I have to mention Sandra at the Golden Hart in Spitalfields. EastEnders landlords Danny Dyer, Barbara Windsor and Mike Reid all had a pint in there so they could see how it's done. She’s worked there forever – and even on her own at times, when she couldn’t afford to pay any staff. She was there when Shoreditch and Hackney became hipster central, and she started hosting all the YBA parties with Gilbert & George and Tracey Emin. She’s a septuagenarian, but still keeps a hula hoop behind the bar and occasionally, when pressed, will get it out and do a bit of hula hooping. We’re doing the book launch party there, so I'm hoping she might get it out then. Also try the Palm Tree in Bow. I'm not sure how much longer he’s going to carry on, as he’s in his 80s now, but Alf is lovely and a very old-school East Ender. They have jazz guys playing over the weekend and they're all in their 80s and 90s too. It gives you a taste of how things used to be – it doesn’t even take cards! If you try to pay with card, you’re redirected to a cashpoint about half a mile down the road.
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