User name:



Sign in with Facebook

Not already a member?
Join our community and - Rate & review pubs - Upload pictures - Add events JOIN for free NOW

Chat about:
Pub annoyances #834 with Spinko on the Pub Forum

The Crooked Billet, Clapton, E5

84 Upper Clapton Road
E5 9JP

Return to pub summary

Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about The Crooked Billet

Dating from the early 18th century but rebuilt in the '50s, probably as a result of bombing, for Mann's later Watney's.
A first in here the other night, not passed since I photographed it almost exactly 10 years ago to the day. Then it was a bit scruffy and edgy, but has now been hipsterfied to accommodate incomers, with the application of a grey/green paint scheme, probably best described as 'wasabi'. Inside and there's much wood panelling in what essentially is a fairly large opened-out, U-shaped room. The floor is modern bare boarded and furniture is traditional with some studded banquettes to the perimeter. Lighting comes from tassel-shaded chandeliers and matching sconce lights with oversized hanging metal shades over the bar; out back there's a very large beer patio, rammed with young hipster types. Music played what is best described as easy listening though quite loud. I couldn't explore the pub due to plague protocols, but had a clear view over it as I was the only indoor customer; overall, the pub seems quite smart and well maintained.
The place was plagued with the curse of ordering over the internet, the website accessed via a QR code. I couldn't pay via this method, preferring Apple Pay so as to leave my card at home. The waitress couldn't really comprehend this so took my order for a pint of Five Points Best before delivering tray after tray of drinks to the garden, customers in effect paying in advance before being placed in a holding pattern like an airliner; was I going to be next in the queue or fiftieth? I decided to walk, hence the automatic '1'. I know these aren't normal times, but The Clapton Hart down the road has greater customer capacity but with table service rather than QR, meaning that when your order is taken, you know your drink is up next and won't arrive after an utterly indeterminate period. When normality returns this may be a decent place for those living locally, but otherwise it's an absolute slog to get here, so I don't envisage a return visit.

On 18th July 2021 - rating: 1
[User has posted 1918 recommendations about 1885 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Crooked Billet

This is a typical roadside pub with a large open plan interior converted from what was clearly once a multi-roomed interior. This means there is now a very large servery in the centre of the room with the majority of the bar facing the rear of the room. The bar counter ahs a pleasant panelled counter and a modified, pump clip lined bar back which reflects the loss of the original through the opening out of the room. Two almost identical seating areas can be found to either side of the bar, both with a mix of check tiles and bare boarded floors and high panelled or exposed brick walls. Seating comes mainly in the form of dining tables and smart chairs but there are also some button backed banquettes and the odd armchair which ups the comfort factor somewhat. There are nice fireplaces on opposing walls and the decor throughout includes a lot of religious imagery, deer skulls, blackboards listing wine and food options and several TV screens, all of which were off during my visit, favouring a really good alternative rock soundtrack instead. A very large patio garden can be found through doors to the rear, offering lots of al fresco seating, much of which is under shelter. There is a bar out here and a small shack was dishing out toasted sandwiches for those not wanting a full meal off the menu. Kids were running amok outside so I stayed in the bar area and enjoyed the excellent music they were playing.
There were four beers on when I arrived – Dark Star American Brown, Trumans Zephyr, Signature Brew Roadie and something from Fixed Wheel which sputtered out as the pint I’d ordered was being poured. The barman generously offered me the ¾ of a pint he’d managed to get out for free, but it looked dreadful so I declined and enjoyed a lovely drop of the Roadie for £4.00 instead.
This is a large pub that seems able to serve a reasonably wide demographic, from the barflies lined up along the bar counter to the young families taking over the garden, everyone seemed to happily co-exist thanks to the space the pub affords – quite how this all works out on a cold, wet day when everyone is forced indoors remains to be seen, but I found somewhere comfortable to settle down and enjoyed my time here.

On 1st October 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3093 recommendations about 3093 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Thuck Phat left this review about The Crooked Billet

A large, hollowed out, 1930's I'd guess boozer with a central bar and large outside area.
The service was fine but the focus seems to be on food with plenty eating on our early evening visit. We were asked, having sat down, if we were eating. We weren't and there was no problem with this. The menu looked interesting though and the food which came out looked decent. I'd give it a go if I was peckish and in the area.
Beers on were Clouded Minds Luppon, Dark Star Hophead, Siren Craft Sound Wave and Five Points Pale. A decent selection although the Hophead wasn't great but the Sound Wave, a few having been pulled, was good.
Not a bad spot.

