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Dolphin, Hackney

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user reviews of the Dolphin, Hackney

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

If you live in these parts long enough you WILL end up in The Dolphin at 5am, drunk. It used to be on the cusp of being properly trendy with decent DJ's and wicker-thin fashion types, but somehow lost (or found?) its way, brought back the Karaoke and mild veil of threat. Staff never smile. However its one of the few places open late, everyone gets pissed and the mix of clientel is eclectic. The out door area is great in summer.
finestyle - 9 Jul 2010 18:30
Give this dark, dank-seeming place a chance and appreciate the beauty of the heritage Victorian interior. A lovely little haven, deserves to be more popular.
Greshon - 25 Nov 2009 14:48
basic as they come in terms of service and product - staff are not the freindliest unless you local and a bit rough n ready, Punters a strange mix but ok

i stumbled out very late and doubt id go back in sober !
mikeh1 - 1 Oct 2009 18:48
A real shame, this one. As stated used to be a rather cool place to come a number of years ago and hang out until the wee hours when there was no such thing as 24h licences, but has gone downhill since. How can you ever rate a pub that delibrately turns OFF pints at a certain point and will only sell wildly expensive bottles? It really does smell strange to boot. Also now seems to be full of complete wangers (maybe it always was?).

Only recommended if your already really rather drunk, wish to carry on drinking something, ANYTHING, and dont mind paying a bouncer to get into a pub. Oh, and it does have a great outdoors bit for those rare barmy summers nights in which to watch the sunrise and pretend your in Ibiza. I give it that.
PissedMonkey - 10 Jun 2009 12:50
Rough pub in Hackney - worth a look for the interesting interior but the regulars and the atmosphere leave a lot to be desired. No real ale. Miss rather than hit.
Spodgey - 25 May 2009 10:05
Possibly had the best shot down ever delivered to me by the barmaid who never smiles...
me; So where you from?
Her; North.
me; so you having a good night?
Her; (Shrugs).
me; what time do you finish?
Her; Look are we done here? Good.

Was in the Dolphin last night, again...and will be in there Sunday, until 5am, again.

This pub is ruining my career, my wallet, my dignity, and my life.

Only visit the Dolphin if you are willing to sacrifice all of the above.

Perfect mix of sluts, junkies, hackneyites, builders, students, locals and thieves.
dameoisdone - 1 Jan 2009 23:52
It's used to be something but now it's a spill on for c grade celebs/Channel 4 presenters and usual coke heads. The toilets stink and I have seen a cockroach on the floor. Where there's one....
guyguy - 15 Aug 2008 15:02
The Dolphin used to be rough -- the first time I went there a scamster ripped me off 2. Then it got good -- open late and great karaoke and brilliant winner stays on pool and people generally celebrating their love of life. Then it got too popular and now it sucks. The landlord who used the be nice and give me and my sister free half pints has gone a bit megalomaniac and hired mean bouncers, started charging in and built the totally inappropriate Dolphin wine bar and restaurant next door, which is bound to be a disaster. The beer tastes dirty, and one of the staff told me in another pub near by that they never clean the pipes and that's why. Since the smoking ban the pool table room stinks of piss masked by bleach. Another mean thing is that when it's open late they stop serving pints and only serve bottles, which are stupid overpriced. The motto is 'legends stand alone', and it is a Hackney institution, but now I leave it alone.
isa953 - 1 Jun 2008 20:44
oh and advertising a double vodka redbull for 7.20- seriously get a grip
bowhammer - 9 Dec 2007 22:34
I'm not a cheapskate, but 3.10 for a pint of carlsberg is daylight robbery. especially in a dump like hackney. the pub is ok, there is alot better around. I won't be going again purely becuase a pub is suppose to be a home from home and being ripped off is something i get from tower hamlets council, not something i want in a boozer
bowhammer - 9 Dec 2007 22:33
Karaoke was Japan's revenge for Hiroshima and Nagasaki: a bit of an excessive reaction in my book...
On the nights when the ear-ache machines aren't there {Monday and Tuesday] the place is more or less tolerable, if you're desperate for a late pint, after everywhere nicer has shut... all the same, if you've got the energy, you'd be better of getting the bus down to Charlie Wright's...
M.O.G. - 30 May 2007 16:20
Don't bother can't get a drink cos it was rammers and they make you pay 3 to get into an already full pub asked for me money back and was shoved by the bouncer, the bloke takingmoney was holding a fist full of notes and said that he didn't think it was full inside smarmy git he managed to get about 30 of us lot last night and we stayed in there for about 5 mins nice work if you can get it they are having a right laugh at those Hackney try hards shame cos the inside looked amazing give it back to the scagheads!!!!
anonymous - 20 May 2007 12:04
Oh dear. The vietnamese mafia on the pool table, the overwhleming smell of ciggies and weed - welcome to the Dolphin. Most of the locals look emaciated like they've been on skag for the best parts of their lives so they look 46 but are probably in their teens. Beer is lousy, in an area which suggests this could be your last beer before the grim reaper taps you on the shoulder and says 'Come along now - time to play in the estate with the bad kids...'

