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Pub Spy: The Approach Tavern, Bethnal Green

PUBLISHED: 16:55 29 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:10 05 October 2010

The Approach Tavern

The Approach Tavern

Amy Scaife © 2009

Lured by the promise of a top notch pub garden, my chain-smoking friend Kate is leaving her Highgate hideaway to join me in Bethnal Green for a drink. Since the smoking ban, she has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the capital s best pub gardens, b

Lured by the promise of a top notch pub garden, my chain-smoking friend Kate is leaving her Highgate hideaway to join me in Bethnal Green for a drink.

Since the smoking ban, she has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the capital's best pub gardens, but The Approach Tavern was, for her, an undiscovered gem.

Blazing heaters and a covered canopy ensure the spacious front courtyard is busy even when the dismal weather kicks in. Parked on a bench with a bottle of Budweiser, whilst the rain lashes down, Kate is positively beaming.

Situated in a leafy tree-lined avenue near the entrance to Victoria Park, The Approach is one of the East End's friendliest boozers, which boasts an upstairs art gallery apparently frequented by Charles Saatchi.

The pub boasts a mixed clientele of arty types floating over from Vyner Street, local families (the garden is very child-friendly) and office workers seeking a post-work glass of Chablis.

During the summer's festival season in Vicky Park, it is rammed to the rafters.

Two blackboards list the regularly changing menu, which includes a range of gastro-pub fare from burgers to Spanish Omelettes and the ever-popular Sunday roast. A main meal will set you back at least £8 with steaks going up to £12.

There's also a range of beer-soaking snacks such as an enormous plate of cheesy Nachos or chunky potato wedges.

Inside, the dimly-lit interior has a traditional feel with its mahogany bar, old pews and comfy sofas.

The bar stocks a selection of real ales, slightly pricy Czech lagers and an excellent choice of wines.

The Approach is a genuine community pub, which flirts with bohemia whilst avoiding pretension.

Even smokers on a rainy October evening would agree.

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