On our pub crawl round Leicester today, Pub Curmudgeon told me about an unfortunate incident near Ilford that necessitated a 2 night Premier Inn stay there. There’s worse hotels to get stuck in (the old Formule 1 for instance), but few more challenging places in London to be stuck.


At least in Dagenham you’ve got the creek, in East Ham there’s some of  the UK’s most authentic south Asian food, and Barking has been architecturally revitalised in the last decade, for better or worse.

But Ilford ?


Cranes, row after row of terraced houses, fried chicken shops, old Wetherspoons.  That would have been my recollection. Not a place you’d ever attempt to drive through, either.

But when the Good Book tells you to go to Ilford to an Irish bar called Jono’s selling two plain beers, you go.

It’s a town for the purist, it’s fair to say.



The civic “quarter”, if you can call it that, has a decent Town Hall and a strangely alluring Theatre complex that would be at home in Aberdeen.



Though fans of quirky shopfronts will find much to enjoy.


This is a roadside advert for a café;

Yum !

And I think this one sells polar bears.


Not much for the pub connoisseur; in fact not much between the Olympic Stadium and the M25.  The Ilford extract from WhatPub is particularly grim; just 5 real ale pubs for a vast area between Gants Hill and Barking, and that includes the Spoons.

Ilford What Pub.PNG

Jono’s Bar is the type of authentic Irish bar you still get in London, but I wasn’t quite sure what accounted for its elevation to the Guide.


No doubt someone will ask me how I know it’s an Irish bar (the adjacent Dental Practice is the giveaway).

One of those thin shop conversions beloved of North-west London that’s a bit small for a Wetherspoons, and oddly reminiscent shapewise of the Murenger.



As promised,  two beers on the bar, Tribute and Castle Rock, which was clearly the first pour of the day but arguably Beer Guide standard.


Proper music from Neil Young, and good banter, too.

Those Germans are getting stronger and stronger”

We need smaller pitches

‘Arry Kane – ‘ees on fire

Decent beer and bants, but a stellar curry (offal of some description) in the cheap, cheery and mysteriously named Curry House.  £6 with rice and salad. One for Dick and Dave’s next trip.



An interesting area with large Bulgarian and Romanian restaurants made this a good stroll, though I resisted a return visit to the only two other recent Beer Guide pubs

The classic Prince of Wales,


and the less than classic Spoons with its Prosecco fixation. Nice sculpture, though.



Ilford.  Go for food. Go for Prosecco.  Go for the polar bear.


  1. Dick’s view of London is similar to your view of Maidenhead. This post won’t encourage him to change his mind:) Great looking curry but some of the views of the area a really grim.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think more than a few great islands,i love doing pubs in London and done thousands of them.
        Walk round Fitzrovia and find the Samuel Smiths tied houses,West London has loads of nice pubs and The Dove by the River Thames is a must visit,just as the White Cross is at Richmond.
        I could go on and on about the areas i have done pubs in London,i am never dissapointed when doing a pub crawl done there.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Premier Inn in question was the one next to the Red House Beefeater by the Redbridge Roundabout, which at the time (2005) actually had Draught Bass, which was some consolation for my plight. Now shown on WhatPub as NRA 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been avoiding your London posts as i have done most of the pubs you have done,so only giving a date done would be boring.
    I did two pubs in Ilford many years ago with my wife,a mini bus ride down to Leyton Orient to watch the Mighty Reds thrash them 1-0 in an FA Cup game.
    The pubs we did were pretty rough and away from the middle,Wheelers and The Eagle,probably long gone.
    I passed through Ilford on train recently and was quite impressed with all the tall buildings going up.
    I have not done the two pubs featured on this post.
    Coming back from the game was more eventful when we tried to go into Northampton for a few drinks,we were nearly all arrested after refusing to turn round on the duel carrigway,we gave in and had a police escourt back to the M1 and told to go back to Nottingham,Toddington rescued the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “And I think this one sells polar bears.”

    I saw that and thought it was the Ilford in Manitoba, Canada:,+MB/@56.0694512,-95.6324696,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x5261807bd50d2b01:0x8d4d1fba75a55509!8m2!3d56.0675832!4d-95.6004028

    No polar bears there as such. But, one of the nearest places to purchase liquor is in Churchill (about 200 miles north), which is apparently the Polar Bear Capital of the world:

    I’m sure you would either see some polar bears on your trip, or maybe trap one and bring it back for sale in Iford. 🙂


    PS – I just checked online and sadly the road (and railway) lines to Churchill have been impassable due to floods back in May. No word on when they will be in operation again.

    Liked by 1 person

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