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Little Driver, Bow

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user reviews of the Little Driver, Bow

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

My local, ok I'm a bit biased but I like it .

Tony is doing his best with it, the beer is good, the staff are good ... What's not to like
romfordir - 23 Apr 2017 00:21
Up in the area a couple of weeks back so popped in to the pub again. What a shame, seems to be going through very hard times, no food available and pretty poor service. Only London Pride on the pumps and run of the mill lagers etc. Its a beautiful old building which a few years ago was on the up but now seems going downhill. Unless things change I cannot see it being open that much longer. Ironically walking by the Bow Bells there were a few local who I recognised used to be in the Little Driver.
Clivers - 30 Apr 2015 15:00
Dropped in for a quick beer after being at Upton Park a couple of Wednesday’s ago.
This was only my 2nd ever visit with the 1st one being a few years back. On that occasion it was a Friday night and the pub was quite empty and the beer was just about drinakable.

On this visit the 3 pumps on the bar were only serving 1 beer which was Fullers London Pride, this was on 2 of the pumps and was priced @ £3.60 a pint but to be honest it didn’t taste that good.

The Little Driver is a lovely looking pub inside but it needs a fair bit of TLC there are still a few of the original features and with a bit of cash I’m sure this could be a really decent pub.

Good juke box & interesting locals, the ale just needs to taste better.

I have been in far worse pubs than this one.
lezford - 24 Nov 2014 13:59
Popped in for a pint last Friday after quite a while. Not sure what to make of the place these days, two bar staff both from eastern rapport with the few customers for a lunchtime. Was going to have lunch but no effort with menus etc so finished pint and left . Quite disappointed as a super pub with garden for the area.
Clivers - 15 Nov 2013 14:55
Shabby but in a warm and inviting way. It hasa real charm about it and the central bar really works. A friendly and chatty welcome on my last visit.
AlistairVonLion - 26 Oct 2013 16:59
Popped in for a quick pint yesterday. Never been here before and I have to say that I've found pubs in this area to be a bit hit and miss, usually miss.

On this occasion I was pleasantly surprised. A good pint of Green King IPA (London Pride too) at a respectable £2.80, mixed clientele and attentive staff.
twineyboy - 10 Jul 2013 03:46
Used to be my local till I moved out of the area. In my opinion the best pub in the Bow / Mile End area, especially after the current couple took it over in 2011. Very big inside and an amazing beer garden, a good range on tap too. Also a range of friendly locals and passers by who all get along fine. Food is top notch too, courtesy of Jeff the Chief, not sure if he still there now though mind. Oh and they also have a great Juke Box. Have some great personal memories in there too.
Serlo - 24 Jun 2013 14:19
My friends and myself are temporarily based in the area and have been using the Little Driver as our adopted local.
The pub may be ragged around the edges, but this just adds to the atmosphere. It is a good place to people watch from the corner, or to read a paper (Sun or Times equally welcome). A large range of beers and a real ale are on offer, together with a good food menu displayed on the wall (no food on Mondays).
The staff are welcoming and friendly.
seaeagle - 10 Aug 2012 12:45
Went for dinner last sunday and have to say, well worth it if your in the area. Nice size and price was resonable , unlike other near by pubs. Good service, will be back soon...
londoneast123 - 7 Sep 2011 19:17
Had a good couple of meals this week, both excellant value. Friendly and welcoming but sadly pub was quite empty on both times, including Sunday lunchtime.
Clivers - 5 Sep 2011 17:30
smashing pub excellant beer garden and the locals are friendly
eastendhammer - 16 Jul 2011 16:56
friendly staff--a few dodgy characters but pub is on the up-altho 3.20 for a fosters is dearer than the cardigan but cheaper than that dump the bow bells
mother123 - 15 Jun 2011 16:25
I have been going to the little driver for several years now & it certainly has it's ups & downs over the years. The new landlord & staff have really made the place now & finally have got the food sorted with a great new chef as far as sunday lunch is concerned.
It is very much a GAY FRIENDLY pub being gay myself & we have several local gay friends who pop in on occations. Most of the locals are extremely friendly but then again we have known them for sometime. There is also a great mix people from all walks of life who pop in & is a true east end boozer. As for the fabulous cats, well they are gone to a lovely home not far away & are very very happy. :-) the place does get very busy at times & the garden is just great in the summer. I would definately recommend popping in even though you may find it quiet on some days but usually the weekends are very busy.
andi2av - 17 Dec 2010 18:30
Back for another visit and sadly this will be the last unless things change. Seems to be catering for a few locals only now, very old style and certainly not offering anything like it used to under the former landlord. Its a shame as this was offering a great different style of venue for Bow. A jukebox has been installed so this means the atmosphere is now dependant upon those who pay for it. I can't see it lasting like this for very long as its just like any other run of the mill place, not worth visiting at all unless passing. Such a shame
Clivers - 28 Nov 2010 17:13
Very friendly service from the landlady, ok Sunday lunch. Positives are a great garden in the sun. As said before has seemingly taken a step back as a run of the mill place, not really offering anything spectacular now unless in the area.
Clivers - 10 Oct 2010 15:37
absolutly loved our time in here yesterday.

