‘I slept like a log last night, I woke up in the fireplace.’
The great man, Tommy Cooper.
We at Wriggle know winter can be a depressing time, with freezing starts, short evenings and, in my case, a determination from student days to maybe turn the heating on for four minutes every third Wednesday (decadent) of the month. The weekend is a time to stay indoors, huddle up and cook obscure animals in large pots for decades at a time. But we think it’s also a time to find a pub with old school warmth – a roaring fire. Here are our top choices:
The Old Red Lion really is a ‘pubby’ pub, with fires, candlelit bars and a cracking selection of real ales and good food. The building (it’s a two minute walk from Kennington tube) is wedged between an olive-grey chain and Tesco, and you kind of hope it will outlive both of them…
With a baffling website of just a black page and an almost hidden link to a five star review, the Colton Arms clearly doesn’t want too much attention. But it is a hidden gem that this Wriggler loves going in to because the atmosphere encourages drinkers to chat to one another and get some friendly banter going with the landlord.
The “Sloany Pony” has been around for ages and has been a haunt for Hooray Henry’s ever since Chelsea got too vulgar and expensive. Massive Chesterfields and genuinely great food make for a comfy experience, although it is always so busy it could be the heat from the red trousers and not the great fire that’s warming you up.
Located right next to Clissold Park, you can go for a bracing winter walk to build up your appetite and then really appreciate the log fire at this famous family owned joint. You’ve also got all the weird and wonderful shops of Stoke Newington on your doorstep and if you settle in properly you can stay upstairs in their award winning guest rooms.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has that rare distinction of including ‘Ye Olde’ in the title and actually being really, really old. So old that it had to be re-built after the Great Fire of 1666 and has not had much done to it since. Aside from the other Great Fire (terrible pun) you can find inside, it also has the awesome bonus of being a Sam Smith’s pub, and therefore is one of those rare paces in which you can find a pint for less than £3.
This place doesn’t really need any more publicity because a lot of people visit for the fleeting chance of seeing Gandalf and George Ezra backing -singer Ian McKellan, who actually owns the joint. However it somehow manages to retain loads of charm and a local feel for Limehouse residents, as well as a warming fire near the back.
The Jerusalem Tavern is an absolutely tiny place that might be best to avoid in the immediate after work hours, when it fills to the brim with city workers. Served by one brewery in Suffolk, it is a great little place which has won Town Pub of the Year and is named after a bunch of knights who protected Jerusalem during the crusades.