Category Archives: drinks!

Our Neighbourhood: Bare Brew opens in Wanstead

Wanstead is blessed with some of the best places to eat & drink in East London – and the offering has gone up a notch with this summer’s opening of Bare Brew.

Found at number 7 on Wanstead High Street, the cafe has a light and creative feel. More Shoreditch than Snaresbrook really! We’re big fans of the wallpaper (when you see it, you’ll know what we mean…), the super-cool paintwork and design.

Just hanging today…

A post shared by Bare Brew (@barebrew) on

Its owned and run by Gemma & Lisa; two women with a passion for coffee, fitness, arts & music.

So, what about the menu? It has awesome Square Mile coffee,  Hans Sloane hot choc, Tea & The Gang teas and daily smoothie specials. Food-wise; there’s tempting cakes, and changing brunch and lunch menus.

It seems like a great place to get some work done too. Has free wifi, USB ports and even offers pre and post workout snacks.  Kids are welcome, there’s board games etc and Bare Brew is really doggy friendly too. There’s plenty of treats for four-legged friends.

The CultureJukebox team will definitely be regulars here.. We think it’ll be a great place for late-opening and live-music too.. Watch this space! Find out more about Bare Brew here.


On Beer: East London’s Burgeoning Beer Mile (and a bit)

The CultureJukebox team are fond of a real ale or two (or three or four…)  So, it’s great to hear about some awesome new breweries opening up close to our home in East London.

In fact, the team here thrilled that some of these new breweries are putting purpose before profit too. Opening up near each other, this new brewing scene is top tribute to a fantastic beer culture that is brewing in our corner of the capital.

So, what’s new?

The Magic Spells Brewery, Leyton

The newest and latest independent Craft Brewery in East London currently produces three bottled beers:  A Craft Lager, a Pale Ale (called Hackney Hare) and an IPA.

Magic Spells’ beers are a somewhere between modern brewing techniques and old styles and methods; taking inspiration from classics and adding a modern twist. The brewery creates distinct flavour profiles for the beers – an up front and bold hoppy flavour, a satisfying bite to the beer, smoothly balanced due to a nice malty body and warming alcohol.

The brewery sources most of the malt used in its beers from the UK plus British hops boosted by punchy flavoured hops from New Zealand and America.

It was founded by Jas Hare, an Eastender born-and-bred, who has a fantastic track record in the drinks industry as well as being a craft beer enthusiast.

Magic Spells Beers are available in both 330ml and 500ml bottles with an RRP of £2.49 and £2.99 respectively. They’re all available online, and in venues around London too.


Nirvana Brewery, Leyton

Another new brewery for 2017, Nirvana does something completely different. A low / no-alcohol brewery – sure a great idea for our increasingly health-conscious times.

It’s the UK’s only micro brewery dedicated to zero and low ABV craft beers. Beers on offer include Mantra (an IPA at 0.7% ABV), Kosmic (a stout at 0% ABV), and Chakra (a stout at 1% ABV). The team at Nirvana promise “no compromises” on flavour, so we’re excited about our first visit!

Pretty Decent Beer

Opening up just down the road in Forest Gate, Pretty Decent Beer Co has just opened its doors.

On Sheridan Road in Forest Gate, near Cann Hall Road, this brewery looks like one to watch. The team promise: “We make decent beer and do decent things with the money you spend drinking it. We brew our beer in London and every bottle helps to fund sustainable water projects around the world.”


The CultureJukebox team hasn’t had chance to visit yet, but this brewery promises to be really superb – we like what we’ve seen on Instagram so far.

And Pretty Decent Beer Co is just a few minutes walk from some of Forest Gate’s best independent venues – The Wanstead Tap for an incredible selection of real ale and provocative programming, Burgess & Hall for beautiful wines; and the quirky and delicious Hawkes cider HQ.


A proper round-up of some of Forest Gate, Leyton and Leytonstone’s best watering holes for this summer is coming soon. Where do you think should be on the list? Send us a Tweet and let us know where we should visit..


On Food: Zona N16 Opens in Stoke Newington – we try it out

The CultureJukebox team are fond of a delicious morning treat out on occasion, so it was great to hear about a new addition to Stoke Newington’s burgeoning breakfast cafe scene – Zona N16.

The space is a gastro-cafe by day, serving artisanal hot drinks and light bites brunch menu. Wines, cocktails and craft beers by night.

So, what did we think?

Zona N16 is right at the end of Church Street and about a 15 minute steady meander up from Dalston Kingsland.  Stepping in off the busy Stoke Newington High Street, the first thing that greets you is the sense of space and calmness.

It’s more impressive inside than out; nicely complimented by wonderfully friendly staff, with customers ranging from couples on dates, families enjoy a Sunday brunch out and hipsters-that-should-know-better cooking up something creative on their Macbooks.


Zona N16’s decor is superb, boasting clean lines and tasteful furniture with plenty of elbow room. A state-of the-art Kees van der Western coffee machine takes pride of place as you step in.

Q) What do you call a day without coffee? A) Depresso. ~ image c/o Zona N16

After a silky smooth cappuccino, it was time to place our order.

