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Birkbeck Tavern, Leyton

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user reviews of the Birkbeck Tavern, Leyton

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

An absolute classic. There aren''t many left like this gem. The beer garden is amazing. Go and see for yourself what I mean. 9/10
strangetorpor - 10 Sep 2017 17:57
I went in before a football match - maybe a bit too long before as it was almost empty but it did start to fill up.
Pretty basic boozer with 2 real ales on in fair nick and TV screens showing live football.
No frills
boblarkin - 14 Feb 2016 18:05
The archetypal London boozer. When you approach this pub and then step inside you know you are in a classic. Wonderful high ceilings and traditional unashamed Victoriana throughout. A giant wooden dart suspended above the oche! Several ales available and friendly staff. I gather this pub is registered as an Asset of Community Value, and as somebody who has been involved in campaigning I can see how it would be that kind of pub. Very much a community boozer but outsiders such as myself were still more than welcome. This is what London pubs are all about.
Richard_ReadingFC - 4 Nov 2015 10:49
Came in here on a Monday night. No food which was a little bit disappointing but the beer was in very condition, the barman a nice bloke with good taste in music, and the other locals no bother at all.

I am very happy to be less than a ten minute walk to this place - all the other pubs in the locale are mediocre at best. Looking forward to the next visit and to trying the food.

This is what local pubs are about and why it's important to use them or lose them.
supping_solicitor - 8 Jun 2015 22:41
Great backstreet boozer, with a lovely beer garden. Seemed to have a decent ale selection and they serve food, which, while I didn't eat, looked good from what I saw others eating.

Like the previous poster, I don't see this making a top-20 list in London, much less the UK, but its a great pub all the same and well worth a visit.
irishdrinker79 - 20 Apr 2015 12:38
After seeing this one regularly appearing in the list of top 20 pubs on B.I.T.E I took the bus down the Leyton High Road to check this one out and found the Birkbeck still functioning as a solid community local under the new ownership.
A good ‘old school’ interior with two high ceilinged rooms either side of the central bar with plenty of original fittings inside the original Charringtons pub skin.
Four ales were available across the pumps and these were Junction and Wandle from Sambrook’s , Mighty Oak Maldon Gold and something badged as Rita’s Special which on enquiring was informed was actually Courage Best. I’m sorry but Courage best and ‘Special’ in the same sentence is definitely an Oxymoron in my book. Fortunately The Maldon Gold was in excellent condition.
Probably didn’t see this one at its best as there were very few in for my early Saturday evening visit and the beer choice was good enough but not inspiring. But still very good to find this traditional East End boozer functioning as one.
As for being one of the top 20 pubs in the county, not by a long chalk. But that says more about B.I.T.E as a credible pub review site than it does about the Birkbeck.

Gann - 22 Dec 2014 15:05
I thoroughly recommend this pub, a good old fashioned East End Boozer with a good selection of ales, friendly locals and a good atmosphere. I was here last year and loved the pool room with the boxing pics and memorabilia. Worth a detour if you are in the area.
scarr - 12 Aug 2014 21:18
I can report that the Birkbeck now has a new manager who has a particular passion for Ales, Ciders, and good music. He is continuing with the theme of stocking ales from local and small independent brewers that include, Mighty Oak, Cottage, Trumans, and of course Rita's. And there's nothing better than spending a summers day in the gem of a garden. Come and see and try for yourself!
gethim73 - 10 Jul 2014 10:31
The worst landlady and bar staff I have ever come across!
Ordered three pints of Clarke's Classic Blonde, all of which came up completely cloudy. On querying it the barmaid said it was a new barrel and perfectly ok and that as a real ale drinker I should know that! The landlady then confirmed that the beers were fine and that they wouldn't change them (even though I hadn't asked for them to be changed).
I can only ask fellow real ale fans to boycott this establishment which has gone down dramatically in recent times.
Tfh136 - 30 Nov 2013 23:45
2nd pub of the day after having had a few fair in the Coppermill we moved on by cab to the Birkbeck.

