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Movie paraphernalia, Lagunitas IPA and an army of regulars: Why The Alma in Newington Green is London’s ‘most loved’ pub

PUBLISHED: 15:23 23 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:34 23 November 2016

Wesley Deaton, general manager of The Alma, Newington Green. Picture: Polly Hancock

Wesley Deaton, general manager of The Alma, Newington Green. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

How does a pub become the most popular in London? Wes Deaton, manager of The Alma in Newington Green, is an authority on the matter.

The Alma, Newington GreenThe Alma, Newington Green

His boozer won “most loved pub” in Time Out’s “Love London” awards, stepping up from last year’s “best in Islington” gong.

The Alma immeditately distinguishes itself from any other pub because its walls are literally dripping with movie paraphernalia: from posters to figurines.

Wes, 40, tells the Gazette over a pint of brutally strong Lagunitas IPA: “It’s fantastic. People come in and they are just like, ‘wow’.

“If you think about it, there’s a great conversation piece as people love talking about movies. I’d say our pub has helped many second or third dates!”

Wesley Deaton, general manager of The Alma, Newington Green. Picture: Polly HancockWesley Deaton, general manager of The Alma, Newington Green. Picture: Polly Hancock

But there’s more to a successful pub than a theme. And Wes, who has been in the business since leaving school at 16, says it’s very straightforward.

“Obviously it’s very hard work. It’s about constantly maintaining standards, and the key is constantly trying to make it better – which is what we do.

“That includes the decor, service, food, selection of beers. Being approachable and making people feel welcome. It’s pretty simple.

“I think our main strength is relating to customers. We have got to know a lot of people very well. We have a regular crowd of about 200 who come here every week.

“We have a good football crowd as well, and we look to show sport in a particular kind of way that appeals to them while not being too instrusive on other people.”

He adds of the Newington Green pub trade: “It’s great at the moment. There are four or five in this one-mile radius which are all doing things their own way.”


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