We’re unapologetically quite fond of beers at LitFest Towers, what with one of us doubling up as Beer Writer of the Year in 2010 and all.
We think we’re pretty unique amongst literary festivals to have 2 of our very own specially brewed beers available over the festival weekend. Redemption Brewery invited Liz from the festival and Emma from The Jolly Butchers up to their brewery in Tottenham to help them brew the first – a hoppy, malty summer ale. When we say ‘help them brew’ we actually mean ‘stand around a bit drinking coffee and eating bacon sandwiches’ but we like to think we left the important work to the experts. Brodie’s Beers in Leyton also stepped up to the mark and created a delicious brew.
We asked our Twitter and Facebook followers – a creative bunch – to come up with some literary inspired names which we’ll be announcing separately.
We’ll be selling those beers, some other bottled delights and some literary cocktails, thanks to our friends at Hendrick’s Gin in the Festival Bars at The Town Hall, Library Gallery and Abney Public Hall over the weekend, so do remember that by drinking any of these wonderful drinks, you’re in fact helping support the festival and raise money for literacy initiatives within Hackney. So do your duty – you know it makes sense.
Outside our own bars, there’s plenty else going on. We’re lucky to have a fabulous range of pubs in Stoke Newington, each with their unique personalities.
The Jolly Butchers has established itself as one of London’s most exciting craft beer & cider pubs in just over a year. Its burgers and duck fat chips are legendary and the range of draft and bottled beers are unsurpassed in N16.
The White Hart has one of the best – and biggest – beer gardens in London so if there’s a glimmer of sunshine next weekend, you may struggle to get a table, but do persevere.
The Rose & Crown, opposite the Town Hall, is another Stoke Newington stalwart and has some mighty fine boutique b&b rooms above it that are worth checking out when friends & families come to stay.
Ryan’s, host to our ‘Mystery Squid’ event on Friday evening is an unpretentious bar/ pub serving Thai food at reasonable prices, and Baby Bathhouse, home to some brilliant fringey events this year, is a dark little gem serving great cocktails in a fabulous atmosphere. If the weather is good, its garden is another hidden gem worth checking out.
The Lion is stylish, funky and, on Saturday 4th, home to some pub Shakespeare and its sister pub The Three Crowns is a stylish, funky bar serving great drinks and excellent food. The Drop, underneath the pub, will be hosting some excellent fiction and poetry over the weekend and is suitably dark and atmospheric for some interesting new discoveries.
If you’d rather a cup of tea and a piece of cake, again you’re spoiled for choice, with The Tea Rooms offering up one of the best cream teas this side of The Ritz in a light and airy café that’s expanded to meet the demand of Stoke Newington’s sweet-toothers. Homa, a reasonably recent addition to Church Street, wouldn’t look out of place in an interiors magazine and serves brunch, fantastic pizzas, salads and fine wines, as well as great coffee and if you’re going to the Fire & Knives food event, you might want to check out.
Lemon Monkey is also hosting some events over the weekend and is an eclectic, stylish mix of deli, café and meeting space, which has hosted our Curious Café book for about 2 months: a wonderful collection of doodles, musings and scribblings by locals.
Our range of restaurants covers a huge variety of cuisines, from Turkish to Thai, Japanese to tapas. Possibly the highest profile, by dint of its appearance as a runner up in Best Thai Restaruant in London on The F Word, is Yum Yum on Stoke Newington High Street, whose Rose Petal Martini we can highly recommend.
Last but not least is one of Stoke Newington’s best-established institutions, The Fox Reformed, about to notch its notoriety up even further when Steven Berkoff unveils a bust of Edgar Allen Poe on the site of the building where the great author studied as a child. Superb wines and a French-inspired menu, together with a clubby, intimate atmosphere make this a great stop-off for some literary down-time.
You really won’t be short of sustenance in Stoke Newington, so we hope you enjoy the bits in between events as much as the main programme itself.
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