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Reviewing milestone with Wittenden on the Pub Forum

The Clarence Tavern, Stoke Newington, N16

102 Stoke Newington Church Street
N16 0LA
Phone: 02072542906

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

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Tris C left this review about The Clarence Tavern

I came here once about ten years ago and wasn’t that impressed, wrongly believing it to be a Whetherspoon’s. It had similar décor and a glum, older crowd.
This Grade II-listed pub was built in the mid-19th century but in 1999 acquired the name of former Stoke Newington resident, Daniel Defoe. The original name was reinstated last year.
The interior has certainly been subject to a makeover to evince a somewhat ‘poshe’ air along super-trendy Stoke Newington Church Street. The most notable remaining elements are the two columns with ornate capitals. I don’t know if the exposed RSJ is original or not or indeed the substantial polychromatic, encaustic tiled bar apron. Certainly, the only traditional décor are the hanging hop bines to the ceiling. The floor is part carpeted, part boarded and furniture is fairly conventional with some solid tables and chairs, a few clad in pus-coloured vinyl and a set of tall tables and chairs clad in plum-coloured vinyl. To the periphery, there are banquettes upholstered with vinyl seats and tweed backs along with girlie scatter cushions. There are also some Chesterfields. Lighting comes in part from long-flexed lamps hanging from the ceiling with small, tasselled cloth shades, the likes of which my grandparents probably had in the ‘30s. The bar is modern, with a rough wooden front, metal top and a metal beer wall with multiple taps. To the rear, there’s a dining room and garden – food is described as ‘British Tapas’, for which I read pickled onions and pork scratchings, but I could be wrong. The ban on children has sadly been lifted – one of the little treasures was playing a noisy game on its phone, so for once I actually wished the jazz-funk soundtrack would be turned up a bit.
Ales: Young’s Bitter, Wandering Brewer’s I Love Pale Ale and Shipyard’s Melonhead at a very stiff £2.70 a half, though interesting and refreshing, especially on a balmy evening.
For all its slightly twee affectations, this isn’t a bad place - I prefer it to the Daniel Defoe. I might pop in again if in the area – it’s the sort of place for a date with a person who isn’t into pubs that much, though I wouldn’t rush back.

On 7th May 2018 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2032 recommendations about 1997 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about The Clarence Tavern

[Reviewed as Tea House incarnation, visited August 2017]
Doesn't sell much in the way of tea, a stupid name for what turned out to be a fairly hopeless pub that has gone full Stoke Newington, aimed specifically at the middle class mum and pushchair brigade. Two rooms one after another, the bar in the front is a flat surface with no gantry and the whole room felt like a box. The rear room was a bit better however there were too many tables rammed in and chaotically placed, making get in and out from your table a challenge. To the rear is a well done decked seating area. Décor item of note were the Chinese lantern style lightshades. Over-loud ‘funky’ music made for a cacophonous din. Three pumps with two ales and a cider; Youngs Gold, Waggledance (fine) and Westons Old Rosie. A pub for people who are afraid of pubs, really.

I find that a few days after my visit, they’ve knocked it on the head and it has re-opened under a different name. Which might explain the lack of tea when I went in…

On 2nd October 2017 - rating: 4
[User has posted 5239 recommendations about 5222 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about Stoke Newington Tea House

The inside of this pub looks like an uber luxurious hotel lounge. Sofas abound, arty paper lampshades are around the place, as well as small palms in pots in a couple of corners. There are two pewter topped bar counters on the left, with the first one dedicated to cake stands and some contraption that I can only assume is there to produce any of the 100 different teas they advertise. The second has the handpumps, but unfortunately for some reason the counter is about five feet wide meaning that it wasn't posible to read the detail on the pump clips. I recognised Young's London Gold, Courage Director's, and Charles Wells Eagle, but I needed to ask the barman about something called "Try Time", which turned out to be another Wells ale (I might have guessed as this is a Charles Wells pub. The food wasn't too unusual - on the menu I saw haddock and chips for 12.5 (£12.50 presumably), and a burger for 10.95.

