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Already a local hero for saving The Chesham Arms, Hackney, Andy Bird has now rescued this pint-sized corner boozer off Columbia Road market. His half-timbered, mock-Tudor acquisition was formerly hipster-gay watering hole The Nelson, elements of whose decor – such as the well-worn dark wood bar – have survived the largely cosmetic makeover. What is new, is a kitchen serving lazy weekend brunches and trad British bar snacks, to accompany a drinks list of craft ales, European wines from £20 (for decent Rioja) and cocktails. Try Grey’s Tea (a gin and bergamot summer cup, £7.50) or Frida (a Tequila, mezcal and Aperol grapefruit Spritz). Horatio’s wife, the eponymous Fanny, might have been drawn to Nelson’s Column (a vodka, peach and dry vermouth fizz), but his poxy sailors on shore leave would doubtless have needed Penicillin (a classic American whiskey Sour).
I had a plan. I would try three libations of each sort on offer – one cocktail, one wine and one draught beverage. But best laid plans and all that… I did not stay long enough to complete the mission. Nor was I able to try as much of the food as I would have liked. But I was there long enough to realise that the Fanny Nelson is a charming, cosy little pub which manages to be perfect date material but also seems to have a very healthy handful of locals – both of the hipster and genuine East End local variety, who all seemed to know the bar staff by name.What I ended up having was the Jamonero - dark rum,...
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