we were the first ones in at midday, so it was quiet, but the guy (who i presume was the landlord) was a true gent, and made us very welcome. the barmaid was also great and played along with our banter. great service. also the lager was fresh and clean, and a much trastier pint than we had from the (open very early) wetherspoons down in stepney.

the interior is a large open space and is a wonderfull example of a traditional pub, complete with huge painted mirror on one wall and period trimmings behing the bar.

excellent proper pub, will definatly be back when in the area.

CHELSEA_on_tour - 12 Sep 2010 11:52
Oh dear, back to the Little Driver for the first time in quite a while. The bar has been repainted in dreadful style...the front of the formerly polished wood bar as seen in the photos has now been painted over..Why?? The ceiling has been done in what looks the same colour losing the great atractive ceiling that once was there. Food seems to be bog standard basic pub grub, no menu available at tables, you have to look at tiny blackboards in one corner of the pub. Looks like its being run as just another local boozer with a bit of food. A real shame. Certainly wasn't perfect before but this is going much potential....will go back in a few weeks to see how things are going..
Clivers - 4 Sep 2010 18:47
Not been here for some time so pleasantly surprised to find it's as good as ever. Food fine, real ale fine. As the sign has been mentioned I would point out it's the wrong type of locomotive for the former Great Eastern. New management means that the cats have gone.
TiaMariaJim - 16 May 2010 11:03
Situated on the Bow Road, close to the underground station, The Little Driver retains the look and feel of a former Victorian pub that has been opened out and refurbished in a relatively sensitive manner.

High ceilings, Corinthian columns and large drape curtains give us a feel for what it must have been like in its Victorian days, when it was evidently a multi-roomed pub.

Some original bar fittings remain, but pride of place must go to the splendid Hoare's and Co brewery mirror on the right hand wall, one of the finest brewery mirrors that I can recollect seeing.

The pub sign depicts a train and, whilst I didn't see anything in the pub to give me a clue about the reason for this, a recent issue of London Drinker reveals that the pub began life as the waiting room for once what was Bow Road Station.

There's a large garden out at the back with some ranch -style seating booths.

Advertising itself externally as "under new management", it didn't appear obvious that it has only just reopened and previous recent openings indicate that the pub appears unchanged from what it was.

On the real ale front, there's 3 pumps and, on my recent early evening visit, 2 of them were dispensing Harveys Best and Spitfire - both at 2.80p. I didn't get the sense that there was much real ale trade ( or emphasis ) and I was pleasantly surprised at how good both pints were - and reasonably priced as well.

This isn't a pub to make a detour for, but it's worth dropping in if passing by.
JohnBonser - 7 May 2010 08:40
back open-still looks the same but new management appear friendlier and the beers are now moderately priced--ok but not terrific.
mother123 - 27 Apr 2010 11:29
The pub opened about a month ago, and is under new management. The staff are very friendly and the menu is much better than before. Looks like its back and better than ever! :-)
pubchap - 15 Apr 2010 13:02
Walked past today and there's frantic work going on - painting and general tidying up - looks like the Little Driver could be back soon!
timmy_p - 23 Feb 2010 20:33
Back in London today so though I would pop to the Little Driver.

