feel of a ‘nice pub in Stoke Newington’. That is not remotely to disparage it, I like nice pubs in Stoke Newington, and I personally don’t think any pubs in Walthamstow offer that, so it’s bringing something new. A worthy mention to the Rose & Crown too, who wished The Bell good luck on their opening night and popped down for a drink, which I thought was a nice gesture.
The opening night was fun. If they were a footballer, the big question would be “aah, but can they do it on a wet Tuesday in January?”. We look forward to seeing how the pub settles into the area over the coming weeks and months. You can keep up with developments on The Bell website and at @Bell_E17. There was also some discussion of the pub on our Facebook page. We look forward to our next visit.