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The Birkbeck Tavern, Leytonstone, E11

45 Langthorne Road
E11 4HL

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about The Birkbeck tavern

It just goes to show what an important factor beer availability and quality can make to the enjoyment of a pub visit. One of our group chose the Bombardier Gold, which was rank but gracefully exchanged for Courage Best (which he said was good), and the rest of us chose the Maldon Gold, which was average at best. We didn't see any sign of food on a Wednesday afternoon.

But I thought the pub itself was quite delightful. You have the public bar on the corner, and through an archway you reach a small room containing just a pool table. Both of these rooms had the rarely seen lino flooring. An opening behind the central servery takes you to the very comfortable and carpeted saloon bar. This in turn had been extended to the rear, via an elegant archway where there's a very attractive fireplace. An alcove in this rear room contained a dartboard. Screening separated the public bar from the saloon, and it had a very small service door (for cleaners and potmen) in days past, but clearly no longer in use.

There's plenty of interesting decor - a giant dart (!) above the dartboard alcove; jugs and the like hanging from a beam; and (so our expert informed us) a 1920s fishing rod and shooting bag. A large garden at the back had plenty of seating, and as the weather wasn't too bad I was able to have a good look round out there. It was clearly well-tended, and would be a lovely place to spend an hour or two on a summer's day.

I really liked the laid back and comfortable feel of this place. I would definitely like to pay return visit, in the hope that we were just unlucky regarding beer quality when we visited.

On 9th April 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2573 recommendations about 2491 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

train man left this review about The Birkbeck

Poor beer selection and poor quality on my last two visits, most recently last Saturday.
A shame, as it could easily be so much better.

On 6th March 2017 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 411 recommendations about 410 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve of N21 left this review about The Birkbeck

Took the bus down the Leyton High Road to check this one out and can report that the Birkbeck is indeed surviving as a solid community local under the new ownership.
Nothing changed from previous reviews and still two high ceilinged bars 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.

On 22nd December 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1698 recommendations about 1647 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Aqualung . left this review about The Birkbeck

I've had confirmation today that the pub has been sold to a publican, so hopefully it will survive. Let's hope it's not someone who wants to turn it into a "Sports Bar".

On 22nd November 2012 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2147 recommendations about 2142 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The Birkbeck

Situated in the backstreets a short walk from Leyton tube, this street-corner Victorian local sports a very pretty exterior, ex-Charrington I believe. The large high-ceilinged interior retains a number of original touches (two rooms separated by a central bar, wood trim, tiled fireplace) though there is an air of shabbiness about the parts of the interior. Our Saturday late afternoon visit found the pub close to deserted, bar a band who were setting up to play, a far cry to the Nightingale and King Edward VII sampled either side of this one. A large number of handpumps yielded a fairly disappointing selection of ales in context though it was good to see Mighty Oak on. The condition of mine was middling. Some filled rolls were available behind the bar. I also spotted a dart board and pool table. This is a big football pub and is apparently a draw on Orient match days.

Perhaps I caught this one at a bad time but I didn’t feel particularly enthused overall compared to others. I’ll give it another go and hope for better next time.

On 24th March 2012 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3969 recommendations about 3957 pubs]

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Wainnock ....... left this review about The Birkbeck Tavern

Four beers available on my latest visit, all in very good condition and served by very pleasant staff. Surprisingly quiet considering before the Orient home game given it's closeness to the ground.

On 4th March 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 23 recommendations about 23 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Birkbeck Tavern

I popped into this pub prior to watching an evening game at nearby Brisbane Road and was pleased to find a smart and attractive Victorian street corner boozer. The pub retains a traditional two bar layout with a large main bar and a smaller and more basic public bar. The main bar is carpeted with decent banquette, bench and low stool seating along the front wall and a few other standard table and chair arrangements elsewhere. The room has very high ceilings which are decorated with some pleasant filigree and at one end of the room there is a nice tiled fireplace, the attraction of which is somewhat diminished by the large plasma screen TV that hangs above it. A tiny alcove under the stairs houses a dartboard and there is also a juke box near to the bar, although there was a load of old country music playing when I first entered.
The large servery divides the two rooms although it is possible to pass from one room to the other by walking around the bar towards the rear of the pub. You can also access the beer garden from here. There was no-one in the public bar during my visit, so I only gave it a cursory glance, but I did notice that it had a pool table.
There are 11 handpulls on the bar, but sadly only one was in action on my arrival and given how popular it was proving, I feared even that would have gone by the time I got served. Thankfully there was enough left for me to enjoy a pint of Mighty Oak Captain Bob, although I did have to wait an extraordinary length of time before I could enjoy it, thanks to one of the slowest barmen I have ever witnessed. It was only a lack of other pubs in the area that convinced me to carry on waiting. A blackboard next to the bar noted that I had just missed Ramsbury Tackle Down Under and the house beer, Rita's Special. I came back after the match for a celebratory swift one and found that the Captain Bob had been joined by Mighty Oak Mauldon Gold, which was a cracking pint.
Despite the slow service, I thought this was a really nice pub and proof that areas like this can still support well run community locals. This is worth making the effort to find and I would certainly consider a return visit next season.

On 30th September 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2402 recommendations about 2402 pubs]

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John Bonser left this review about The Birkbeck Tavern

Situated in the quiet residential side streets close to Leyton Underground station is The Birkbeck Tavern, a fine traditional community orientated Victorian street corner local.

The trademark green tinged leaded windows remind us that this was a former Charringtons house, a fact confirmed by several old photos inside. Note also the photo of the 1945 street party celebrating the end of the war.

A small basic front bar with a lino floor and a pool table leads into a much larger comfortably furnished carpeted high – ceilinged main bar which retains something of an unchanged old fashioned feel to it. A trophy cabinet testifies to the prowess of local darts teams. Food is limited to snacks – principally rolls wrapped in clingfilm and pickled eggs.

A framed undated certificate tells us that this pub won an award as “Football and Real Ale Guide Division 2 Pub of the Year”.

The pub is CAMRA friendly and is listed in the 2011 CAMRA Good Beer Guide. On my recent Saturday morning / lunchtime visit – before the mighty Owls visit to Leyton Orient F C – 4 beers were on, Mighty Oak Moody Rudy, RCH Pitchfork, Jack Frost and Rita’s Special. Rita’s Special – the provenance of which is not stated – is apparently the only regular real ale and is named after a former landlady. Both this beer and the RCH Pitchfork were in good form.

This pub is not a place that you’re likely to stumble across by accident, but it evidently attracts the more discerning football supporter and others in the know. It’s a real proper pub and, if you’re attending a match at the nearby Leyton Orient F C, you should make the effort to seek it out

On 27th January 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]