Now going by the name of Heathcote and Star, the pub reopened the other week following a much-needed makeover. In a move away from the shabby chic look that’s had a stranglehold on pub redesigns in the area in recent years the pub has been given a seriously smart upgrade inside and out.
Outside the scruffy Sky sports banners are gone (although you can still catch a match inside). The original green tiles remain, now complemented by a smart dark blue paint job, elegant gold painted sign and etched windows.Inside dark green wood panelled walls, wooden floors and low lighting give the pub a cosy feel despite the epic size of the place. There are three rooms, with a bar in each: a generously proportioned main room, a smaller snug-style room that can be hired for private events and a huge games room out back. When I say games, we’re not talking Scrabble, this games room is big enough to comfortably house two pool tables and two ping pong tables.
There’s a celestial theme throughout, with a star map ceiling in the games room, astrological-themed art and star floor tiles in the garden. Seating is a mix of banquettes, bar stools, armchairs and sofas arranged around various types of tables but somehow it all looks pulled together. Neon signs reading party, play and outside denote the different spaces.With plenty of seating and a sizeable decked area, the garden out back promises to be the place to hang out in E11 come summer. Although when the firepit’s lit more hardy Leytonstoners might find themselves out there all year long.
Paul Human of We Serve Humans – who offer a menu of burgers, dogs, wings, fries and roasts down the road at the Leyton Star – is in charge of the kitchen. While burgers, wings and fries are on the menu, Paul has expanded the food offering to include ‘low and slow’ cooked dishes with international influences, including a five hour chilli (£9.50), pork ribs with BBQ sauce (£8) and cowboy beans, a tasty five bean chilli with rice (£8).
As with the Leyton Star there’s a decent selection of wines, spirits and beers, both on tap and in the fridge. With two burgers for £12 on a Monday, a pub quiz on a Tuesday, 20% off Wednesdays and two-for-one cocktails on a Thursday – we’ll probably be swinging by more often than not.
Which is of course the point of a new local, right?