On 21st September 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 676 recommendations about 675 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Bucking Fastard left this review about The Crooked Billet

A large 30's pub painted in a modern grey which has discoloured over the years and now looks tatty,it was hard to believe that we had arrived at a GBG listed pub.However once inside ,there are some art deco features and a good looking island bar in dark wood.An open kitchen to one side was churning out some good smells,and there were comfotable green leather backed corner seating units with substantial wooden tables dotted about the interior.The beer garden is substantial and will absorb a lot of punters in good weather.
The 5 handpumps were dispensing ale from some top brewers,but the condition of my first Siren Craft Soundwave IPA was suspect,subsequent pints were more palatable.Dark Star and Clouded Minds also featured so maybe I shouldn't be too picky.
Close to Clapton Overground station ,this pub is an oasis in an area which is a bit of a dump and not yet gentrified like nearby Hackney.Worth a visit if in the area.

On 20th August 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2674 recommendations about 2674 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Aqualung . left this review about The Crooked Billet

Visit July 2013

When I used to live in this area there were more than six pubs between Clapton Common at Stamford Hill and the end of Lower Clapton Road, not to mention numerous other ones dotted around the back streets. Just check the Closed Pubs box while displaying the E5 list to see the utter pub carnage that has happened in this postcode. The Crooked Billet is one of the remaining three, and in my opinion the best one.

This one is a former Watney's pub that I always got the impression was a post-war building, possibly indicating that the original building may have been bombed out during World War 2.

The red brick exterior has been painted over and a brand new sign has removed any hint that this was ever a Watney's pub, a cause for celebration in itself. Another handy thing is that the Southbound bus stop is right outside the door, and Clapton Station is only a few doors away.

The interior consists of a single room with the ceiling painted Battleship Grey (I can only assume that the current crop of pub designers were big fans of the Airfix range of WW2 warship plastic kits). There is a very nice chequered black and white tiled area of floor around the bar and the rest is bare floorboards. It didn't have the "renovated by Fawlty Towers' O'Reilly" look that Antic pubs go for and there was plenty of room inside, mainly because the Car Park is now an attractive garden where most people seemed happy to be.

They had a music system going just a bit too loud for me and it was some Reggae rubbish or other.

The bar currently has five pumps and I also spotted a Kernel keg fitting. The beers on were ELB Orchid Mild and Foundation Bitter, Five Points Red Rye, Hackney Brewery Golden Ale and Dark Star Hophead.

They use those horrible trendy dimple mugs so I had to ask for a straight glass.
I went for the Red Rye which was outstanding, but at £4.00 a pint was way overpriced, this is East London not the West End.

I was told later in the evening that they intend to introduce 10% CAMRA discount. When that happens I would be happy to take another look at it.

Apart from the prices I took quite a shine to this place and would say that it's definitely worth a look, especially if the CAMRA discount comes in.

It no longer opens at 12:00 daily but 16:00 Mon-Thu and does simple pub grub as it wants to avoid the "Gastro" tag.

On 2nd December 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about The Crooked Billet

There’s no real ale here, just the usual stuff with Courage Beat and John Smith’s on keg probably being the best bets. I didn’t see any sign of food when I was in on Saturday morning, although I spotted an advertisement for a a 2-course Sunday lunch for £7.

There’s a single island bar slap bang in the middle of the room, with some flagstone flooring around it and fireplaces at both ends, with the one the right having been stone cladded at some point. The drinking area to the left of the pub has both a pool table and a dartboard. There was a TV on showing some kids show followed by some football. Some standard homilies adorned the walls; one was something about strangers being friends you’ve yet to meet.

I was in bery early on Saturday so it was very quiet with just me and a couple of other punters in, one of whom was in the beer garden at the back, probably to have a smoke. Seating is the usual banquettes plus normal tables and chairs – there are no airs or graces in this place. I saw a chalkboard advertising various events, such as “The Vibe” playing on Saturday night, plus a “music night” on day as well as a poker night.

This is a pretty standard and unremarkable pub that’s handy for Clapton Station, but it’s not one to which I would make a point of returning to.

On 14th October 2012 - rating: 4
[User has posted 2606 recommendations about 2520 pubs]