Photography by diffordsguide.com
Words by Simon Difford on 01-Aug-2015
71/72 Long Lane, (almost opposite Smithfield Market), London, EC1A 9EJ, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7726 2595
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Thu noon-11pm, Fri & Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-11pm (food Mon-Sat noon-3pm & 5pm-9:30pm, Sun lunchtime
Door: Open door
Style: Gastro pub
Recommended for: Beer, Food
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
Owned by: Pubs of Distinction
Part of the Local Beer House chain (see also Dean Swift and Hack & Hop), The Old Red Cow is best known for having 16 craft beers on draught, but this little boozer on the fringe of Smithfield Market is not all about beer, the unpretentious food served here is also great - they don't have to go far to source great meat.
A crystal chandelier hangs opulently from the ceiling in what's otherwise a distinctly utilitarian space, this tiny ground floor room only seating 30 at a push. However, the alleyway that runs alongside the pub provides valuable extra space with both overhead heater and ledges for drinks provided. The first floor lounge bar runs over this alley so is much larger than the tiny ground floor, and with its own bar open on busy evenings, is worth climbing the stairs in the quest for a table.
The taps of a dozen draught keg beers, mostly from local breweries, sprout from the steel and stainless steel back bar. While up front, rising up from the solid old-fashioned bar wooden counter, are four traditional hand pumps offering cask ales, again often locally sourced. The growing collection of pump clip badges that line the taupe/duck egg blue walls are testament to this bar's constantly evolving beer offering.
"Beer snacks & small plates" offered on the clipboard menu include "homemade scotch egg", "Dingley Dell pork sausage roll", "Welsh rarebit with brown ale" and "Padron peppers". Pub favourites such as "beer battered fish & chips" sit along cleverly named mains such as the "Tree Hugger pizza" (made with homemade dough), "Fat Cow" and "Stupid Cow" burgers. The goose fat cooked chips are delicious while the "chargrilled chicken Caesar Salad" is one of the best we've encountered with plump anchovy fillets and a quartered hardboiled egg.