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See it roar: New beginnings at The Lion

You might have noticed the light. Over the last couple of days Church Street has been lit up like a Christmas tree… The Lion is back!

The Lion on Stoke Newington Church Street

Well, almost.

After well over six months of refurbishment, severe water damage that completely destroyed the new hardwood floors, and more refurbishment, The Lion is re-opening on Saturday, 12 June, in time for the first England match in the World Cup. I had a chance to look around and get the dirt on what’s going to happen.

If you loved The Lion before, you will be pleased to hear that the basic layout hasn’t changed; the bar is the same as before, the beer garden is outside, and the function/games room stays upstairs. And still, everything has changed…

The main bar has been given a new coat of dark brown paint, and a beautiful dark wooden floor. The two fireplaces will be working again, a DJ booth is going under the stairs, a jukebox on the opposite wall, and there is a massive screen that can be rolled down to watch sports… a good place for the World Cup then. The biggest change downstairs are the toilets, which have been completely redone. Good news indeed if you remember the smell that used to be a permanent feature before.

The bar at The Lion in its current state

There will be food as well but thankfully The Lion will not become another gastro pub. Instead there will be a selection of pies, home made sausage rolls, Babie’s Head and other snacks available. In the beer garden the Fishery’s oyster van will be installed permanently so you can enjoy a great selection of shellfish. Everything will cost you under a fiver apparently, which is nice.

Speaking of the garden, this has been cleared out, and a raised space around the wall has been installed with tables that will seat about 90. In total, the garden will hold about 150 people, same as the pub inside.

If you like your games then you’ll be pleased to hear that the function room upstairs will have a pool table, a darts board, and two Bonzini foosball tables. Yes, foosball tables. Two! Awesome! No sign of a bar upstairs at this point but apparently the final word hasn’t been spoken on this topic.

Artwork above the fireplace at The Lion

As for entertainment, Mistress Mel’s notoriously tricksy pop quiz is returning to Church Street, Mondays and Tuesdays there will be a free jukebox, and more is planned. Check your favourite Stoke Newington website for updates.

So there you have it… The Lion is back, and it looks like a perfect pub for the summer. I’m excited, and you should be too!

13 Comments

  1. The best part about the old Lion was that you could order food from the local takeaways to eat there. its what made it unique, I hope that it is still an option.

  2. I am very pleased to see The Lion back and also pleased to see it will not be another Three Crowns gastropub. It was my fav Stokey drinking venue so i might even make a trip back for the England game and opening, hopefully it will not disappoint.

    Although i did like the takeaway ordering some cheap, decent food will go down well. This is good news for Stokey again!

  3. I loved the old Lion, you could bring your own food, listen to the great jukebox and enjoy a few drinks.
    Went last night and it still stank of paint, the person who served me could hardly speak English, didn’t know the prices and didn’t seem to know what they were doing.
    Also at £4.30 for a pint, I won’t become a regular at the new Lion.

    • Tom

      24 June 2010 at 15:52

      Hi Rob, I’ve seen this £4.30/£4.50 figure a few times on Twitter and elsewhere but it’s not correct. Pints start at £3.45 (same as Three Crowns) and will probably go down a bit. Bottled beers are £3.50 apparently.
      Also, new pub means new staff and fresh paint, innit. None of my business really but I’ve always liked the Lion and I trust the owners to get it right sooner or later 😉

      • StokeyNightmare

        25 June 2010 at 21:16

        This is still a lot of money.

      • Tom

        25 June 2010 at 23:08

        True. But then I paid £3.70 for a pint of Kronenbourg at the White Hart yesterday… maybe we’re living in too gentrified an area?

      • Hi Tom,

        If the £4.30 figure is not correct, then please explain why I was charged £8.60 for two pints?
        The person who served me even had to go and ask the person in charge how much the drinks were.
        As for the paint smell – I would suggest that they perhaps opened too soon!

      • Tom

        7 July 2010 at 17:24

        Hey Rob, problem finally solved… you must have ordered Peroni, which is ridiculously expensive everywhere, and is indeed £4.30 here. It’s like buying a Ferrari and complaining that cars have gotten so bloody expensive 😉

  4. how old is the Lion ?

  5. Was there on Saturday and I had a very cool night. Well done, great vibe. Oh, and the staff are HOT 😉

  6. The Lion has gone all trendy, heaving and noisy. Ive lived in the estate behind it for 20 years and what was once a quiet street at night has become frequented by drunken noisy yobs, and at least one fight every week or so. Must say it is now becoming a tad alarming, people new to the are who cant take their booze? Lock-in? Something has changed.

    • Jacqui,
      Every time you see or hear any example of anti social behaviour arising from The Lion and its customers – phone Hackney Council Licensing and report it. Also it would be good if you could report it to the police at the time. Both are monitoring the situation. The Lion’s management have been interviewed under caution as they have ignored all previous warnings.

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