The Sun Tavern in London’s East End finds new life with The Umbrella Project team
The team behind east London’s cocktail hideaway Discount Suit Company have unveiled their second bar, transforming an East End boozer with food, beer and classic mixed drinks. Dating back to 1851, the Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green Road has had many of its original features restored alongside vintage, industrial-style design touches.
It is the latest venture from The Umbrella Project, made up of a creative team of drinks industry insiders: Andy Kerr, formerly at bar operators The Columbo Group, All Star Lanes and Living Ventures, with Stephen Thompson and Ali Tatton, both of Mixology Events (pictured below). They opened Discount Suit Company in the basement of an old clothes shop in the Petticoat Lane area of Spitalfields in January but their plan has always been to provide Londoners with “a greater variety of venues in exciting and eclectic neighbourhoods, celebrating immaculately crafted and affordably priced classic cocktails”.
At The Sun Tavern, the drinks menu reflects this with a selection of six classic mixed drinks, including a number based on forgotten pre-war recipes as well as signature creations. Playing homage to the tavern theme, the menu also features a range of single-serve punches inspired by 18th-century recipes and served in beautiful individual tankards (pictured below) or vintage punch bowls for sharing. Highlights from the menu include The Bogcutter, made with poitín, apricot brandy, amontillado sherry, honey water and ginger, and Jaques de Soares, combining rhum agricole and Cuban rum with velvet falernum, Angostura Bitters, honey water and lime juice, topped with prosecco.
Like Discount Suit Company, the Sun Tavern is championing poitín, the traditional Irish moonshine-style spirit made from malted barley alongside a large selection of Irish whiskeys, expertly chosen by Galway-born general manager Ciaran Duffy.
They have also introduced an exciting beer list which will change every three months, featuring a selection of “Local Hero” fine ales sourced from east London microbreweries, as well as a unique Sun Tavern house lager and pale ale, all poured from a stunning custom-made copper dispenser set against the bar’s back wall. Wines are supplied by Borough Wines and feature just one red, white and prosecco as well as an English sparkling wine from Nyetimber.
Currently open from 5pm, the Sun Tavern plans to start opening from 9am to serve pastries and freshly brewed coffees from Bethnal Green’s Square Mile roaster. It will also offer classic bar snacks, with pork pies, scotch eggs and deluxe grilled sandwiches, using breads sourced from local east London bakeries and cheeses from Neal’s Yard. It is open till 11pm Sunday to Tuesday, till midnight Wednesdays and Thursdays and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Formerly known as The Sun Inn, the pub was built in 1851 and has been a local favourite ever since, attracting regulars such as the Kray twins and east London’s boxing fraternity. Renovations have revealed the history and character of the building, with the original exterior tiles now on show and the newly exposed interior brick work dotted with 19th-century detailing and decoration.
A wooden, copper-topped bar forms a centrepiece, mirroring the natural curve of the room, lined with high stools and illuminated by industrial-style lights above. Deep reds run through the furniture, from the table stools to the leather banquette seating. The Sun Tavern has its own record player and collection of rock ‘n’ roll albums which guests are encouraged to choose from and add to – described as “the very antithesis of a soulless digital jukebox”.
The Sun Tavern, 441 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AN
Tel: 020 3131 5363