Truman Social Club: a vast cathedral to beer

It’s bigger than any other bar we can remember walking into. Which is, of course, extremely handy in this Covid age

During the first lockdown, when takeaway pints were made lawful again, we were a little partial to the industrial estate near Blackhorse Road Overground station.

We hung out in the blazing sun on the grassy banks near the new Signature Brewery taproom, and also explored the smaller, up-the-road Exale Brewery. Both are totally worth the briefest train hop – or walk, in fact – from the neighbourhood.

But fast forward to the autumn and nothing quite prepared us for the sheer vastness of E17’s latest bleary-eyed conqueror. This is the original east London craft brewery, of course – and it means business. Well, it has been around since 1666. And by Victorian times it was the largest brewery in the world.

A whopping 26,000 square foot space, its cathedral-style grandeur causes a genuine gasp upon entering: it couldn’t be more Covid-friendly for winter, we all agreed, with huge socially distanced sturdy wooden sharing benches, enormo indoor plants and gleaming industrial beer tanks (it’s almost like the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall – of booze).

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TSC also celebrates the best local beer, food and makers in East London, with up to 20 beers and street food. It was super unlucky too, in its timings, having been open for just a week before lockdown in November.

On our visit, we were with another household so sat outside – where a huge tent has been erected over the beer garden to provide a modicum of cover from the rain, as well as heaters to keep the cold at bay. We’re hoping they may have sorted out a slight wind tunnel issue by now, too.

On the food front, we can vouch for the seitan burgers served up by wittily named resident street food trader, Last Night A Vegan Saved My Life (incidentally, you could try Christmas special ‘The Christmas Chick’, in crispy southern fried batter with rich cranberry and plum sauce).

Or go for Zero’s warming gyozas, tender chicken and prawn teriyaki dishes – which we also rated – or even the healthy rosy sashimi poke bowls. And wash it all down, of course, with lashings of Truman IPA (or Raw Lager, if you prefer).

In short? Our very own E10 and E11 taproom bars – whether it’s Gravity Well or Solvay – are petite, buzzy and intimate. So these jumbo E17 ones make a nice change. Perhaps, after all, size really is everything.

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Open seven days a week, 9am – 11pm, Truman’s Social Club has been specifically designed to follow social distancing guidelines. Tables in the beer hall or tent are bookable here.

Leytonstoner were guests of Truman Social Club

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