East

Looking for a pub to play darts in East London? Look no further, friend. The best pubs from Hackney to Aldgate.

Electricity Showrooms - Shoreditch

If you don't want to pay top dollar to pay darts at Flight Club then Electricity Showrooms offers a hipster Shoreditch alternative. It's not a good darts experience, but at least it's free. Having been disappointed to find the board out of action at the Old Fountain (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/old-fountain-shoreditch) we entered Electricity Showrooms more than a little apprehensively. Surely this place doesn't have a dartboard. Is this some kind of Punk'd style prank where we're tricked into going to a cool bar before the art students laugh at our old man interests? But no, there it is, a dartboard opposite the stairs at the back of the bar. A poorly lit, difficult to reach, after-thought of a board. But a board nonetheless. Located opposite the neon lightbulb peacock, it's fair to say this isn't your typical game of arrows, and the board was almost certainly intended as retro pub decoration rather than with any practical use in mind. You have to climb over the sofa to collect your arrows after each throw, and the game is frequently interrupted by barstaff emptying the recycling. However the pub is spacious enough that you can throw in peace at least and you don't have to pay for the privelege. All the while bathed in that calming neon peacock glow. You don't get that at Ally Pally.

The Albion - Bethnal Green

Popular West Bromwich Albion themed pub in the heart of East London. It's more than a little surprising to find this monument to West Brom football club in the back streets of Hackney, not least that having been to West Bromwich, the locals didn't seem particularly fond of the football team in their own home town. Mind, Tony Pulis was in charge at the same time, so perhaps that's understandable. 10 minutes walk from Cambridge Heath station brings you to this cosy pub, decked out in all sorts of memorabilia from West Brom's glory years (citation needed). To the left of the bar is a small darts area, featuring a dartboard in decent nick and a slightly confusing electronic scoreboard. There's no oche on the floor so you can use your best guess for the distance. The pub does get busy, particularly on nights with big football matches and there's little space to spare so taking up the full length for a darts match is a little unfair. Well worth factoring this into your decision and trying elsewhere if a game is scheduled for that evening.All in all en enjoyable slice of the West Midlands for a game of darts in East London.

The Perseverance - Hackney

Half as full as every other pub in Hackney means twice the chance for darts. Wednesday night in East London, Spurs are playing West Ham with both flying high in the table, and it's late February so there's nothing to do but go to the pub. Yet somehow the Perseverance is empty. Something must be up with this place. Violent locals? Stale scratchings? password for the wi-fi? A mystery. But the darts is fine. A decent board in good condition, plenty of space and little competition for the right to throw. While the Albion down the road gets too busy to raise your throwing arm, at the perseverance its a much calmer game.

Still and Star - Aldgate East

Double boards at a cosy pub in the city. Directly across the road from the tube exit for Aldgate station is this small L-shaped pub dedicated to the darts. Both ends of the bar are dominated by dartboards, with marked-out oches and electronic scoreboards. Sofas line the side of the bar facing the board, so if you're not playing darts then you'll certainly be watching someone play darts. Most nights of the week see scheduled league matches, so turning up unannounced is unlikely to get you a game. The quality is evidently pretty high, with at least five 180s being celebrated by the players we watched. This in no way influenced our decision to walk away rather than wait and then let these lads watch our game (five...five... double one).

Cheshire Cheese - Aldgate

Large pub on the steps of Fenchurch Street station, offering darts upstairs, in between traffic light parties. The third stop on our tour of Aldgate's darts pubs brought us to the Cheshire Cheese in the heart of the city. Where the previous pubs had been small and overcrowded, the Cheshire Cheese was large and comfortable, filled with casual drinkers watching the football. Upstairs you can find a single dart board and scoreboard with plenty of room. At the time of our visits the pub was promoting it's upcoming traffic light party, which sounds like a curious affair to hold at a darts pub. Darts players need love too I suppose, and I for one, fully anticipate finding it at the Cheshire Cheese traffic light party.

Three Lords - Aldgate

City pub possessing a Dartboard, but accessing it is another matter. Located in the heart of the city, close to Aldgate tube station the Three Lords makes an ideal starting place for darts pub crawl around Aldgate, an area blessed with an abundance of darts pubs. The issue with such a crawl is that the area is so popular that many of the boards will have been taken long before you arrive, and the board at the Three lords is equally unusable. The Three Lords is slightly different in that the board is located in the function room downstairs and in order to use this, the bar requires a barman to be present. Evidently our party looked like the kind of incorrigible scoundrels likely to abuse an unmanned bar so darts was off the menu at this gastropub.

The Black Horse - Brick Lane

Quiet unassuming pub within walking distance of Brick Lane. Boasting two boards and a convenient location this is a tidy little pub to keep in mind if ever you find yourself in need of a drink before a Brick lane Curry. Downstairs the bar was more crowded with tables than punters on our visit, which made the board a little inaccessible, and can only imagine it would have been worse on a busy night. The boards in the pub seem like a bit of an afterthought, positioned wherever there was space, rather than in a carefully thought out position. That said, we'll never criticise a board being squeezed into a pub that would have otherwise been dartless (and thus soulless). The Upstairs board is curiously placed overlooking the stairs and next to the open kitchen. This makes ascending the staircase a trial of avoiding bounce-outs and unreliable drunkards. An inconveniently positioned pillar breaks up the flow of play, but is at least home to an electronic scoreboard. All is forgiven, pillar. Provided you don't mind an audience of board kitchen staff this is otherwise a perfectly fine board for play.