This is a huge pub with an equally massive garden. Food was being served in the garden by way of a bar b q that was being tended to by the landlord.

7 ales on draught, the many pints of Mighty Oak's Brockton Blockbuster I had were very good.

Karaoke started around 8pm and even though I was in the garden for the whole time you could here the music but it didn't drown you.

This pub must have one of the friendliest landlords I have come across in a long while.

All in all a top pub, good atmosphere, great beer and good quality food to boot.
lezford - 10 Jun 2013 15:38
The Birkbeck is easily the best pub in Leyton, an area which is strangely lacking in good pubs. It has one of the best beer gardens I have seen in London and serves a great selection of drinks.

My wife, daughter and I pop in for a drink regularly and find the venue extremely friendly. Although I enjoyed the pub when 'What's cooking' was hosted there, the new landlord and lady seem to have a much better focus and grasp on how to run a pub, rather than a semi-private music venue.

Beers are a great price, there are regular changes of 3 guest ales and the pub has a fantastic atmosphere. What more could you want?
Limeguy - 1 May 2013 16:41
I decided to visit this excellent pub following some reports in the internet, prior to which I never knew existed, as it is an out-of-the-way location.

I understand that it has been bought by another pub company who plan to retain it as a community pub, so it's once uncertain future has now been secured.

My visit to the Birkbeck Tavern was an excellent and enjoyable one, the pub has lots to offer despite it's location behind Leyton tube station, and across from St Patrick's cemetery.

The two bars are in need of a little makeover as the décor and furnishings are a little dated-but clean.

There is also a little area between the two bars which houses the pool table and also one of the sets of the pub toilets.

the other sets of toilets are at the end of the main bar either side of a feature fireplace and staircase to the function hall upstairs.

There is also a digital Jukebox on the wall behind the staircase facing the bar.

The bar staff and regulars are all a friendly bunch, and there is never any trouble.

One of the pub's best facilities is it's well kept beer garden, there seems to be regular live music and a lot of charitable events.

I enjoyed my visit so much ,that I promised the staff and regulars that I would do all that I could,to promote the pub, that's why I am writing this comment.

The Birkbeck Tavern is one of Leyton's best kept secrets, but to get there turn left out of Leyton tube station, walk a little down the street,you will come to a set of steps on your left, go down these, at the bottom turn left, and follow the road around, after a couple of hundred yards, you will come to the junction of Langthorne road on your right(The Birkbeck Tavern will be visible on the left hand side about 100 yards up, walk up Langthorne road,after 100 yards you will have arrived at the Birkbeck Tavern.


pabanks49 - 21 Apr 2013 14:42
@Alex11393 - I don't think that the pub itself was struggling, it's that the company who owned it (and others) were.

anyway, it seems to have been purchased to be kept as a pub - anyone know who the new owners are? hopefully won't get a distressed Red Lion style interior (which was probably an improvement on Zulus in that case, but would be a shame with the Birkbeck)
lord_emsworth - 23 Nov 2012 12:52
I visited this summer and stumbled upon it by pure chance. I had a butchers over the back wall and felt complelled to go in.

It's a trad Charrington frontage and looks like a classicly maintained East End boozer and going inside doesn't disappoint either. The decor is old in a shabby-chic intentional way but looks really tidy and the two bars give two pleasant environments. The staff were super friendly as were the two punters I spent ages chatting to at the bar. I only drank lager and wine so can't comment on the ales but the prices were very cheap and the lager a tasty pint.

The garden is worth seeing and I can easily say the best London pub beer garden I've ever been in. It's the kind of set up I'd expect in the gardens at Buckingham Palace.

It also looks like a well used community venue with posters advertising a weekley quiz and what appeared to be live music most nights of the week. I would imagine it also gets very busy when Orient are at home.

I read from other reviews that the pub has been sold. It would be a crying shame if it's closed and turned into flats as so many traditional staples of the community are closing and this is certainly one worth keeping.

