‘Welcome to the Clapton Hart, your new local’, says the chalky scrawl on the board as you leave the sprawling Lea Bridge Road roundabout and step into this grand old Victorian boozer. Launched on the site of the notorious nightclub Chimes (aka Crimes), the place still looks only halfway finished – but that’s part of the appeal. Inside, it opens out to reveal a back room set up for dining under a massive skylight, with many original features and lots of junk-shop oddities added. There’s a rotating roster of eight real ales (including London-brewed locals) and some keenly priced wines, plus a short, bargain-priced menu running from Welsh rarebit and potted shrimps (under a fiver) to tagliatelle ragù or fish and chips. Clapton’s on the up, and the Hart looks as if it’s going to be doing its bit.
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