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Picture of The Black Hen
Image posted by Just a quick pint, then I'm off
Submitted on Monday, 1st May 2017
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The Black Hen, E5

Pub added by Tris C
181 Clarence Road
E5 8EE
Correct details

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Reviews of The Black Hen (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

David Walton left this review about The Black Hen

I am not a bot Tris! Am in the venue just now. Was closed when I checked out a few times in the summer! Just chatting to staff - they re-opened a few weeks before Xmas under new ownership. Cracking range of craft beers and playing on the safe side with a pint of Hepcat - there are much stronger beers here and something for everyone in terms of style. Previous owners left abruptly apparently. Only punter here at 8pm, but then again is a pretty shitty evening for being out. Only six venues to now attend so that I have done every venue in Central London currently marked as open on the site. Sorry I got this one wrong in terms of being closed, but was a development after I checked it out based on actually attending. Have requested many places being closed in Central London to do my part to keep the site accurate in this diverse location to stop people heading to venues that are actually shut. All the best, David

On 4th January 2024 - rating: 7
[User has posted 90 recommendations about 90 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about The Black Hen

Situated in Clarence Road, starting point for the London (later UK) 2011 riots, this is a mid-19th century pub, originally the Cricketers which closed around 2009, to reopen as a ‘craft’ beer bar in 2014 called Verlan, later the Mermaid, a somewhat ironic name, given that it closed due to flooding in 2021.
This isn’t the most accessible area, the nearest Tube being Highbury & Islington, then it’s an Overground trip to Hackney Central. The exterior is typical contemporary trendy as is the interior, with a modern boarded floor, full height matchboard, the lower half dark green, the upper part pale grey to a white ceiling. Lighting comes from translucent white sconces, then dangly things hanging from the ceiling; décor amounts to trendy framed photos and various pots from which ivy cascades. Furniture amounts to single pedestal chunky wood tables (with cutlery), tubular steel fawn-coloured vinyl covered chairs, a couple of Chesterfields and a fawn-coloured peripheral banquette. A clue to the existence of food can be found in the cutlery to tables, but it seems to amount to ‘pulled pork’, Sunday roasts and the like, so it’s not a true gastropub. There are no TVs, but there was a retracted projector, so my guess it that sport is going to be very selective. Smooth sounds wafted out of the loudspeakers, sounding a bit Röyksopp. Customers were few in number, but unsurprisingly were young professional incomers.
The closest thing the pub has to cask are two unused pumps, thereafter 10 keg taps and a coffee machine adorning the modern bar top, me opting for a half of Neck Oil (£3.40), served by a very friendly barman.
This place is clearly geared towards people who don’t mind paying laughable sums for cold fizzy beer (a half of cask in the neighbouring Cock was £2.30) and although there’s nothing here really to cause offence, equally there’s nothing for the traditional pub aficionado or cask fan, so I don’t envisage a return visit; the Clapton Hart is just up the road.

On 2nd February 2023 - rating: 4
[User has posted 1983 recommendations about 1949 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Mermaid

This looks like a fairly regular street corner pub on approach, but upon entering it becomes clear that this is in fact a modern craft beer bar with the resultant dull makeover that such establishments usually demand. This essentially means we find a pretty plain L-shaped room with exposed floorboards and a similarly shaped servery to the rear right. The bar has a tongue and groove panelled counter and bar back, with the latter decorated with lots of hipster-style art. The room tapers off to the right where some small tables are served by chairs, but it opens out nicely to the left, allowing ample space for upholstered banquettes to run around the perimeter as the room extends to the rear. Scrubbed tables are a bit of a non-feature and there is a sizeable open-plan standing area which adds to the bland feel of the interior. The room has been decorated in a drab neutral colour scheme, mostly grey, brightened up somewhat by the occasional framed print, a beer board to the front left (although the beer menus at the bar were a lot easier to read) and some beer fridges to the side of the servery. Stairs lead down to a small, unwelcoming basement room with quite a bit more seating but even less charm, which is saying something. For best results, a seat out on the front pavement might be the way to get around the interior design atrocities within. A hip indie soundtrack played quietly in the background and I don’t recall spotting any TV screens.
There are a total of seventeen keg beer lines and a further two dispensing keg ciders, but cask ale is conspicuous by its absence. After consulting the handy printed menus on the bar, I opted for the catchy-named Cloudwater DDH IPA Enigma Chinook which turned out to be a cloudy mess probably better enjoyed with a spoon than from the glass. It had an overwhelming yeast flavour, but such is the way with these craft beers that you can’t question such gunk as it is doubtless an unfined brew that is supposed to taste like you’re licking the bottom of the fermenting vessel.
This place was a bit of a disaster from what I experienced, suffering from the sort of makeover that seems so unutterably unloveable that you have to wonder who thought it would be a good idea in the first place. Added to this, my beer was a rotten affair and the prices, although not noted by me on this visit, were far from good value. Not somewhere I’ll be heading back to in a hurry.

On 1st October 2018 - rating: 4
[User has posted 3114 recommendations about 3114 pubs]

View more reviews of The Black Hen (10)
External web links for The Black Hen

No known official website for this pub.

Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Tris C
Clapton, 0.48 miles, 9 min walk (show)
Hackney Downs, 0.6 miles, 11 min walk (show)
Rectory Road, 0.73 miles, 14 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Black Hen, E5
4th Jan 2024, 20:09
Review submitted by David Walton
24th Dec 2023, 10:10
Request to mark pub as open by Tris C approved

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Accommodation : No last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 01 October 2018 by Pub SignMan
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 12 June 2016 by ROB Camra
  • Beer Garden : No - Front patio seating. - last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • CAMRA Discount : No last updated 01 October 2018 by Pub SignMan
  • Car Park : No last updated 13 November 2016 by Tris C
  • Darts : No last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Function Room : Yes - 40-person capacity. - last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Jukebox : No last updated 01 October 2018 by Pub SignMan
  • Karaoke : No last updated 01 October 2018 by Pub SignMan
  • Live Music : No last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Live TV Sports : Yes - Selective. - last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Micropub : No last updated 01 October 2018 by Pub SignMan
  • Pinball : No last updated 01 October 2018 by Pub SignMan
  • Pool Table : No last updated 01 October 2018 by Pub SignMan
  • Quiz Night : Yes - Tuesdays 20.00. - last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Real Ale : No last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Real Cider : No last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 02 February 2023 by Tris C
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