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Halifax Crawl - 21 June 2024 with Gann on the Pub Forum

North Star, Leytonstone, E11

24 Browning Road
E11 3AR
Phone: 02085303197

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

Tris C left this review about North Star

This place was established as a beer house in 1858, obtained a wine licence in 1939 to became a full-on pub in 1959, courtesy of Charrington’s. It’s situated in a quiet and attractive backstreet, which estate agents probably market as ‘Leytonstone Village’.
It’s on CAMRA’s inventory of pubs with historic interiors, cited as being of Special National Historic Interest. I arrived yesterday to what was reopening night, so the place has had a makeover since the last review of December. I don’t know what the original looked like, but broadly there’s an aged bare boarded floor, black wainscoting beneath duck egg blue Anaglypa walls and a white ceiling, the combination a little severe. What certainly aren’t original are the bare filament bulbs, suspended from the ceiling by an ugly mess of dangling black electrical flexes. Furniture takes the form of traditional furniture with fluted navy-blue banquettes. Décor comes by way of a multitude of railway-themed prints and there were two TVs, off with a decent soundtrack on the jukebox, including the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Steely Dan. Customers were mixed in age and me aside, undoubtedly local, making for a good ambience.
Aside from two unused pumps there was a good selection of cask styles, amounting to Oakham’s JHB, Sussex Best, Burning Sky Plateau and Five Points Railway Porter at £2.50 a half, served by a friendly barmaid and in great shape.
Things round here must have changed a fair bit for the worse in the last 13 years if other pubs nearby are 'more essential' – I’ll bet this is probably the best pub in Leytonstone, where it’s a must-visit, but the Red Lion has the wider cask selection.

On 19th January 2024 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2030 recommendations about 1995 pubs]

Quinno _ left this review about North Star

Was here 11 years ago and it's had a tarting-up since then, everything is now very blue. The U-shaped interior has been demarcated with the drinkers on one side (right) and pizza munchers in the other (left). Bit of chat between the barmaids and the locals, which was nice to see. Five cask ales which seemed a little ambitious and indeed mine was the only one poured, an Oakham JHB, which just passed the GBG muster (NBSS 3) as it’s listed in the book. Nice enough, good to see it surviving.

March 2012
A traditional two-roomed backstreet boozer located in a very glamorous ‘village’ part of Leytonstone, a couple of minutes from the main High Street; you could easily forget you’re in the East End. The pub interior retains a number of traditional touches although is quite tired-looking and parts of it have seen better days. The original etched windows in the doors were a nice touch. Three ales were on the go during my visit with a decent selection of Adnams, Hop Back and Doom Bar, with Bombardier turned. The ales we had were in fair condition. Most of the action seemed to be in the right-hand bar (probably because that’s where the football was on), with the left hand bar contained a couple of diners chowing down on the pub grub though I did spot a dart board available. Pictures of old Leytonstone and steam trains festoon the walls. Very much a local’s local but none the worse for that. As pointed out below, this isn’t a destination pub but is worth a visit if you’re in the area. I’d certainly frequent the place if I lived nearby. Rated 7

On 16th December 2023 - rating: 7
[User has posted 5239 recommendations about 5222 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about North Star

This was my final stop of the evening and coming from the Birds on the High Road you could not get a bigger contrast in pubs.
As described below a fantastic two bar traditional back street local hidden down Browning road a short distance from the noise and bustle of Leytonstone High Street, that is keeping a pace with modern times.
Still retaining two rooms that are marked public and saloon by the etched glass windows in the doors the one marked public is actually the more comfortable, being wider and with more seating that the saloon. But it does have the dart board in this section and there is a serving hatch through to the main bar which is in the Saloon room. I naturally gravitated to the Saloon side which is where the beer pumps are, but this is actually the thinner and plainer side of the pub having only one table in the window and some bar stools up the bar and along the beer shelf on the far wall decorated with various steam engine pictures.
Five of the six ale pumps were in operation for my visit and alongside the regular beers of Oakham Ale JHB and ELB Foundation Bitter the three guests were Northdown Brewery He-Bru IPA, TT Boltmaker and Redemption Trinity. I went for the Redemption brew and very good it was too and at £3.90 a pint. And then the Craft Keg unit at the end of the bar had two ELB craft beers and two from Bevertown.
There is indeed a Thai food menu served in the evenings, as indicated on the chalk board menu at the end of the saloon bar and people were still tucking into it during my visit despite the lateness of the hour. A good thing was that the Thai food smell did not pervade through the pub like I have experienced in other pubs with a Thai kitchen. I noted the food hours from the chalk board to be 6 to 9.45PM Tue to Friday and 3 to 9PM at the weekends.

