What is it you want from a good boozer? If your answer is, “booze, obviously, a cozy, welcoming atmosphere, and bloody good pub grub,” then you could do a lot worse than heading down to The Marksman in Bethnal Green, which has just been named the Michelin Pub of the Year – the first London pub to ever win the award.
The key to its success has been maintaining an old school pub sensibility in this age renovated, redesigned, gastro-fied boozers - something that will please the no nonsense drinkers, most of whom have had enough of increasingly obscure craft ale and esoteric decor salvaged from some forgotten, hipster-friendly time.
What The Marksman does have, however, is very the best part of modern pub culture - incredibly fancy nosh.
"The Marksman cleverly combines a place to drink with new era pub food,” said Michelin Eating Out In Pubs Guide editor Rebecca Burr. "One of the things we love about it is that it's a proper neighbourhood pub first and foremost, with a cosy, traditional bar in which to enjoy a pint of local ale or a bottle of craft beer."
Chefs Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram took over the Hackney pub in 2015, relaunching with a menu that now includes grilled quail in bread sauce, Aylesbury duck pie, and deviled muscles on toast. Plus, according to in the know locals, the fried potatoes and burnt onion mayonnaise are the greatest interpretation of a chip you will ever eat.
The menu not only won them the coveted award - beating 500 other pubs from the UK and Ireland - but scored them the Michelin Bib Gourmand, awarded to venues that offer good value and excellent food.
The Marksman was also rated for regular guest chefs, live music, and its summer roof terrace. That it's the first London pub to win the award is good news for the capital's boozers, which CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) has previously warned are closing at a rate of four per week.
Here are some other London pubs listed as "inspectors' favourites" in Michelin's Eating Out In Pubs 2017 guide.