Beer drinkers of Bow, take heed: The Angel of Bow has opened its doors. A concept from The Angelic Pub Company and Redemption Brewing Company, the pub boasts over 15 lines that are exclusively reserved for East London breweries. On cask, you’ll find Redemption permanently available, making this a significant addition to the East London craft drinking scene.
Formerly Kitsons, the pub was once a destination in London for live music. The new proprietor will continue this tradition, promising jazz sessions on Sundays. As for the kitchen, food will be heavily inspired by nearby Billingsgate Market and will include Seafood Saturdays and an oyster bar on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Redemption and Angelic Pub partnership will see the opening of a further six pubs across London – they intend to turn around the fate of neglected sites and create more attractive spaces that appeal to London’s drinkers.
Redemption is a stalwart of the London craft scene, founded in 2009 by Andy Moffat. They recently unveiled a shiny new brewery in Tottenham with a taproom that draws in impressive crowds on Saturday afternoons. Part of the Tottenham crawl, which includes Beavertown Brewery, One Mile End Brewery and Affinity Brewing Company (with Pressure Drop Brewing soon to be added to the bill), Redemption remains as popular as ever with both their cask and keg ranges, although they predominately focus on sessionable strength cask ales.
On The Angel's opening night, both locals and curious beer drinkers filled up the pub, which is surprisingly cavernous on the inside. With the scent of fresh paint still wafting in the air, there were tables and chairs dotted around the space and a fireplace on one far wall. The surface of the bar is made from slabs of slate, an unusual sight – but this isn't the only quirky feature in The Angel. In the women's toilets, there is a hairdryer for patrons who have been caught out in the rain. And the men's loos are segregated into urinals and cubicles - which one door marked 'one' and the other 'two'.
The keg selection was commendable, with some highlights including the Pale from East London Brewing Co, Black Vinyl Stout from Signature Brew, Kapow! pale ale from Hackney Brewery, Jack of Clubs from Wild Card Brewery, the Railway Porter from The Five Points Brewing Company and Untraditional Lager from Villages. The fridges are also brimming with a decent selection.
The Angel of Bow has bundles of potential and is a welcome addition to East London. The staff were still learning the ropes on its opening night, but were eager and friendly, and the kitchen won't be open until later this year. Cask drinkers will be thrilled to hear that they're committed to becoming a haven for properly served cask ales in London and hope to start collecting CAMRA awards very soon. There was some talk of Redemption also putting their stamp on the venue given their contribution to the venture, so the pub should feel more lived in and even quirkier in the coming months.
And if jazz isn't your thing, don't fret – we were reassured that there would be a variety of live music lined up, including indie rock. Yes, there's a lot in the pipeline, but for now The Angel of Bow is still a sure bet for tasty beer in the area.
The Angel of Bow can be found at 171 Devons Rd, London E3 3QX.