Just returned from a fortnight away to find that Leytonstone has grown another pub, the Shepherds Inn. Until about ten years this was the Cowley Arms. When we moved to the area it was boarded up, having been ‘enthusiastically’ closed by the Police due to the shenanigans of the clientele. Later on it became a decent music venue, the Loaded Dog. That closed after three or so years when the parent company went belly-up. After that, it was closed for a bit until taken over by a former publican of the nearby Colegrave arms (more of which in a following post), before shutting yet again due to ill health. It’s the last of three (rubbish) neighbouring pubs, all of which have been recently demolished with the sites earmarked for – yawn – new flats.
A bit of digging around on the internets reveal that ‘bernelių užeiga’ is a small chain of Lithuanian pub-restaurants based around ‘traditional country cooking’, so another real ale venue is unlikely – but i’ve always been partial to the odd Svyturys.. Whatever it is, it’s certainly a welcome addition to the dreariest bit of Leytonstone High Road, and by the looks of it they’re sparing no expense. You’d never confuse Leytonstone with Kensington, but it’s yet another improvement to the area. I’ll be sticking my nose in when it opens – even if their sign promising ‘European Music’ does mean i’ll need a drink before I actually set foot in the place.