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.