Truman’s Brewery was founded in 1666 when Brick Lane was a track flanked by fields. It grew and, for a brief time in the 1800s, was the biggest brewery in the world sending Imperial Stout to the Russian court and IPA to the British Raj.
Although it closed in 1989, with the site becoming and arts and cultural centre, its iconic chimney was unmissable when I regularly visited Brick Lane for curry in the 1990s. In 2010, the brewery re-opened in Hackney, but at the beginning of this year moved to a huge new site in Walthamstow which will incorporate a Tap Room, Street Food Market, Live Music Venue and Artist Studios.
What is known as “Truman’s Social Club”:https://www.trumansbeer.co.uk/ Truman’s Social Club launched on 4 July promising to be ‘the biggest socially distanced pub and garden’ in London or the World depending on what you read. A 30-minute walk from home, it had to be tried.
Having booked a slot online, we decided to recce the place bearing. Despite its address of 1 Priestley Way on a large industrial estate, it took us a little time to discover it and we found that if you’re coming from the centre of Walthamstow or the nearby Blackhorse Road Underground Station, the best route is via the interestingly named, Hookers Road.
Our chosen night was a balmy summers evening which was just as well as it’s totally outdoor although a few tables have umbrellas.
We were greeted by a friendly security guy who pointed a gizmo at our heads which read our temperature. At a desk we were invited to sanitize our hands before the process was explained – food and drinks are ordered via an app and delivered to your table. There’s no moving around apart from visiting the loo and although dogs are children are welcomed, the former have to be kept on a lead (in my view, the latter should as well)!
We were told our ‘table’ had ‘the advantage of something to lean against’. On looking across it turned out to be a bench alongside a wall with a narrow awning over it. Having seen the vast amount of picnic style tables and chairs, I protested slightly saying I’d prefer somewhere with a table for my drinks and food, rather than have to balance them on the bench between us. After a few seconds, we were moved although we had to vacate our table by 8pm rather than 8.30pm (slots are for two and a half hours).
Having paid the mandatory £10 deposit on booking, we were entitled to a pint of something from the Truman’s on tap range: lager, two IPAs or cider or a soft drink. We both chose a pint of cider which was excellent. I then managed to download and negotiate the app to place our subsequent order.
There were two street food stalls. The first Gyoza Katsu selling a range of Japanese dumplings and snacks and “The Rotisserie Company”:https://www.therotisserieco.com/ with roast chicken all ways. We shared a chicken ciabatta for £6, which came with a choice of two sauces. Helpfully it was cut in two and pretty substantial as well as being tasty.
The range of drinks was simple and in addition to the tap beers there was red, white, rose wine and fizz by the glass (three sizes available) and limited spirts and soft drinks. We opted for a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc at £8.
The staff were young and friendly and our orders were brought quickly to our table and I rather liked being served.
From our table near the entrance, we could see the place filling up as the night went on, mainly with youngsters under 30 – we were probably the oldest people there. There was music, interestingly 70s style bearing in mind the age range, but it was played a background level so conversation was easy.
It was good to see they have a replica of the iconic chimney. All in all, it was a great evening with good food, drinks, service but I’m still not sure how it works when the weather isn’t so conducive.