We remember when this place was a proper old-fashioned ‘bloke’s pub’. It’s not hard…the Coach and Horses only closed at the end of 2013. In its place, we find this bang-on-trend craft ale bar from the Pubs of Distinction mini-chain. You might know them from such previous works as Old Red Cow in Farringdon and Dean Swift in Shad Thames.
Hack and Hop, which opened just before Christmas, is cut from the same cloth as its siblings, with more ales than the typical stomach might handle in one sitting — 12 were listed on the beer board on our visit. These can be grabbed in standard measures, or try the dinky 1/3 pints for powerful concoctions like the 7.3% Weird Beard Five O’Clock Shadow (yes, really). More options, should you need them, are bottled in the fridge. We can see why the this place describes itself as ‘a delicatessen of beer’.
The winter menu looked very tempting, with stodge classics like cottage pie, fish pie and lamb kofta. The small but well-sourced wine list is specifically chosen to match the food offerings. They even do a decent cup of tea.
Decor is sparse, with white walls and dark wooden furniture. In place of art, we clock a selection of big newspaper headlines from the 20th century: “Man walks on Moon”, “Death of John Lennon”, “Berlin Wall Falls”. Well, we are just off Fleet Street. The downstairs bar is fairly small, but there’s an equivalent space upstairs if things are getting cramped.
A welcome addition to an area more often associated with classic ye olde pubs.