It's well out of my way but I would travel to visit this hidden gem.

Keep Right On!


AlistairVonLion - 19 Oct 2012 11:43
Great pub, out of the way location, which is probably partly why it's struggling. Really nice ales and a good selection, outstanding beer garden.
Alex11393 - 8 Oct 2012 16:19
A brilliant pub ,real ales , friendly ,great for live music, wonderful garden , hope it stays that way
panna70 - 4 Oct 2012 17:30
sold now...or at least deal ongoing. cant find out if itd developers or a new operator so if its your local you need to check this out or you could find yourself with no pub !
georgesmiley - 3 Oct 2012 16:13
hasn't actually been sold yet. bids had to be in today. some of the potential buyers do want to run it as a pub. your time might be better directed at persuading the administrators (previous company well belly up) that they will get a quicker sale to an operator rather than a developer . otherwise i agree with you. while many pubs have had their day and should be put to better use this is not one of them. its a perfectly viable business and should not be closed
georgesmiley - 21 Aug 2012 17:17
As ell has said, SIGN THE PETITION. This is the only pub with any merit near Leyton Station and is also a great example of an unspoilt Charrington's exterior. It is currently up for sale on the Fleuret's web site (along with the Waltham Oak in Lea Bridge Road and the Pig and Whistle in Wood Street).

This is the one worth saving!


THE_SABBATICAL_GOAT - 16 Aug 2012 23:54
A proper East London boozer, with friendly staff and a few characters. Some of locals seem to be interested in the racing on the TV when I was there on a Saturday afternoon, they take it very seriously with copies of the Racing Post being read. 80s music being played not too instrusively on the jukebox. There's a function room upstairs. About 4 real ales on, all in good condition, recommended.
Abteilung - 22 Jul 2012 23:26
Great pub that just got better with the new management. Cheers!

