The notorious pub on Mare Street has opened its doors once again, but there have been some big changes

If you were fond of a night out in East London in the mid-noughties, it’s highly likely you spent a very late night/early morning at The Dolphin. With its 4am closing time on Fridays and Saturdays, The Dolphin was the place you’d head to when you weren’t quite ready to call it a night – it was basically the unofficial afters spot for every and any occasion from festivals to ‘just one quick pint after work’, and for years it had the best Twitter account going. Looking back, the combination of sticky floors, shit drinks, even worse loos, bad karaoke (shout out to the misspelled ‘Dolphin’ sign by the monitor), overcrowded garden/smoking area, and sweaty dancefloor doesn’t sound like the recipe for a good time but the madness and mayhem of The Dolphin was why its devotees loved it so much.

Unsurprisingly for such a rowdy venue, there was often trouble – its late licence was revoked once back in 2013 after a spate of thefts (though it was successfully reinstated the following year) and after an assault incident in the autumn 2021, The Dolphin was forced to close and it’s been shut ever since. Now the pub has finally reopened and though it looks much the same inside, apart from some new stools and a tidier beer garden, there’s been one massive change. The opening hours, the thing that contributed to the magic of the place, have gone from 4am closes on Fridays and Saturdays to 12.30am. Only time will tell if it draws the crowds back again.

163 -165 Mare St, London E8 3RH

Photo credit: Ewan Munro