On 16th April 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2171 recommendations about 2043 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about North Star

Wonderful little backstreet pub, two rooms with the public bar busy on a Saturday lunchtime. six handpumps were all in use with a good range of beers on, ELB Foundation,Rat White Rat, Mighty Oak Winter and Cascade IPA, Redemption Rock The Kazbek and Oakham JHB, the later costing £3.90, not bad for London, there were also a few craft keg beers as well. Old school pub moving with the times, brilliant.

On 10th March 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1907 recommendations about 1880 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about North Star

There were four ales on in here - Oakham Dragon; Timothy Taylor Landlord; Castle Rock Pale; and ELB Foundation. A couple of further handpumps had Butcombe Bitter and Oakham JHB clips reversed. I didn't see any sign of food when we visited at around 5.0 PM on a Wednesday, but I gather that they do Thai food in the evenings, and at weekends.

This is still a two-room pub, both with their own door to the street - public bar on the left, and saloon bar on the right. The two rooms are now joined by an access that has been cut at the back of the servery.

This is still a traditional pub. There seems to be more seating in the old public bar area, with mainly vertical drinkers in the saloon bar when we visited. I love these old traditional pubs, and especially so when they good real ale as this one does. I can see me visiting this one again sometime.

On 15th April 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2606 recommendations about 2520 pubs]

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Aqualung . left this review about North Star

This is a former Bass Charrington House. The large East London Pub Company mirror at the rear of the right hand saloon bar is a reminder of the company that was formed after the Beer Orders and before they were (presumably) taken over by Enterprise. As noted below it has just about retained the two bars, a rarity in itself in London. Their are wooden floors throughout and the public bar just has a small serving hatch. There is a dart board and a jukebox. The saloon bar TV was off and I couldn't see any other screens in the public bar.
There are now six hand pumps which had TT Landlord, St Austell Proper Job, Oakham JHB, ELB Foundation Bitter, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde Mild and Southwark Harvard APA. I went for the Southwark beer (£4.00) which is expensive but it is a 5.5% beer. This place left the GBG but seems to be reinstated now. It's well worth a look and gets a strong 7.

On 24th December 2017 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about North Star

Tucked away just off the main drag. Nice traditional interior that hasn't been mucked about. Central double sided bar served the 2 sections.

On 22nd March 2014 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2897 recommendations about 2834 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about North Star

Located down an attractive back street, just off of Leytonstone's busy High Street, the North Star is a simple two bar traditional pub. The saloon bar is on the right hand side and is clearly signposted by a nice etched glass window in the front door. The room is very basic, with a worn old carpet, one table and a drinking shelf with high stools opposite the bar. There are a lot of photos on the walls, mostly black and white pictures of the surrounding area as well as several depicting old trains. A large plasma screen TV hangs on the back wall but this was switched off during my stay in favour of a classic rock soundtrack that played quietly in the background. The second bar appears to be a little wider, allowing for more tables and chairs and even a sofa under the front window, as well as a dartboard on one of the walls. This room was in darkness when I arrived, but as the after-work crowd began to file in, the barman opened it up.
This pub is listed in the Good Beer Guide and accordingly had four somewhat mainstream ales to choose from - St Austell Tribute (£3.10), Wells Bombardier, Sharp's Doom Bar and Adnams Broadside. My pint of Tribute was fine and it was served by a fairly cheerful barman.
This is a fairly solid community local, if not really a destination pub. It would make a worthy addition to any crawl but there are other pubs nearby that are more essential.

On 4th November 2011 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3140 recommendations about 3140 pubs]