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Beer of the Week (w/e 7th August 2022) with Bucking Fastard on the Pub Forum

Well & Bucket, Shoreditch, E2

Pub added by Graham Mason
143 Bethnal Green Road
E2 7DG
Phone: 02036646454

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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.

Tris C left this review about Well & Bucket

This pub closed around 1989 and was converted to retail use, so it was something of a surprise when it reopened in 2013. Though much mauled over the years, the interior features some absolutley superb polychromatic glazed tiles with lovely integrated mirrors - this is the good news. Modern interior modifications includes some relatively subtle steampunkery including filament bulbs. The bar top is copper and unsurprisingly, there's much bare brick, which seems to be the mainstay of pubs in this street. The bad news is that just the sound of conversation in here is enough to induce tinnitus and the lighting is very gloomy. Customers seemed to be of the younger hipster bent, with conspicuous beards. There was a real ale on offer but the clip was reversed. Thereafter, the mainstay of beers seemed to come from the multinational brewing arm that is the Camden Brewery.
Staff were pottering about mixing cocktails and one barmaid was diligently wiping the rim of a glass with a strip of lemon rind, for God's sake. With the lack of available real ale and tediously slow service, I decided to cut my loses and leave. This isn't my format so I'll not be returning, but do stick your head round the door to have a look at the tiles before moving on to the King's Arms.

On 16th August 2019 - rating: 3
[User has posted 1532 recommendations about 1510 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about Well & Bucket

Must've had a really impressive interior when the tiling was intact. Central island bar served 2 real ales 2 taps off and an extensive keg selection.

On 26th September 2017 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2833 recommendations about 2774 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about Well & Bucket

Re-opened in 2013 as a craft beer pub after a period of time as a shop. There’s a semi-heritage interior with some lovely Victorian tiling which has sadly been vandalised at some point, it is a shame that the current owners haven’t tried (yet?) to do some proper renovations on them (here’s hoping they do). Instead (perhaps to try and cover up some of the worst areas), there are some dubious ‘portrait’ artworks of a Gothic/EMO persuasion. Some other items of a more pleasing nature are in place, such as a large Well and Bucket mirror on the back wall. The island bar (with impressive copper topping) allows for a fairly uninhibited way to explore the pub (pushchairs permitting), with access at the rear to a small smokers patio. Sodium lighting makes for an ‘evening’ sort of atmosphere even in the middle of the day; it also serves to complement the aforementioned copper bar top and perhaps also helps to soothe the worst parts of the damaged tiling. Busy inside, with a youngish clientèle present. Four ales at the bar (from Gadds, ELB, Alchemy, Hop Stuff). My Alchemy Five Sisters was in good shape. I also noted some impressive bottles in the fridge as well as a large range of craft keg. Toilets were (unexpectedly) rather plush. If they can stump up the cash to renovate the tiling they could really turn this into a Top 20 London pub. Still, it’s most definitely worth getting the bus out for as it currently stands.

On 25th February 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 4422 recommendations about 4408 pubs]

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E TA left this review about Well & Bucket

This former Trumans house in its splendid Georgian building has been converted into a single-bar ale and oyster house characterised by a welcoming atmosphere, open and airy, wooden floors and furniture and fittings as described below. Of particular note is the macabre tiling described below by Mr Fastard (whom I glimpsed enjoying a pint when I was in there) – a real architectural gem. I declined the oysters as a shellfish allergy would mean their being rejected faster than a pint of Carlsberg. Only 4 ales on, I had the Hopstuff Fusillier which was in excellent condition. It's a valuable addition to a crawl and worth stopping in for a few if time allows.

On 17th February 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2905 recommendations about 2872 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about Well & Bucket

What was clearly a former two roomed Truman’s pub now works very well as a craft beer style bar.
I also was a bit non plus on entering the now single space with serving area plonked in the middle, but somehow the décor of original pub features and tiling in slight disrepair, large modern artworks that were slightly off-putting, decent modern seating and some additional shabby chic decorations strangely seem to all hang together and works as a comfortable place to have a beer. And I found the place growing on me like a well-fitting pair of slippers.
Also helped by some well kept ales on the four pumps and can vouch that the Alechemy Five Sisters Red Pale Ale was also in good form.
So am in agreement that this is a good spot and worth combining with the Kings Arms for a double, or even the Brew Dog for a treble down the Bethnal Green Road.
And also agree it could benefit from an additional couple of Ale pumps, so if you could take the current Ale choice from the Kings Arms and put them in this skin, then you really would have a pub !

On 12th February 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1836 recommendations about 1773 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about Well & Bucket

Another good addition to the Bethnal Green road,a lively place with a good buzz about it,open plan with plenty of seating for the beer drinker and Oyster swallower alike, from the choice of four ales I chose Hopstuff Fusilier and very good it was too.The interior is very well described below and may not be to everyones taste, I didn't mind it at all but its worth a visit for the beer alone.