Really friendly east London boozer. Great place to read a paper in the day, plenty of low key stuff going on by night.
crowcrow - 10 Jan 2012 14:04
A pub that was always good has just got even better. One of the best pubs in London to watch music, with two or three gigs every week (check out whatscookin.co.uk), but if you just want to enjoy a drink and relaxing unpretentious pub you can do that too. The staff are friendly, treating you well whether you are a local or just there for the bands. Although there isn't a huge real ale selection, what is on is good, and changes regularly. There is an ever improving choice now of good boozers in Leyton, Leytonstone and Walthamstow, each with their own character and attraction. The Birkbeck is right up there.
JimE17 - 8 Dec 2011 10:57
fantastic pub being ran now by steve and ali,live music many nights and a good selection of real ales.
doirelass - 28 Nov 2011 18:46
About to become even better, as it's being taken over by the fine folks who've been running the excellent What's Cookin music nights in various local pubs for the past 8-odd years. So good music as well as good beer will be on the menu from now on!
E17Bee - 5 Sep 2011 21:40
On our visit yesterday two real ales on , both in top condition. Sat out and enjoyed them in what must be one of the nicest pub gardens in London.
Alfnoax - 6 Aug 2011 10:54
only use this on match days,and a real gem it is.Even when packed the bar staff are able to tend to everyone without much trouble.Welcoming to away supporters as well,not wanting to sound like a old hippy,but a nice vibe....
countyjim - 12 Mar 2011 11:11
A very clean pub with well kept real beers. Pleasant, friendly staff (including the guv'nor) and regulars make this a great pub for a drink with just the right amount of livliness. A brilliant find and I'll be back.
wrichard - 6 Mar 2011 18:54
great find tucked away behind leyton tube station excellent garden not an outdoor drinking area four real ales on best part of the day for me since my football team got stuffed 3 0 by leyton orient
tucks - 29 Aug 2010 11:59
An oasis in the desert surrounding the tube station. Garden is excellent so very much one for the summer months.
Airwolf - 15 Feb 2010 12:10
We were left slightly disappointed with this pub. The exterior looks promising. But the interior is a touch dated and the regulars all appeared a little subdued. 3 real ales were available - Traditional Scottish Ales Silver Mist, Cottage Talisman and Rita's Special. None were in particularly good condition.
blue_scrumpy - 21 Dec 2009 15:53
Visited this pub prior to Leyton Orient Vs Saints at the weekend, smashing little pub off the beaten track with a great garden. Friendly staff & a decent pint. Will certainly visit again the next time we are playing Orient.
saints_is_the_south - 2 Nov 2009 10:27
Second stop on a mini tour of my old manor before heading to the Matchroom Stadium to see the mighty Us take 3 points off Leyton Orient on 10 October 2009. Cant have visited here for 15-20 years and it change of owners apart it was exactly the same. Good selection of ales, friendly clientele and staff, lovely beer garden though I thought you could see into the cemetery previously. Excellent ales, I tasted the Slaters Top Totty - superb and we drunk them dry. Maldon Gold ok it may be an Essex ale but it is a great drink and it was magnificent here. Also tried the Weltons which again was top notch and one other. Minor gripe was the barmaid served a couple of seriously short pints, other than that Im mystified as to why this pub isnt in the CAMRA guide. 7/10
Monkdawallydahonk - 12 Oct 2009 12:22
Check out the nutcase who sits in here with headphones on all night, mad as a March hare
offthewagon07 - 22 Jan 2009 21:30
Decent backstreet pub in an area that lacks decent pubs. A friendly welcome and well-kept real ales. Well worth a visit.
wobblybob - 12 Nov 2008 21:31
A fantastic pub in an area almost desert-like for otherdecent boozers. Yes, it's a Sports type pub and YES the Saturday's and mid weeks do tend to attract the Leyton Orient fans and a lot of away fans but the place has good, well served ales with a several selections - Rita's Special being exactly that, special but what happened to her namesake I don't know or why she got a brew named after her? Anyway, the friendly ladies behind the bar were great with their service and the sunshine and beer garden out back made the afternoon incredibly pleasurable and a place I will return. If you go, have a look at the building itself - it's almost unique and a lovely looking building.
Mcloj - 26 Aug 2008 10:44
Still a real standout in this area, though there's zero competition for a couple of miles. The pub was packed with friendly, older Leyton Orient fans, local lads and a few Guardian-reader types. Three handpumps with decently kept, though not excellent ales. The management seem to have sorted out the multimedia soundclash they used to have - footy was on the plasma telly but the sound was off.
Albert_Campion - 11 Mar 2008 20:57
Lovely pub. How can such a beautiful place serving great beer be in such a dreadful surrounding area?

One pub worth travelling for!
offthewagon07 - 27 Nov 2007 20:09
Always quiet when I go in on my own on the way back from work. A little dowdy, but nice folk behind the bar, good beer, a wonderful garden and a pool table and darts if you like that sort of thing.