I went for Smoked Salmon Benedict, served on a fragrant croissant with mustard hollandaise and a sliced gherkin. It was served with avocado too. The salmon was full of flavour, the fragrant croissant was a unique twist on the brunch classic – this was a delicious portion of food. After running the Hackney Half Marathon the day before, I was hoping for a bit more carbs on the plate! But it was a truly delicious.

My significant other had the granola bowl and ordered the sourdough toast too. This was a lighter option, but really satisfying. The yoghurt was creamy, the granola had a true luxury crunch and the sourdough toast? Well, you’re in Stoke Newington. It just has to be done.

After lolling about, enjoying the atmosphere and great service we decided to order a dark hot chocolate drink as a pud. This was perhaps a bit too indulgent, but was a decadent finish to a sublime Stokey sustenance.  We’ll definitely be back!

On Ideas: Adopting An Apple Tree in Northern Sweden

The CultureJukebox team love to hear about ideas that can make a difference to the world around us. So was great to hear about a brilliant new apple adoption scheme in Sweden.


Here’s what the press release has to say:

Sweden’s award winning maker of cider, Brännland Cider AB, is offering its Ice Cider on Michelin Star restaurants around the world, just a few years after its founding. The company now wants to give something back to the soil it depends upon and invites everyone to come along for a project, researching sustainable ecological growth of apples for making an even better product, up in the North of Sweden.

Brännland Cider is the living proof that a vision can go a long way, showing that the unimaginable can be done. In the course of 6 years, the company has succesfully launched its award winning Ice Cider, a product perfectly suited for the Nordic climate.

In October 2016 Brännland Cider planted 1000 apple trees at Röbäcksdalen outside Umeå in the North of Sweden. This orchard is the start of a new apple domain and terroir in both Sweden and Europe and will in time spawn great cider. But, it will also be a centre of research, learning and education on apple growing in the North where all results will be shared to promote science and sustainability in the name of ecology and forward thinking.

Brännland Cider is now inviting the public to be a part of the terroir for making great cider but also to help develop more eco friendly Northern orchards. Apart from supporting the shaping of a renewed and enriched Northern landscape, every donor will get its name on one of the trees, be invited to participate in the yearly harvest feast on location and also get a chance to try the fresh cider from the actual trees before anyone else. Discover more on Kickstarter here.

What a cool idea! Check out the website here.

On Beers: The Bear Is Back! Hofmeister lager returns

The CultureJukebox team are fond of a beer or two, so it’s great to hear about the return of an old favourite after a 13-year hibernation..

Hofmeister has returned with a brand new product, look and taste. Hofmeister is now an authentic Helles lager, made in Bavaria.

This commitment to traditional Bavarian brewing means that Hofmeister complies with the 500 year old German Beer Purity Law, the ‘Reinheitsgebot’. This law, adopted in Bavaria in 1516, limits the Helles lager recipe to three ingredients: water, barley and hops.

Cheers Lads!


Working with a fourth generation family-owned brewery nestled on the edge of Ebersberger Forest, Hofmeister’s new recipe is as Bavarian as it can be, using only pure mineral water from the brewery’s own well, locally grown barley malted in the brewery’s own Malthouse and hops from the world-famous neighbouring Hallertau region.

 Hofmeister has been brought back by a team of beer-loving British entrepreneurs who believe the time is right to bring the taste of a genuine ‘Bearvarian’ Helles lager to the UK.

We’re hoping to try out the beer sooner rather than later! Follow The Bear on Twitter for more news.


On Trends: Personalisation and Crafting your own Chivas Regal whisky

The CultureJukebox team is always on the look-out for trends that way we see the world around us, so it was intriguing to spot the Chivas Regal space that’s opened up in East London. A real-world demonstration of classic craft, making, and personalisation.

It offers people the chance to craft their very own blended Scotch whisky under the guidance of experts in an intimate setting in Shoreditch.


Chivas Regal is the world’s first luxury Scotch whisky (we did not realise that!) and has launched The Blend. This space is an exclusive whisky bar and ‘Art of Blending’ experience.

The Blend offers a unique opportunity to create your own bespoke, blended whisky. Each experience offers an Art of Blending’ session from Chivas Regal whisky experts.

It’s a chance to learn about the heritage, history and origins of single malt and grain whiskies, tasting examples from Speyside, Islay, the Highlands and Lowlands as well as delicate grain Scotch whisky.

It’s always good to learn too! On this experience you see how the spirit is ‘blended’ to create the distinctive Chivas Regal house style.

And here’s one of the best bits: everyone can create and take home your very own blended whisky to enjoy too!

Follow the hashtag #MyChivasBlend for more information. The experience is taking place at the Truman Brewery (91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QR) and is open until December 4th. Check out the website for more information here.


On Beer: The Great British Beer Festival

As anyone who has followed the CultureJukebox team for a while will already know, we’re partial to a drop of real now and again.

So, we’re really looking forward to this year’s Great British Beer Festival. It’s organised by the dedicated and hard-working team from Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) – and is a must-attend for real ale fans from around the country.