On 10th February 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1582 recommendations about 1563 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about Well & Bucket

Can't add a lot to the excellent PSM review.The exposed tiling is a feature and also shows how this original bar was expanded ,the line of metal pillars revealing a dividing wall now removed.The fully tiled bar room must have been impressive in it's day.The modern artwork in the picture recesses in the tiling is trendy with much skull and bones in evidence.The huge plate glass windows at the front give the interior an airy feel,there is also a small courtyard for external drinking.A lively vibe on our Saturday lunchtime trip,the muzak was loud but not oppressive and was even piped down to the smart gents. The choice from the four handpumps was from Gadds Seasider (very good condition,yum),Alechemy Five Sisters Red Pale Ale,Hop Stuff Fusilier and ELB Foundation Bitter all served in dimple jugs.An interesting line up.The craft kegs taps were offering an even wider choice including Kernel London Sour and Harbour Brewing India Brown Ale among others.
I was impressed by what has been achieved here,and would like to pay a longer visit next time.A great double header with nearby Kings Arms ,making this end of the Bethnal Green Road a top real ale venue.

On 9th February 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2383 recommendations about 2383 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about Well & Bucket

This is a former Truman’s pub (the old brewery being just down the road) dating back to the early 1800’s. The pub was last known as the Stick of Rock, before it was converted into the leather goods store shown in the pictures on this site. In early 2013, the pub happily reopened under its original name in the guise of a craft beer style bar. The effect of a modern bar in a historic pub is rather unusual and I found that the initial underwhelming impression I got soon wore off as I started to notice some of the older features. The pub has a single room layout focussed on a central servery with a copper topped bar counter. Dark floorboards and walls combine with low level lighting to create a nice evening time ambiance. There are long canteen benches under the front windows and standard seating throughout the rest of the pub with one button backed banquette in the rear corner. Down the left side of the servery there is a very narrow space which affords just enough room for people to sit on bar stools and eat from the bar counter. For me, the highlight was the attractive coloured Victorian tiling that has been preserved to a certain degree and incorporates some mirrors in places. The left hand wall and front and rear doorways in particular are worth taking a good look at. Unfortunately, it has been badly damaged in places and some sections are entirely missing, covered instead by some rather unattractive and incongruous artworks. A large ‘Well and Bucket’ mirror on the back wall looks like an original feature and from here you can find access to the small paved beer garden. Loud music played on my weekday evening visit and there were quite a few people eating from a menu which seems to be focussed around oysters and sliders (which sound like the same thing to me).
Just two beers were on handpull – Charles Wells DNA and Off Beat Odd Ball (£3.80). The keg range was much more interesting, offering brews from the likes of Kernel, Siren, Camden and Moor, plus others from Italy, Spain, US and Norway. I noted one real cider and a decent bottled beer range listed on the menu, fairly sensibly priced by craft beer bar standards, with most around the £4-6 mark. I gave the Odd Ball a try and thought it was in good shape and served by a friendly barmaid.
I should have a lot of reservations about this place, but somehow I thought the strange mix of traditional and modern came together nicely to create a pub experience that felt new to me. A couple more handpulls wouldn’t go amiss and it would be great to see the damaged tiling restored but overall this is an interesting place and I’ll be popping back the next time I’m in the area.

On 6th October 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2813 recommendations about 2813 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about Well & Bucket

This is another pub brought back from the grave, having re-opened fairly recently following a sort of half-life having spent some time as a shop. It must have had a spectacular interior in days gone by, if the remnants of the Victorian tiling on the left hand wall are anything to go by. Unfortunately the tiling has been horribly vandalised at some stage. What a crying shame. This wall once featured as a centrepiece a tiled panel by W B Simpson depicting “Club Row in ye Olden Times” (Club Row is just along Bethnal Green Road from this pub). Where much of the tiling was they now have an “oyster house” mirror and some enormous, and ghastly, prints of cadaverous looking people.

But they did have four ales on – Dark Star Hophead, Hop Studio Gold, Kent Brewery Pale, and ELB Orchid. I had the latter, which was in fine nick, and at a quite reasonable £1.80 a half. The place has a definite US slant to it, with lager fonts surmounted by numerous long taps, and although the main feature of the menu was oysters (mainly £14 a portion) it also had several “sliders” options.

Apart from the bits of the superb tiling that remain, I found the room quite boring. Furnishings were a handful of long wooden tables, with some black plastic covered banquette seating, hard wooden benches and small kindergarten style uncomfortable chairs. I probably won’t make a return visit – but you never know, after all, the Orchid was a well kept ale.

On 20th May 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]

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john gray left this review about Well & Bucket

This pub has recently re-opened serving Craft beer.4 handpumps for cask but only 2 beers on from Truefitt and Siren breweries the sunday night i visited.About 12 keg fonts with some rare but expensive beers.Very busy with loud music.Origonally a tiled interior they have left the tiles and where they have came off its bare brick and makes a great contrast.Stylish interior and is a must visit if you are in the area.

On 8th April 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 965 recommendations about 951 pubs]