The Bell is the latest pub in Walthamstow to reopen it’s doors after a change of ownership and a refurb. Built in 1900 this large pub dominates Bell corner on Forest Road, and it’s safe to say that the reopening has been eagerly anticipated. Living in the other side of E17 I haven’t had the chance to peek in through the windows to see how the refurbishment was going, so like many others I have been relying on twitter for updates. And it was twitter that encouraged me to head to the Bell on Thursday for opening night to take a look at the new pub and meet up with other Walthamstow twitter folk.
Heading across town in the cold I had my fingers crossed that I would like what the new owner had done to the Bell. The building is old and the bar is large, and as a couple of other local pubs have found out it is very easy to get things wrong. Thankfully it was obvious as soon as we walked through the door that the owner had got it right, actually they have got it very right.
The main area of the pub is L shaped with a mixture of table seating and comfy sofas providing ample space to sit down. The plaster work behind the bar has been stripped back to reveal the brick work and William Morris wallpaper and original floor boards with occasional glimpses into the cellar help to provide character. In the middle of the bar stands the fireplace, a smaller seating area with panelled walls and access to the yet to open garden on the other side of it. The renovation has maintained the character of the building and despite the pubs size it has a great atmosphere, there is a good choice of reasonably priced drinks and although they aren’t serving food yet it will make a splendid spot for Sunday lunch when the kitchen opens.
A bit of a walk from home but it was well worth braving the cold on Thursday and going to opening night. The Bell is a great addition to the Walthamstow pub scene and shows a couple of other venues that have attempted similar style refurbs how it should be done. If you havent been yet, put it on your list and pay the Bell a visit.
Well done for the review Bill. I look forward to seeing the place. It is nice to see a pub brought back rather than closed.
Visited the Bell recently. Cosy, warm, comfortable and pleasant interior, friendly staff and good beer consisting of 3 real ales from local microbrewers and 3 from small independents. Excellent bar snacks (including the pork and chorizo pie from Cley in Norfolk) with promises of proper food to come. The music suited me too, a broad blend of what the Yanks describe as AOR, grown up rock. As this is close to my place of work and there is some parking nearby it will provide a haven for a swifty on the way home or a longer session with colleagues. Also handy for a follow-up curry at the Dhaka, Raja or Forest. A real improvement!
It is indeed a splendid pub, but be careful, someone came in and nicked someone’s purse last night out of their jacket on their chair. In an amazingly dramatic scene, one of the customers and one of the bar staff gave chase to him – straight up the hill opposite next to the snooker hall which is one hell of a hill! They were so fast it was extremely impressive to watch. And by the time we’d unlocked our phones to call the police they were back! With the purse. Hoorah for the E17 heroes! The thief gave up half way up the hill and threw the purse back. So order was restored in The Bell and after a bit of a flurry and much applause and back slapping, the Stitch and Bitch ladies got back to their knitting and peace was restored. Be careful though. It’s such a peaceful pub, you are prone to forget that there’s desperate people just waiting to pounce, wherever you are.
Wow, sounds very dramatic. My other half tells me off all the time for leaving my phone on the table when we are out, I never think about people trying to grab it.