Before I write a review I usually have a brief nose around that there t’internet to see what else has been said about it in the past. Given that my tastes seem to be a little different to the average blogging berk with too much time on their hands I’m often surprised and downhearted to see that places I’d rather liked have been totally slated like the poor old Griffin. The Marksman seems to have bucked this trend rather well though and has quite rightly received almost universally glowing reviews.
I’ll get the bad bit out of the way first and warn you that it’s not the easiest pub to get to if you’re not particularly savvy with the good ol’ fashioned peasant wagon. It’s nowhere near a tube unless you fancy walking from Old Street through Shoreditch. It is possible to make your way here via The Royal Oak and The George and Dragon if you fancy doing a short crawl (add in the Birdcage and Nelson’s Head for a slightly messier afternoon or try this crawl).
Admittedly The Marksman doesn’t exactly look glorious on the outside with yellowing walls, a painted sign now too dark to make out and a mismatched gaggle of smokers lurking on bar stools down the side to suck down a few lungs of delicious cigarette juice….mmmmmm tar. This exterior is to be ignored. There is something I can never quite put my finger on about The Marksman which keeps making me want to get another pint and it inevitably does drag me back to its tempting little bar. On more than one occasion I’ve succumbed hopelessly to its charms and stumbled out of the door broke and totally bollocksed but feeling like it was all money well spent.
Low ceilinged, oddly laid out, softly lit, traditionally decorated and furnished. The Marksman is everything that The Royal Oak isn’t, seemingly not feeling the need to appeal to the hipster crowd by doing anything other than existing, it is devoid of the irritating hyper ‘cool’ tossers who often saturate pubs in this area.
There are always a few exotic beers to choose from alongside more standard fare such as Doom Bar and staff are usually happy to make recommendations or let you taste. Food is also consistently brilliant without breaking the bank. Best spot to sit as far as I’m concerned is on the slightly odd raised deck area near the windows at the back of the bar where you can spend a Sunday afternoon watching hipsters and yummy mummys trailing away from the nearby flower market with unfeasibly large bunches of foliage. Pop along, soak it up and hopefully you’ll agree that there is something unidentifiable but tantalisingly spot on about this pub.