The Old Red Cow, Barbican
To start - the beer selection is varied - bottled is very eclectic and a good mix of Euro, World and US beers; Draught is similarly intriguing inasmuch as there are few beers from really well know producers - Windsor and Eton, Moors Beers feature on the handpulls and Ilkeley and others on tap provide the counterpoint in keg form.
But the point is that you will not find a better selection in this or many other parts of town. Upstairs Bar/Function room is also supplied with draught so no issue with bottles only, thank goodness.
The food menu is really exciting (if that's not too hackneyed a word to use...I suspect it is) and combines traditional old school favourites (Scotch Egg, Sausage Rolls) but given a new and home made twist, with more unanticipated dishes such as Mussels in curry leaf sauce or Steak Tartare with sourdough bread.
When writing these reviews it is always easy to contemplate the negatives - but I am happy to say that that is not possible with the Old Red Cow. It is my first 5 pinter and is richly deserved - a beer lover's paradise in Pub form.
thankfully, not completely packed, so we were able to grab a table and camp out for a while. Notable notes:
Un: An upstairs and a downstairs and plenty of space to have small groups, large groups, couples, or a pint at the bar.
Deux: Live music upstairs! Good live music at that! Not at all deterring from the dining and drinking experience.
Trois: A full menu with a wide variety of foods. Not food that will blow your mind, but good pub food and generous servings.
Quatre: Free jukebox! Board games! Little details like this make a place memorable, nay, unforgettable, if one indulges.
Cinq: Wide variety of beers and ciders on tap, and a lovely blackboard for displaying them all.
Six: Good location, just round the corner from the Barbican stop for a quick ride home (given there aren't tube diversions).
All in all, an enjoyable dinner location. I could easily see myself setting up a weekly board game night just to have a good place to tuck in and have some fun.
Sunday - Thursday 12:00 till 23:00
Friday & Saturday 12:00 till 00:00
Please check opening times with the pub before making a special journey.
Situated on Long Lane in Smithfield EC1 our “local beer house” concept is attracting customers from all over London who have come to sample some of the best beers available in town.
Our commitment to providing interesting and quality product is appreciated by both our regulars and visitors alike. Although beer is our first love, we also have developed a great wine list and sell quality spirits. Our food is freshly cooked and provides a selection of pub favourites as well as a number of “surprises.” Our ethos is built around quality, homely service and the love of the “pub” environment.
The local beer house idea was developed as a means to promote and serve “great beer” in a similar way to the beer houses developed in England in the early 19th century.
These were set up as an alternative to the gin houses of the time. Beer was considered much more respectable than gin and changes in the licensing law of that era allowed ordinary households to apply for a licence with a one-off payment of two guineas to sell beer or cider in their home (usually the front parlour) and even brew on the premises. So enjoy our 21st century parlour!
We have endeavoured to source products from a number of local breweries and feel we are committed to supporting these innovative people as well as sourcing quality product from further afield. So whether it be Camden, Redemption, Brodie’s or Sambrooks in London or Brew Dog and Harviestoun from Scotland or Stiegl from Austria we have a quality beer for every occasion.
So come and see us and enjoy all the Red Cow has to offer.
July 28th Best of British Beer Festival