Opening night for The Bell

November 2, 2012 8:10 am

Photo of The Bell opening night

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.

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  • Excellent write up Nick, spot on. I was at the Bell Fri night and sitting by the window it was funny to see so many passers-by staring in with an expression of ‘what are all those people doing in there?!’ Certainly about time this large space had this amount of people filling it again. Time will tell on those wet Tuesdays in January.

    Next up is the Chequers and I think the locations of both these pubs are perfect for an uplift in the evening economy, being at prominant sites with a potential influence on neighbouring businesses. Pubs can work better when in clusters with the ‘let’s start at this one and move onto that one later’ crawls (as happened last night when a group of Bell peeps I was with finished up at the Rose).

    Also interesting seeing some old Bell regulars in there, possibly looking for a non-existant pool table or pint of Carling on tap. Where do all the youth go for drinks in E17? Anyway, an excellent addition to local pub provision and safe to say I think that there’s now pretty much a pub for every taste in the area.

  • Popped in on Sunday afternoon, delighted to see this lovely building is open again. I don’t think I’ll be going back on a Sunday; the pub was essentially a crèche that happens to sell beer. There were literally dozens of toddlers haring round, making the trip to the bar and back quite hazardous! will try again praps on a Friday, post kids’ bedtime!

    • If you require a ‘childfree’ pub then why doesn’t the last writer travel up to the Village – theres a cat loving child hating pub with a multitude of stay away kids signs outside.
      I want to congratulate The Bell in opening its doors to people like me who will frequent at least 4/5 times a week, who live close by, ( will be my local now), who is a professional and likes to spend a penny or two on beer and who happens to have well behaved kids and friends with kids. I get sick to the bone of kid haters in pubs. pubs should be accessible to families – we will be the ones who go to the Bell for a meal over the weekend and a sunday Roast. I infact think that they should start games afternooons – noughts nad crosses ( floor ones) connect 4 – snakes and ladders – and really continue to bring a pub alive again that icludes everyone.
      well done to The Bell….and poor attitude to the man-who-hates-kids above. Don’t maon – just perch ya bum someplace else !

  • opps – women !

  • Ahh the Kid debate. I think the Bell has it just about right at the moment – i.e. no kids after 8 pm (I think) but I understand where Sue is coming from, presumably wanting a relaxing quiet pint – this is pretty much the basic requirement for any good pub. Incidentally, Mel says that Sue is a kid hater – that is an unfair deduction. I am not a kid hater but I find the suggestion of noughts and crosses and snakes and ladders on the floor to be ridiculous. Personally I would love to see a dart board put up for the adults to enjoy. Or a bar billiards table.

    The pub itself – I really enjoyed the local beers (Redemption and ELB) on tap. I’m sure Brodies will get a look in too. If I was to be really demanding I’d ask for a nice kegged beer too – perhaps a locally brewed lager or an American style beer (something from The Kernel brewery for example). I’d even sacrifice one of the hand pumps for this. I really like the decor and am looking forward to when the food starts. Thanks for giving me another good local to choose from.

    • Agreed – my kids are normally in bed asleep by 7-7.30 so allowing them till 8 is very good gesture especially if we had a family birthday meal there or a Christmas drink with family anf friends. My point to the lady far above – Sue is that rather than moan about a couple of kids by the bar she can go to a pub just around the corner who ‘doesn’t ‘ welcome children and where she will not feel she is being disturbed and then won’t feel the need to come on here and be so negative !
      Loads of pubs in north London have ‘games’. Chess and card nights ( for adults of course ) I would love the back room to hold a weekly game of poker :)

  • Went in last Thursday (after kids hours, natch) and I think the reviewer has it spot on with the ‘nice pub in Stoke Newington’ line. I espied one bloke in an ostentatious hat, and several tidy beards, so clearly there’s room for a little bit of Stokey down our way.

    I could have done without the generic bass-heavy musak they were playing, but you’d certainly get the same in a nice pub in Stokey, so what do I know? Maybe people like it.

    The beer was conspicuously well kept, and the staff were friendly. Would have sampled a scotch egg, but they’d sold out!

    Overall, a decent experience. Though we moved on to the Rose and Crown after a while, and all agreed that the latter has a certain something the Bell doesn’t. Soul, maybe. And evil smelling toilets.

    On a related note, there seems to be a massive debate about children in pubs going on around here. Is this a unique Walthamstow thing?

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