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The Palm Tree is quite a find! It is located in Mile End Park, in between Mile End and Bethnal Green Tube stations in the East End of London next to the Regents Canal. In the Second World War, everything around it was bombed, so there is only the pub left. It is very easy to get to, Bethnal Green being only one stop from Liverpool Street station.
Walking through the door is like going back in time! The lovely red and gold wallpaper, the old till, the photos of 'famous' people all add to the ambience! On a Saturday night they have a house band who play - none of them are below 70 and they really know how to get the bar rocking!
They don't sell food in the bar, and you cannot pay on card so make sure you take cash with you - the cash points in Bethnal Green are usually out of service after midday on a Saturday!
It's a family run pub which is great too. Last time I went in, my husband and I had a lovely chat with the landlord and his son about how they came to take the pub over, and the World War II bomb which was found the other side of the canal only 5 years ago, leading to all the buildings nearby being evacuated for 4 days!
The downside is that they will not serve water. Full stop. Even if you have been in their drinking all day. I can kind of see their point as they get so many people stopping in to use the toilet etc who are walking along the towpath, but it's a little harsh when you are spending an afternoon there! Speaking of which, toilets aren't the nicest, but that seems to be true of most London pubs in my experience.
In the summer you can take your drinks outside and sit in the park - it's a great place to watch the world go by. The area has become a lot more vibrant over the last few years - many more flats have been built, and there a now loads of house boats moored along the canal running past The Palm Tree. In the summer you will usually get your drink served ina plastic 'glass' as they expect you to go and sit outside.
The customers range from the proper East Enders who have lived nearby and been drinking there for years, the young professionals recently moved to the area and the students from the nearby University Halls.
Opening times, according to the Timeout website are noon-midnight Mon-Thur; noon-2am Fri, Sat; noon-1am Sun (last admission 10.45pm)
It has featured in several music videos, the latest being Paolo Nutini's 'Coming up Easy' which features him drinking in The Palm Tree with a giant rabbit! Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area, especially on a Saturday night!
Tucked away in Mile End Park next to Regent's canal this is a pub you will only find if someone takes you there. It's not somewhere you will just stumble into on a night out.
By day this is an ordinary East End boozer. It has old style 1920 tills and is decorated in a very old fashioned way. Not in a trendy way like many of the more pretentious pubs in the area but in a not been decorated since way. It is split into two rooms, a bar and a lounge and there is no connecting door inside so you have to go outside to move between them. The pub serves your usual selection of spirits. I am wine drinking and the wine hear is on tap and not exactly the finest wine but is drinkable. They also have a wide selection of speciality bitters and ales which my ale loving friends appreciate but I don't as I can't stand ale. They don't serve food but have crisps and nuts.
As the pub is on Regent's canal it is lovely in the summer. You can take your drinks outside and sit beside the canal on the grass and watch the sun set. They do insist on plastic glasses when you do this though.
The thing that makes this place truly special is that on Friday and Saturday nights they have free live swing music. The in-house swing band is made up of locals in their 60s and 70s upwards and one of the bar maide who gets up and sings. They are all incredibly talented. The band starts at about10 but it gets very crowded there and it is best to get there before about half past 8 to get a good spot.
The downsides of this pub are that it doesn't accept cards as payment so you have to take cash. It also doesn't serve tap water, I am not sure if this is legal but it doesn't. The toilets also get pretty grim as there is one ladies loo on each side which is woefully inadequate given how busy the place gets. Reports from male friends of the male toilets are equally bad.
All in all this is a fun night out and it's nice to do something a bit different. And it's free which is always good!