Welcome to The Windsor Castle, a place about which it has been said on the Beer In The Evening website: "This is a pub with management that have totally lost control and I wouldn’t step foot in here again if it was the last pub standing."
Other rave reviews include: "The barmaid was quite miserable", "We had an ace time but I'm scared to go back" and: "Its major downfall is the clientele, who think nothing of openly skinning up whilst there is a young child present and think it is ok to do tricks on their BMX in the middle of the pub."
Poor child! Innocently trying to enjoy his pint in a Hackney pub and some bounder skins up in front of him.
So could The Windsor Castle really be that bad? It's not like it was at the centre of a collapsed court case in 2009 involving the alleged beating of ex-Bay City Roller Les McKeown, is it? Oh, wait... So, one godawful Saturday night, with torrents of rain giving a perhaps appropriately Old Testament feel to the streets of Lower Clapton, The Daily News and his companion stepped in to find out...
First impressions: A large pub, unlovely lighting, a general dim and damp aura. It's like a malign shade of sepia.
Four TV screens show footie while the usual sprinkling of lone males are dotted around the place,minding their own pints and business. A large back room area has men playing dominos and arguing very loudly.
Black yoots stand at the very back, shouting a lot. Shouting is big in here. We might have to raise our voices somewhat to avoid attracting suspicion.
TDN and companion sit at the bar and buy our pints. We have no wish to challenge the statement handwritten in big red letters behind the bar: "PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR CREDIT."
Twiglets to Pint: "That geezer over there's looking at us funny. Let's 'ave him."
Soon we are greeted with that mainstay of the Possibly Rough Pub: a "dead rat"-like fart, lifeless and rotting. TDN sees that this is the work not of some dead-eyed afternoon drinker but man's best friend (the one in the top picture).
We make conversation among ourselves, avoid eye contact and politely decline the cinematic offerings of an illegal DVD seller. Ah, and over there is indeed a child, perhaps the one in whose company the aforementioned joint was rolled.
Sunderland score against Arsenal, making it 1-0, and some of the youths cheer. Someone tells them to "Shut the f*** up." It's a bit of fun.
Finally TDN must venture to the lavatory and somehow makes it past the highly animated yoots without incident.
Still, I wouldn't exactly say I felt comfortable or cosy. Violence and trouble in general are definitely on the menu for those who are minded to order them.
We leave unscathed. We won't be back.
If Ross Kemp were narrating a series for ITV3 calledThe Rough Pub Guide to Britain, what line would he come out with at some point? "It might be called The Windsor Castle, but the only crown you'll find in here is in the barmaid's teeth."
Scariness factor, based on one visit: 8/10. This was the scariest pub we have been to in this series so far.