Pub review: Be-Bop-A-Lula in Green Lanes, Stoke Newington
PUBLISHED: 14:30 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:56 17 January 2018
The team at Newington Green’s popular Alma has opened a new pub, Be-Bop-A-Lula, in Green Lanes. It’s great. James Morris isn’t surprised.
Not many people can take a traditional locals’ boozer, turn it into a 1950s concept pub and instantly attract people through the door.
But the owners of Be-Bop-A-Lula in Green Lanes, Stoke Newington, know how this business works.
They did similar things to The Alma, just around the corner in Newington Green, decking the whole joint out with movie paraphernalia. That’s now one of the most acclaimed pubs in London. They did the same at North by North West (Alfred Hitchcock theme) in New North Road off Essex Road.
Obviously, success is not simply down to a manufactured image. These pubs also have substance. Part of this is a brilliant range of drink and food.
But what truly impresses at Be-Bop-A-Lula, on our December Saturday night visit, is the mix of people in the pub – which at this point had only been open for a week.
You have Stokey locals who presumably used to frequent the boozer under its previous guises as The Monarch and Winnicott. And among them sit young professionals, with their bowls of nachos and bottles of Brewdog, who you assume wouldn’t have been so regular before the refurb.
It’s quite something for a pub to effortlessly entice such different crowds. The 50s theme – guitars hanging off the ceiling, Elvis posters on the walls, rockabilly tunes on the jukebox – is only a minor part of it.
The reason Be-Bop-A-Lula impresses is because it does all the right things. The bar is the centrepiece of the room, it’s dimly lit, it’s warm and most importantly there’s a welcoming atmosphere.
The food is great, as well. Our excellent host, Steven, plies us with three courses of his kitchen’s best offerings. Just like at The Alma, it’s uncontrollably moreish.
It essentially draws on The Alma menu, too – only with 50s music twists. Our sausage and mash is marketed as “Do The Mash Potato”, while the chocolate brownie dessert becomes the “James Brownie”. There are also a couple of new additions. “The Famous Elvis Sandwich” (banana, peanut butter and bacon) is one of them. Obviously.
And there’s extra points for supporting the local brewery (Hammerton in Islington) alongside American beers.
The past decade has been difficult for the UK pub trade – but the team behind Be-Bop-A-Lula show how the battle can be won.