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The Cavalier


Picture source: Stephen Harris

The Cavalier was situated at 89 Dunbridge Street. This pub was established as the Lord Hood by 1871.  It was renamed the Cavalier by around 1991 and closed in 2001, initially becoming offices but soon falling into dereliction. Also known as the Old Cavalier.
Now demolished.
Colin Price (August 2010).
Now replaced by a block of flats.
Darkstar (July 2011)
The Old Cavalier was the best pub in London. Without any doubt. And it was my local.
I think that it was run by a bloke called Charlie, who looked like Charlie Magri, but with a proper nose (which is how I remember), and the girl behind the bar was the spitting image of Patsy Palmer.
Charlie had a cartoon of himself by the bar, there were engraved tankards above it and a red phone box in the corner, plus a whole lot of really lovely junk, and a great jukebox. And there was a really dodgy early electronic betting machine that used to eat your money and no-one ever beat.
It was tiny, and  you had to squeeze past the pool table to move anywhere. And there were lots of dogs - I think that Charlie's was a big lab that used to come and sit with you while you were drinking.
It had neon signs and wooden blinds (which would be rattled closed with a great fanfare after the bell had rung for last orders, after which we were all told to be quiet, and carried on drinking).
The effect was beautiful - like an Aladdin's cave.
Through a little passage was a quiet room in the back with double doors that opened out on to the park, and a boat made into a bookcase. There was a little hatch bar too, where it was impossible to get served.
The best bit, though, was through a little door and up a set of fire escape stairs to a tiny garden up on the single storey roof on the back of the building, crammed full of hanging baskets and coloured lightbulbs so that there was hardly anywhere to sit. It used to pack out on long summer evenings so that people would actually queue on the fire escape for a table.
This was at the time when Bethnal Green was just starting to get trendy (1994-1998, say) and it attracted a weird mix of born-and-bred locals from twenties to eighties, and artsy-fartsy new kids in town - who all got on together famously (which was a rarity in Bethnal Green).
It was a really happy pub. And London is an emptier place for its loss.
Rob Andrews
Fabulous pub – it was like an extension of our living room. I used to leave my handbag there and they’d phone up someone in my mobile address book to tell me they had it. Unfortunately they phoned my boss once as she was at the top of the list. Bit difficult to pretend I wasn’t suffering from a big night out when I got into the office that day. My best friend and I popped out for a quick pint one night that ended up at 3am. Which meant that I missed the plane I was booked on at 6am that morning to go to Amsterdam. Sorry Rob – I don’t think I ever confessed that’s why I was on a different plane to the one you were meeting…. ;-)
Fiona Quinn

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Other Photos

Picture source: Charlie Goodwin

Picture source: Charlie Goodwin

Site of The Cavalier

Picture source: Darkstar

Picture source: David Kinchlea