Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Old Fountain

In a gross overestimation of this blog’s popularity and with a somewhat overoptimistic view of the breadth of our readership, we had something of a crisis of conscience. With the 14 degree heat of the pale English sun blazing down on us like Promethean fire, we realised that most of the bars we send our readers to are in basement warrens which are more Watership Down than Alice in Wonderland. Our poor readers, who definitely use this blog as their only source of London drinking information, were going to have nowhere to sit outside with a Pimms in thick jumpers wishing they didn’t live in bloody England. Fortunately for all(/both) of you, we’re finally reviewing some places suitable for people who don’t suffer from acute Photodermititis.  We reckon that these will prove especially useful now that it’s even more damp outside my flat than in (a rarity) and the prospect of more sunshine seems as likely as a primary school teacher saying, "Today, children, we’re going to listen to Lost Prophets before watching Animal Hospital and if you’re well behaved then a local celebrity will fix it for you to have you dreams come true."

With that in mind I would like to introduce to the Old Fountain. It’s just off Old Street Roundabout and is easily recognisable from the fact that it looks just like all the other pubs in London which you don’t really want to go into for fear of being accosted by a drunk Scottish CAMRA member insistent on teaching you life lessons at 3pm on a Sunday. Don’t be put off and keep your eyes on the prize. Remember you’re here to get yourself a nice drink and enjoy it in the sunny spells of a lukewarm day. Even when you notice that the inside looks a bit like it might have been used on the set of Shameless or This is England, stay focussed on that nice refreshing lager that you’ll soon be enjoying. Even when you realise that for no ostensible reason there’s a fish tank which looks like its contents have been caught in Regent’s Canal, keep thinking about the tan that you’re probably/maybe/definitely not going to get after an afternoon on the...wait for it...roof terrace. That’s right, after 382 words of rambling nonsense, I’ve finally got to the point.

The Old Fountain has a perfect roof terrace for summer boozing. Due to something to do with weather, it catches the sun and stays sheltered from the wind. Handily, it also has umbrellas and heaters for those British summer days which one could easily mistake for the Arctic Tundra in December. 

Now, connoisseurs of the Shoreditch roof top bar scene, a) need to get a hobby and b) will know that there is another roof top bar a stone’s throw from the Old Fountain and might wonder why I’m not reviewing that one instead. I am, of course talking about the Golden Bee. I’ll finish this convoluted diatribe with a few notes on their comparative merits.

First off; reasons to go to the Golden Bee:

  1. You can leave and go to the Horns strip pub directly underneath it.

I can’t think of any others so now onto reasons to go to the Old Fountain instead:

  1. It’s not absolutely packed with trilby sporting half-wits and extras from The Only Way is Essex in white suits checking their watches to make sure they don’t miss the last train back to Romford. They’re all busy showing off their diamante ear studs to other people I never want to meet in the Golden Bee. In fact, the Old Fountain isn’t packed full of anyone. One of its main attractions is that the Londoners flocking to find a beer garden as soon the sun comes out, as if they’d spent the last few months trapped in a Chilean mine, don’t know about it;

  2. The drinks selection is extraordinary. Yes it’s summer so most of you will order either Corona, Pimms or Bulmers which makes the variety of interesting inebriators on tap somewhat obsolete. Yes, rather than learn anything about food or drink we prefer to compensate for our own mediocrity by making snide, ill-thought remarks about CAMRA meetings. But, from what little sense I can glean from the mire of half-memories of my Sunday there, there was some pretty ok stuff at the bar. (That’s right Timeout, let’s see you come up with criticism as well observed and hard hitting as this);

  3. You will never, ever see any of us in there. If you’ve met us you’ll understand why that’s a good thing. If you were there that fateful Sunday, you’ll understand why we’re about as welcome there as a hug in a burns unit. In the full knowledge that my mother is reading this and that our half-arsed attempts at anonymity have, like any other good idea we’ve ever had, failed completely, I will spare you most of the details. In short, we found the perfect summer pub. Let’s not ruin it by getting too drunk, we said. Let’s not throw stools around while we pretend to be spiderman like simple-minded overgrown man-children, we said. Let’s not help ourselves to pints from behind the bar, we said. Let’s not make out with each other for no reason, we said. Let’s not...I can’t, I’ve already said too much. 

Yeah we can’t go there anymore. You can. You should take advantage of that fact. Don’t make the same mistakes we did. Keep your clothes on. I’m so sorry.

The Old Fountain
3 Baldwin Street

020 7253 2970


  1. Are you guys still writing anything? I miss your ramblings.

  2. Thank you for Great Article!!
    Golden Bee is a new city lounge & cocktail bar located on Old Street of Shoreditch, London with a newly refurbished upstairs bar, terrace & spacious rooftop bar & area.