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New year, new start for The Great Eastern, Isle of Dogs

29 January 2020

The festive season may be over but Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf residents and businesses, still have reason to celebrate.  Building work starts on 20 January on a major £587,000 refurbishment of The Great Eastern on Glenaffric Avenue by Heineken owned Star Pubs & Bars1 and new licensees, Laura Lythall and Sam Hawkes of The Ship Inn, Canary Wharf. 

The Great Eastern will close at end of service on 17 January reopening as The Waterman’s Arms in early-April in time for the Easter Holidays. 15 new jobs will be created on the back of the investment which will see the wet-led grade 2 community pub and hostel transformed into a top-quality neighbourhood bar with ensuite accommodation, offering stand-out, food, drink and service.

The interior is being opened up to provide seating for 70 and the bar extended through the pub’s two main rooms, with a raised snug created at the back of the pub.  There will be table service with customers able to eat or drink anywhere in the pub.  

The snug area will have an opulent outside-in feel with plants, oversized hanging lampshades and an eclectic mix of furniture.  The main bar areas will have a stripped back feel with exposed brick and timber beams and wooden tables, benches and stools and upholstered armchairs and seating.

Upstairs there will be seven luxurious individually styled ensuite boutique bedrooms. And outside, a courtyard garden is being created with a firepit and festoon lighting.

The Waterman’s Arms will open from 10am for a late breakfast, cakes and snacks followed by lunch and dinner.  Barista style, artisan coffee will be served throughout the day supplied by Bethnal Green coffee roastery, Ozone.

The menu at The Waterman’s Arms will change regularly and feature modern British cuisine and pub classics elevated to a high standard.  There will be an emphasis on seasonal produce and provenance of ingredients, from fresh fish caught off the coast of Cornwall and Longhorn beef reared in Oxfordshire to bread baked in Greenwich.

There will be small plates and bar snacks for sharing as well as more traditional dishes, daily specials and a cracking Sunday roast.

Drinks-wise, there will be craft beers and premium draught lagers such as Brixton Reliance Pale Ale and Birra Moretti as well as extensive premium gin, rum & wine ranges including biodynamic and natural wines.  There will also be high-end whiskies and signature cocktails.

Wine is a passion for Laura, who used to be a sommelier.   Prior to taking on The Ship with Sam, she worked front of house at high profile restaurants, The Palomar and Hawksmoor and at the Michelin starred, Carters of Moseley.

Sam is a seasoned veteran of the London hospitality scene, previously the head chef at The Botanist in Broadgate Circle as well as working at Opus Restaurant, The Bull and Last and the Jugged Hare.

Their plans for events at The Waterman’s Arms are to hold weekly quiz nights and host wine and craft beer tastings, food pairings and masterclasses in premium Whiskies.

Laura said: “I know The Waterman’s Arms of old, having grown up in the area. We have also run the ship for the previous four years.  So when we heard it was available to lease, we leapt at the opportunity as it has so much character, history and potential and there’s a gap in the market for a pub of this calibre.  We’re really looking forward to reviving The Waterman’s Arms, making it a focal point of the community and a destination for top quality food and drink.  It will be different from anything else in the area yet still retain a neighbourhood pub ambience.”

Will Rice Star Pubs & Bars Regional Operations Director said: “Heralded as the Best Place to Live in London by the Sunday Times this year, The Isle of Dogs now has a top-end pub to match.

“We’re delighted that Laura and Sam are taking on The Waterman’s Arms and wish them well with their plans.  They have a wealth of experience at top establishments, have run their own well-regarded local pub and know the area well. 

“Heineken is a passionate supporter of the great British pub and invested £50m in 2019 in pubs like The Waterman’s Arms ensuring they continue to be relevant to their local communities and are sustainable in the long -term. This investment will take The Waterman’s Arms to a new level and ensure it stands out from other pubs in the area.”

To follow progress at The Waterman see Facebook:    @thewatermanscanarywharf Instagram: @thewatermanscanarywharf.