Sadly the pub now appears to have closed down. There is a note in the window stating Closed due to a Pipe Burst and Flood, but from the look of the hanging baskets etc the pub may well have been closed for a while. Such a shame as this has to be a prime site for a proper pub with good sized garden in Bow.
Clivers - 28 Jan 2010 17:14
Lease has been sold to the pub; hope it stays a proper pub..who knows.
Clivers - 26 Oct 2009 19:07
This used to be a really nice friendly pub with good food. But is has been taken over by a miserable woman who is rude to customer and her staff. She even theartened to charge a customer for water when she asked for a second glass, although they were eating.
The menu has not changed much but the quality of the food has changed. It is such a shame i used to be a regular here but since the new mangament have taken over the atmosphere has changed and a lot of the regulars have stopped going.
TONSAI - 16 Oct 2009 15:40
Hey matchin, glad to see you like the pub....I think you will find the landlord is gay but runs a pub that is both straight and gay friendly...exactly what a decent pub should be......I hope to be up in London again soon to enjoy this delightful pub...Its a fantastic building so airy.
Clivers - 12 Sep 2009 20:08
Have now been in ... and, very surprising considering the location.

Love the 'airy' feel to it, lots of space. Was certainly not 'empty' mid-week evening, and quite busy enough for me.

Can't quite decide on the rainbow thing ... however there is a very cute barman now who I hope they keep on (even though it seemed like it was his first day behind a bar, if you know what I mean) as he is delightful! Will be returning because of him as much as anything. :)

Food ... only had one dish, and was even more surprised. Fresh, definatly, and even the side-salad was good (a good indicator of the care in the cuisine). Tasty, and not over priced either. That said, the drinks are a tad pricey (understatement) but I'm not opposed to paying a premium for gay-friendly pub right near my home. :))

Will be going here many more times i think!!

matchin - 10 Sep 2009 12:25

Walked past this pub a few times now. Looks real nice inside, will pop down soon I'm sure. However, uncertain on a small thing ... there's a rainbow in the window, and behind the bar. Is this actually a gay pub, or just gay friendly (like the rest of the country sometimes pretends to be)? Is there actually a gay customer base / reputation here?

Anyway, can't wait to try it out soon!

matchin - 9 Sep 2009 14:36
Now this, kittens, is a proper pub.
EsmeCleaver - 23 Jul 2009 11:16
Back in yesterday and the pub is just as good as before. I think there have been a few changes in staff but mainly because the leaseholder appears to have taken back control rather than having a employing a manager. Same bar staff when I went in, same chef and a reasonable number of customers. Even one of the cats was still in the bar. Little bit pricey for a pint but thats because of Enterprise Inns high pricing. Wonder if it is still up for sale?
Clivers - 11 Jul 2009 08:47
Shame about the comments from bowroaduk. This was a great pub with a lot of potential. Has it been sold on as I know it was up for sale.
Clivers - 18 Jun 2009 17:54
Sacked all their staff a week ago, discouraged the cats from being in the bar (which attracted a lot of postitive attention), seems to move from wanting a mixed young straight student/professional plus young gay crowd to God knows what? I note that the advertised Sunday jazz/barbeque has been cancelled and weekly quiz is not mentioned now. How to destroy something that was building up, despite all the difficulties east end pubs face! E3 ccried out for this sort of of mix and they've blown it.
bowroaduk - 16 Jun 2009 00:55
Great local pub, friendly staff and good grub especially the sunday roast.

TONSAI - 12 Jun 2009 15:15
A great friendly pub in Bow, Super staff and great food. They do a brilliant Sunday Roast. Good large garden and heated seating area, has. The pub also has two huge cats, which are well known, they sit on bar stools at the bar...
Clivers - 30 May 2009 13:24

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