Not the most scintillating of pubs, but the best thing this side of the Edward VII in Stratford - everything else around here is a bag of sh**e
ghostwheel - 25 Oct 2007 18:51
Frienly crowd & good range of beers ,nice beer garden . Great place to celebrate when Leyton Orient win .
aylesburyos - 19 Aug 2007 13:54
Excellent selection of ales, nice garden, friendly Orient fans, well worth seeking out.
theoriginalbeermunkeh - 26 May 2007 16:26
Good Friendly crowd, real ales on tap, not much in the way of enterniment, but worth a look anyway!!! Very much so a Leyton Orient pub!!!
sallis - 10 Mar 2007 20:39
Returned after a six-month absence and found a friday night Mixture of real ale fans and young demi-chavs. 'Rita's Special' on our visit was lovely, though it hasn't always been the case in the past. They had all the TVs turned off, too - a bit of a novelty. I think i'll be back again soon.
Albert_Campion - 24 Nov 2006 23:23
Can get a bit crowded before and after Orient play, but they don't mind away fans which makes a nice change! Huge outdoors area for the summer, and occasionally some attractive bar staff... though they might not speak English which can be a problem when asking for beers with silly names! Worth a visit if you're in the area for sure!
drunkmarv - 14 Nov 2006 10:28
One house beer and three ever changing guest ales from the likes of Mighty Oak, Archers and other micros. The beer is usually excellent, though I've had occasions where the condition hasn't been 100 per cent perfect and in summer it can be warm, especially the first couple of pints. Worth a visit though.
Ginger_Beard - 14 Oct 2006 16:04
A surprising find down an unpromising residential street. Packed out on a Saturday night; very popular. Nice back garden when weather permits. Toilets need refurbishing! No food spotted (apart from a couple of baps) but four real ales available. Just a pity they all tasted the same!
Trev - 13 Aug 2006 14:09
Was in sunday afternoon for a couple of beers on the way home. When I left, the pub had Rugby, football, the jukebox AND Songs Of Praise on at the same time!
Albert_Campion - 14 Feb 2006 17:26
An absolute Gem, Excellent Beer Excellent Bar staff and full of Leyton Orient fans what more could you ask for
anonymous - 9 Feb 2006 00:40
Really nice pub. Good beer, good staff, friendly to Leyton Orient and visiting football fans. A bit out of the way but well worth looking for.
patrickjsm - 29 Dec 2005 18:30
Great back street London boozer of the type that's rapidly vanishing. Nice old interior, too, with three rooms, and a large well kept garden. Lots of real ales that change frequently. If I had to be picky, I'd say it can be a little annoying if they have the jukebox AND the TV on at the same time. Otherwise there's not much to fault this... a gem and the best pub in Leyton by a country mile.
Albert_Campion - 16 Dec 2005 17:05
Brilliant pub in Leyton backstreets (you won't find it by accident) serving good range of guest beers to mix of locals and, on match days, a mix of home and away fans (never yet seen trouble). Warm, welcoming, unpretentious, basically everything a pub should be. Plus, last time I was in there, a beer company rep was dishing out a free beer to everyone.
pablos13 - 22 Sep 2005 08:15
On a hot and sweaty Sunday evening this pub's garden is a gem. Three ales and all in good condition. Nice place and only a short walk from Leyton station.
M.Sticker - 20 Jun 2005 15:19
Timbo's Bow and Arrow Chinese outside for easy post-piss up food requirements.
Come one you O's 2 points from top of the league. Ray F is a top bannana.....
Barry Diggins - 26 Oct 2004 10:22
Excellent pub that has a nice mix of people. Good beers and decent prices.
New to leyton - 24 Oct 2004 15:52
Great pub. Orient fans drink here before and after matches - no trouble though - friendly atmosphere, excellent landlord. Only downside is that it gets quite smoky unless doors are open.
Bob the Builder - 20 Aug 2004 23:01
Excellent pub - a backstreet local like they used to be (and still should be) - top real beers, welcoming - and I only live 10mins walk from it!
Jez - 20 Aug 2004 11:34
Easily the best pub in Leyton. guest beers have recently increased to three in number and always in excellent condition. Good crowd of regulars - highly recommended in you are in the area.
Stephen Harris - 5 May 2004 21:17
A fine establishment seemed friendly enough. A large red wine came in a pint glass almost full to the top, not bad value. Toilets 2 star.
effzed - 1 Mar 2004 15:36
Excellent range of real ales. Tends to attract a slightly eccentric yet authodox non-conformist conforming not to conform twenty something Urban 75 types. Beutifull building, faultless beer (occasional annoying ex-student radicals) convenient for the Tube stop - definately worth a look.
anonymous - 11 Jul 2003 20:37
A great local, with a choice of real ales (the only place in Leyton to do so), snack food including pickled eggs (rolls at lunchtime but no real meals), and a lively local crowd which includes policemen after shifts, though they keep themselves to themselves. Darts and pool, and a nice back garden.

Function room upstairs is used by the Masons and other groups, but can be hired at other times.

It's a local rather than a tourist pub and it's fantastic.
Flash Wilson - www.gorge.org - 10 Jul 2003 17:00

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