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There has been a boozer on this site since the 1760s, but the current pub inhabits an unlovely 1960s tower block. Ahead of the latest reimagining of the surrounding area, pub chain Antic has moved in, gussying up the old girl with its trademark retro look. Less appealing is what is arguably London’s most oppressive ceiling (a monster in steel). Adnams Ghost Ship and Bexley-brewed Howbury 5 are on tap, or there’s Antic’s own Volden beer for £3.30 a pint; wine starts at under £15 (for a soft, fruity Tempranillo-Grenache blend). From faux-Edwardian red velour banquettes, punters have a ringside view of the traffic chaos outside on The Elephant’s less-than-magic new roundabout. Until the refurbished kitchen is ready to serve classic pub grub, pop-up caterers – flogging fish & chips on our visit – appear in the pub’s ‘radical beer garden’, which seems more like a concrete merchant’s vision of urban loveliness.
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