It'd be easy to say I hate this place. But I don't. And here's why.

The pub itself does not pretend to be anything it isn't. It's a boozer. With beer. And Kareoke. And a pool table that while joking aside is occupied by some of the best vietnamese players you'll see who may be interested in a little hustle here and there.

So if you're intending to meet your maker, the least you can do is play some pool, stay til 2am on most nights, and then go and play in the estate with the bad kids.....
rampantwurzel - 15 May 2007 15:30
They like to pack you in on a weekend. Hope they never have to evacuate. So if you like to be crushed and have rude people push their way around, then this is your pub.
anonymous - 14 May 2007 11:01
Well worth a late night visit. This place is rarely dull.
lighterthief - 27 Sep 2006 22:10
Rockin' boozer with varied clientele, a plethora of tv screens, amazing tiled walls, thread-bare cushion covered stalls...in short a pub with character. In the new age of relaxed licensing laws, you have the added bonus that it never seems to close! Well, maybe I'm a lightweight but I've never *had* to leave because it's closing but staying open to 4am on Fri/Sat nights seens to be the norm for those of a thirsty disposition.

A popular karaoke night (although best taken in irregular doses) and good djs on others (laptop, vinyl & cds) means it tends to become rammed when other places have closed for those stumbling home, drawn like a moth to flame for that proverbial 'one last drink'...

There's a couple of downsides, no real ale (presumably because it's too much trouble to keep, like alot of other places) and only the usual mass produced lager shite, which, shall we say, has a variable consitution at times. Stick to the Guinness and you won't be disappointed but don't expect anything if you taste buds demand more exotic alcohol beverages.
2drunk2care - 21 Jun 2006 19:05
the manager is horrible if she is still there.
it was really good wen caz was doing karaoke in there.
drumandmonkeyfan - 22 Mar 2006 16:31
cracker! roman mosiac on the wall on the right as you go in. Get the time team down!
sollish - 19 Oct 2005 17:20
Could be a dying breed of pub if the reports of even Hackney becoming gentrified are true. Before the Hoxton wave crashes onto Mare Street and you're knee deep in ipods and organic fennel go to the Dolphin (and drink Guinness)
redrocket - 10 Aug 2005 19:55
One of the best pubs in Hackney! Definately worth a visit!
Sarah Jones - 10 Nov 2004 12:30
The Dolphin is a pub and a half. At any one time you are likely to have any and all of the following in there - local Vietnamese in playing pool for too much cash whilst waiting on losing bets on the ponies in the bookies next door, dusty Irish labourers pissing it all up the wall (... increasingly on orange and lemonade as the livers have packed in), crusty Hackney posse celebrating ... anything really and other lost souls in the Hackney area (including the truly lost who wonder wht the feck they have just wandered into).

The ents are good - anything from chill-out DJs to one-man Irish bands on a Sunday afternoon. Shows sports and used to be dominated by gaelic football and hurling.

Has recently changed hands and thankfully (though they do serve a purpose) it didn't follow the recent Hackney trend of trying to become this months gastro experience. The 'upgrade' of plastic palm trees was instead inspired.

Occasional lock-ins, food in the form of nutrient rich crisps and nuts (what more does a pub need these days!) and a huge (but okay) barking dog that seems to have transferred with the pub.

The decor is truly amazing and if it isn't listed it should be - beautiful tilled walls on both sides of the two bars.

The beer is okay (Guiness is good) though make sure to check date labels on some of the soft drinks ...

If you want a pub with a great selection of beers, where you know what you are going to get before you go through the doors and where you'll be able see yourself in almost every other person in there ... then don't go to the Dolphin.

ps - don't go to the bogs if a strong smell of p*** offends.
Blackboru - 1 Mar 2004 13:59

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