The event offers visitors more than 900 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers. Visitors can also enjoy fantastic entertainment, food, seating areas, and traditional pub games too. We’ll be there on Saturday – drop us a line if you’re around!

Great British Beer Festival: c/o CAMRA
Great British Beer Festival: c/o CAMRA

And if you want to know more, check out some of the authors who are sharing their beer wisdom at the event here.  Tickets and timings are all on the festival website here. Cheers!

On Music: Biggest Beach Music Festival Comes To London

As if the warm weather isn’t summery enough, this week we heard about London’s biggest ever beach festival coming to the capital. And it sounds like a cracker.

On July 30th, Corona will be bringing the sunset moment to life at this year’s Corona SunSets Festival at the Greenwich Peninsula. Organisers promise a party to remember – transforming the venue with sand, stages and bars.

The music is enough to get you excited. Some of the talent lined-up to headline the two main stages include Robin Schulz, Felix Jaehn, Sam Feldt, Norman Jay MBE, Nightmares on Wax and Crazy P Soundsystem, and many more - promising a progressive selection of music from chilled acoustic beach tunes to upbeat, melodic and deep house.

We went to one of the Corona SunSets parties in Ibiza a couple of years ago, and it was one of the highlights of our fortnight on the White Isle. Good times.


image from previous Corona Sunsets event
image from previous Corona Sunsets event

At the party in London, people will also be able to experience a true transformation through an array of activities; including eclectic musical performances, sunset rituals and shows, beach games and golden sunset tattoo and body painting to initiate guests into the SunSets Tribe. There will also be a selection of delicious food options and specialty dishes to choose from, positioned alongside market stalls where local merchants will be selling handmade items.

For more information on the Corona SunSets events around the UK and to buy tickets to the London event visit here.

On Festivals: Brooklyn Beer’s Epic Beer Mansion Comes To Dalston

The creative folks at Brooklyn Beer are throwing a big East London party with a difference this week.. The brand’s Beer Mansion is a special multi-room experience and is unlike any beer festival you’ve seen before.

The CultureJukebox team are there, this one looks like an event not to be missed. It takes place at M.C. Motors in Dalston on Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14. Tickets are just £10 and are available here.

This beer festival is a unique beer-fuelled choose-your-own-adventure immersive experience. Here’s what the invite says: “Plunge into the Barrel Aging Room with the inimitable Gabe Barry for a look inside the magic of barrels with some of our rarest and most experimental beers. Rethink all things dank, bitter, and tropical in the IPA Room with some help from local brewing friends, a few bottles of our own, and a killer vinyl-only DJ. Grab a handful of food and beer pairing tips with Brooklyn Chef and Head of Culinary Programming Andrew Gerson and one of his most tactile dishes. You might even run into Brooklyn Brewmaster Garrett Oliver prowling the grounds. Step outside to the Courtyard for live music from The Graveltones and Messenger (streamed for the folks at home by Hotel Radio), games, fresh pizza from Voodoo Ray’s truck, and yes, you guessed it– more beer!”

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.48.27

The £10 ticket offers access to the mansion, beers from Brooklyn Brewery and some local brewing friends, and plenty of other surprises. See you there!




On Drinks: An Unconventional Bartender Challenge

One of the CultureJukebox team’s favourite whisky brands is launching a new competition for the UK’s most kick-ass bartending talent.

The 2016 is encouraging bartenders to rip up the rulebook and forget everything they know about traditional bartender competitions. It will have more regional heats, a grand final at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, and the grand prize of a fully stocked pop-up at London Cocktail Week for the winner.

Last year, more than 150 bartenders from all over the country took part in the championship, with the Dead Parrot team from West Sussex walking away with nearly £13,000 in takings at their London Cocktail Week bar.

This year, bartenders will not be required to sign up in a team as each contestant will compete as an individual throughout the entire competition. Both professionals and amateurs are eligible to enter, with the only requirements being a love of bartending, a passion for creating great drinks, and a minimum age of 18, of course.

Throughout April and May, the Monkey Shoulder UBC tour bus will rock up in towns and cities across the UK, kicking off with the first heat in Aberdeen on the 17th of April. Challenges include rounds on Knowledge, Mixing, Pouring, and Nosing as well as back of house organisational skills such as Stock Take. Testing on Tray Service and Round Building will also be included as part of the Regional Heats. To raise the stakes, all entrants will be scored and ranked on a national—and worldwide leaderboard hosted online for all to see.

“This year’s UBC is going to be epic! We’ve made it easier than ever to sign up, and we’re running even more heats than last year so that more people will have a chance to compete. Think of it as a mash up of Tough Mudder, Britain’s Got Talent, The Apprentice and Eurovision for the bartending community – but much more fun and rewarding of course. It really supports and nurtures the next generation of bartenders so we encourage anyone who loves bartending to enter, either to springboard a burgeoning career in the industry or as a platform for showcasing already awesome bar skills.” ~ Monkey Shoulder brand amBADASSador Grant Neave

To register as a contestant or a spectator for Monkey Shoulder’s Ultimate Bartender Championship visit the website.