The Jolly Butcher

We take a look at North London's craft beer oasis...

The Jolly Butcher

The Jolly Butcher

We take a look at North London's craft beer oasis...

If you go down to North London today you're in for a big surprise; a big craft beer surprise that is, in the shape of the Jolly Butcher on Stoke Newington High Street. Originally the watering hole of some of the area's most notorious gun-toting crooks, rumour has it that the new proprietors – who breathed a new lease of life into the Butcher as little as six months ago – had to sand down the floors just to get rid of the blood stains; and we're not talking about those of the culinary variety.


Nowadays, manager Yll (Kosovan for 'star') and the rest of his team have reinvented the Jolly Butcher to become a craft beer oasis in a North London setting. A down-to-earth interior of reclaimed wooden furniture and hip wall hangings, the Butcher offers punters an unassuming atmosphere, perfect for beer exploration and discussion.

BrewDog's been part of the Butcher's ever-changing line up of brews for about three months, during which time beers like Punk IPA, 5am Saint and Zeitgeist have even developed their own following of regulars; as Yll explains:

“People have really taken to BrewDog. A lot of our drinkers are punky people so they've fully embraced the punk ethos behind the beers. Initially people were inquisitive – “where does it come from?” “Who makes it?” When I told them it was from this insane brewery up in Scotland they were like “Scotland! They can brew this?!” Now we have regulars who come in for their daily Zeitgeist or after-work Punk IPA and get a bit upset if we've run out.”


Although Yll and the team are heading up one of London's most exciting new beer houses, they are also refreshingly honest about expertise in the field; preferring to enjoy the ride and discover exciting new beers shoulder to shoulder with their customers.

“I actually started out working in the night club scene,” explains Yll. “A thudding drum and bass night isn't exactly the best environment to pull up a pew and enjoy a good brew with your mates so when I moved into the pub industry it was a massive wake up call as to what was actually out there in terms of beer.

“Now I can really identify that there's something building up, a change in the way ordinary people approach beer. Being able to recognise tastes, aromas and house character is all part of the fun and something you don't get from mainstream beers which taste more or less the same and tend to be quite gassy.”


So, with the demand for top notch craft beer on something of an unstoppable upward trajectory it's up to folks like Yll to keep the momentum going and the interest building. In the case of the Jolly Butcher, Yll's found that a varied and dynamic list of available beers is the way forward:

“First and foremost we're passionate about beer. If you like a bit of variety in your craft beer diet then you're in for a treat at the Jolly Butcher. We especially like to source beers from small or cutting edge breweries as a way of trying to stay one step ahead of the game as well as getting hold of the beers other pubs would class as unobtainable; we're currently one of only two pubs to stock BrewDog's Hardcore IPA which is proving to be very popular.


“The type of people who drink at the Jolly Butcher also require us to stay on our toes – craft beer geeks, people who are health conscious and don't like any nonsense of gas in their beer, punks and rockers who want a drink with attitude and bite and those people who want to sit down with their friends and chat about what it is they're actually drinking – the hops, the malts, weird ingredients like passion fruit and kiwi.

“Ultimately, I think this attention to detail sits perfectly with the young crowd and subsequently is encouraging a new generation of beer drinkers to emerge. To put it bluntly, there really is nothing better than seeing a 21-year-old girl standing at the bar drinking a pint of craft beer. Times are definitely changing."


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Comments (7)

Spooner 3rd November, 2010 2:31pm
We went down here last week for my birthday. Great selection of beers, friendly staff and great food. I could not recommend this place enough. Although it is tough for me to get there, but i will be making the effort again.
Impy Malting 1st November, 2010 3:54pm
I consider this place my local; they do everything right. I will miss it terribly when I move!
Luke Meaney 31st October, 2010 11:31pm
Its really good to see BrewDog making an impact in London. I have just moved back down to London from Aberdeen and as a neighbour of your new bar there I can confidently say you guys at BrewDog have the right idea. Keep up the good work!
Phil 31st October, 2010 8:52pm
Well we've got Hardcore IPA on at The Plough in Norwich so we must be the other pub. And it's gone down well, even at 9.2%
Phil 31st October, 2010 8:52pm
Well we've got Hardcore IPA on at The Plough in Norwich so we must be the other pub. And it's gone down well, even at 9.2%
Adrian 31st October, 2010 7:16pm
Barm,they also sell amazing keg and bottle beers. They have an awesome BrewDog font and sell BrewDog beers on keg - they rock!
Barm 31st October, 2010 6:22pm
They sell a lot of cask at the Jolly Butchers, don't they?