This isn't really my kind of pub. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with it, it's just that I prefer my pubs to be a bit more like traditional pubs rather than tea rooms.

On 17th February 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2606 recommendations about 2520 pubs]

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john gray left this review about Daniel Defoe

large long one room pub with a rear outside space with benches.Fussy wallpaper and curtains give it a dated look.Matching tables and chairs rarely seen in pubs now.Only two beers on cask Bombardier and the ghastly thought that I would have to drink a Wells beer was dismissed with Proper Job being the other.Good pint.

On 18th April 2015 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1023 recommendations about 1009 pubs]

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Gail Spencer left this review about Daniel Defoe

The Daniel Defoe is an oasis of a British pub in the midst of hip, trendy and overpriced bars that follow a mostly continental model and clientele. It has a charm and appeal usually felt by CAMRA members and purveyors of country pubs. The pub is not quite as realised as it could be. The chips are the best ever in the entire universe and just have to be tried whilst surfing with the free Wi-Fi. A pub that still does an affordable snack, and a great pot of tea during the day is a gem. An unpolished but needed diamond in Stokey

On 8th March 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1 recommendations about 1 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

john mcgraw left this review about Daniel Defoe

Large street corner pub that has recently been taken over by new management.Only well's bombardier on when I visited. This pub does not have much going for it but perhaps things may improve under the new management.

On 3rd March 2015 - rating: 4
[User has posted 2044 recommendations about 2025 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Malden man left this review about Daniel Defoe

This is a large Victorian street corner pub which is now effectively one space inside although the dining area towards the rear feels a little separated due to the layout. The main area has the bar to one side, large windows to both elevations let in lots of light and sunshine which together with the high ceiling gives an airy feel. The ceiling is that old mustard yellow colour, walls are part panelled with the upper sections papered. There are various framed prints of sporting stuff, cricket scenes, horse racing etc plus an appreciation of Daniel Defoe and portraits of various characters. Mostly carpeted but with an area of boarded floor.
There is an open staircase off the dining area which leads to an upstairs room which houses exhibitions, one being on yesterday featuring pop art.
Beyond here, doors lead out to an attractive decked garden on two levels.
A Charles Wells house, beers were Bombardier, Eagle plus Youngs Bitter and St Austell Tribute. The Eagle was a bit expensive I felt at £3.30 for a relatively low gravity beer. Food is apparently now only served at weekends, the chalkboard having a reasonable looking selection of mains between £8 and £10.
Opens at 4pm through the week, 12 Sat/Sun and open till "late".
No dogs or children allowed, seemingly not even in the garden, a family were refused admission during my visit.

On 3rd July 2011 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1708 recommendations about 1681 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Strongers . left this review about Daniel Defoe

This Charles Wells house is in two sections with the open plan bar area being on the left and a quiet seating area being past the toilets to the right. It is clean and fairly traditional in looks with old pictures and a few historical items relating to Daniel Defoe up on the walls, but a boozer this is not as there is a leaning towards the highly priced food and there were more people tucking into bottles of white during my late Saturday afternoon visit than were sampling the ale selection. The ales available were Tribute, Merlins Oak, Bombardier and St Austels Tinners and some premium and standard draught products were also available. There was also a single malt menu on each table with plethora of choices that would keep the reddest nosed Scotsman happy. There are no distractions from TVs and the background music was light jazz, which I find extremely depressing. There is a decked area out the back that leads down to an enclosed paved area and there are plenty of picnic tables.

This pub doesn’t open until 13:00 during the week and midday on both Saturday and Sunday, but it is open until ‘late’ everyday – whatever time that may be?

To be honest I thought that it was a little dull in here and I would be more likely to visit here with the in-laws than with friends. I can’t see a return visit in a hurry.

On 8th October 2010 - rating: 5
[User has posted 5329 recommendations about 5297 pubs]