Exmouth Arms, Clerkenwell

23 Exmouth Market
Clerkenwell
London
EC1R 4QL
020 3551 4772

The Exmouth Arms has a striking green tiled exterior on what is now the very cool and hipster Exmouth Market, known for its stylish and cutting edge cafes and restaurants (photos 1 & 5).

For most of its life the Exmouth has been a market pub and, as the gilded door glass shows, even had a bar dedicated to the traders (photo 4). The street market had been in operation on Fridays and Saturdays since the 1890s but by the 1980s it had declined to only a few stalls. When I worked in the area in the early noughties a regeneration project had brought the new shops and cafes but the market stalls had disappeared. In 2006 the traders restarted the market, this time on weekdays, and it is now thriving, with street food a speciality (photo 3).

The regeneration coincided with the beginnings of London’s craft beer revolution and the Exmouth’s takeover by pioneering pub company Barworks turned the pub from a run down local into a trendy and minimalist craft beer bar which is massively popular weekday evenings (photo 1). Barworks sold the pub to Urban Pubs and Bars in 2021 and it became much more food focused. It continues to sell a large range of craft, bottled and canned beers, and food is available all day.

The Exmouth dates from the 19th century but the present building was built in 1915 by the Camden Brewery. When Courage took over the pub in the 1930s they changed the tiled corner sign to display their name rather than that of Camden Brewery. They made a good stab at it but the changes are quite obvious (photo 2).

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