Same again please!: Hackney boozer retains ‘Beard-Friendly Pub of the Year’ award

Beards and beers: The Cock Tavern "bristles with beard friendliness"
Bristling with beer: The Cock Tavern in Hackney Central

Hackney Central watering hole The Cock Tavern has retained its status as a haven for the hirsute after again winning the ‘Beard-Friendly Pub of the Year’ award.

The results of an online poll organised by anti-pogonophobia campaign group Beard Liberation Front (BLF) were announced on 13 January.

Over 5,000 votes were counted and The Cock triumphed for the second year in a row, ahead of new entrants Tom’s Taphouse and Brewery in Crewe and High Cross in Tottenham.

BLF inspectors surveyed a number of pubs for beard friendliness in the last few months of 2018, trimming them down to a final shortlist of 22.

The campaign group’s founder Keith Flett said: “The Cock in Hackney continues to be the benchmark for the Beard-Friendly Pub [award], but the numbers of establishments that meet the broad criteria are increasing every year, reflected in the fact that the three runners-up weren’t even on the poll in 2018.”

The Cock was also a joint winner in the 2017 awards, sharing the honours with Stoke Newington’s Jolly Butchers.

The criteria for a pub’s beard-friendliness include “welcoming the hirsute and often having a number of hirsute customers, including but certainly not confined to those with modern styles of beards”.

A pub may also exude a beard-friendly ambience if there are “some bearded bar staff” and beard-friendly beers on offer.

But the BLF says it “welcomes diversity in both appearance and drinking” and that the “truly beard-friendly pub will have a genuine mix of customers, not just a load of old blokes grumbling about life”.

A number of the borough’s pubs were in the running for this year’s award, including The Axe, The Chesham Arms and The Experiment.

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