Photography by The Marksman
Words by Simon Difford on 21-Jan-2017
254 Hackney Road, (corner Horatio Street), London, E2 7SJ, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7739 7393
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-midnight, Fri 11am-1am, Sat 10am-1am, Sun 10am-midnight
Door: Open door
Style: Gastro pub
Recommended for: Food
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
Owned by: Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram
Sat on a prime corner on one of the approach roads to Columbia Road's Sunday flower market, this east end pub was re-launched in May 2015 under the ownership of veteran St. John chefs Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram.
The Marksman's corner situation with windows on two sides, coupled with an octagon-shaped skylight makes the dark mahogany panelled room a surprisingly bright and airy spot for brunch. By night a warm glow emitted by the vintage wall lights takes over. Banquette seating runs the perimeter walls upholstered in jade green leather with ribbed backs in the style of a vintage car. The seats and stools on the other side of the traditional cast iron-based dark wooden tables are similarly upholstered. The overall look is that of an old east end boozer that has been restored rather than refurbished.
While the interior has retained its original look and feel, the clientele has dramatically changed, with The Marksman now attracting hip shabby-chic clad Shoreditch types. The Marksman offers a choice of three cask conditioned ales, appropriately brewed by the Hackney Brewery (Red Ale, Pale Ale and Golden Ale), along with a good selection of other London brewed keg beers. The well rounded wine list includes 14 wines by the glass.
Being owned by two chefs it's not surprising that food is now a key aspect of The Marksman's offering - indeed the pub also has an upstairs dining room. Typical dishes include: Black leg chicken, Tokyo turnips, capers and anchovy; and Hached steak, dripping toast, fried onions & relish.
Criticisms are the narrow alleyway layout of the pub can make it feel cramped when busy. The food is great, but I've overheard other diners saying they find it too fancy for its pub environment - yes it's a little more serious than bangers and mash.