Palm Tree

Date January 2, 2010 | Map

Ah, the Palm Tree. The music, the decor, the ale, the landlords, the punters. Off the beaten track in Mile End Park, between Mile End Road and Roman Road, close to Regent’s Canal. Unassuming from the outside, it attracted a couple of bad user comments on various pub review websites. Probably written by locals in a desperate attempt to keep this gem of a pub hidden. In vain, though, because it is usually full.

The Palm Tree

The Palm Tree by Kake Pugh via

The music. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, three veteran musicians, most of them probably pensioneers, play excellent Jazz and Swing as The Palm Trio (or is it Tree-o?) on a tiny stage, fronted by an additional singer. We initially thought there would not be any music when we arrived to find an empty stage at 9pm on a Saturday, but we were thrilled when we spotted the musicians, who started their first set at 10pm.

The decor. Wallpapers laden with golden patterns as if rivalling Turner Prize Winner Richard Wright, china on shelves, signed photos of famous and not-so-famous visitors above the bar, and the almost antique cash till. Characterful and comfy.

The ale. Three of them on tap, two of which I have never seen before. And probably won’t ever again, as I cannot remember them…even though one of them was really nice.

The landlords. This is a straightforward family business and you as a guest are on their terrain. One BITE commenter was not too happy with them on the same night we went, but even if I wanted to, I could not fault any of the staff. Just don’t order tap water, you have been warned!

The punters. Very mixed crowd, young and old, normal and arty, rich and poor, beautiful and…ehm…unremarkable. A high percentage of locals, but that is probably due to the slightly remote location. It is rare to get such diverse people together in one room peacefully, but the overall atmosphere is wholly enjoyable, in spite of my rather surreal verbal and kind of physical encounter with a local lady. Which is a story that will never be told (pity actually, because it was quite funny)!

Verdict: Neither the first nor the last time I have been there. Good to see that some things never change.

Beer in the Evening Review
Fancy a Pint Review
Time Out London Review

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