Along Kingsland Road’s line of graffiti-painted storefronts sits Stokey Bears’ vibrant new Haggerston location. Despite being a recent addition to the street, the site fits right in and looks as if it was always meant to be there. It’s a small venue that makes full use of its space with a bright interior and plentiful seating options either at tables out front, inside opposite its bar, or outside in its beer garden. In this summer weather, it only made sense we take advantage of the outdoor space complete with chalkboard walls, flower pots on each table and string lights hanging overhead.
At Stokey Bears, you know exactly what to expect – it’s a burger haven. But it’s also a place that makes you feel cool for sticking to the norm. Its menu greets you with a range of candidly named bears, everything from a spiced bean burger Koala Bear (£8) to a more menacing Greedy Bear (£14), combining two double oak smoked bacon burgers into one. I went for an Angry Bear (£9), a spicy cheeseburger that tasted faintly of jerk seasoning with Helluvapino relish. After begging the waiter to dish on the secret to their mouth-watering sauce, we learned that green jalapeño was the special ingredient.
On the side, we opted for a basket of deep-fried hot wings (£6.50) and cheesy fries (£5), the ultimate comfort food. I had a Pimm’s Lemonade to wash it all down, a subtle medley of Pimm’s, prosecco, lemonade and fruits where no one flavour stuck out more than the other. It tasted just as good as its presentation, leaving me with an Instagram-worthy lemon and strawberry-lined glass once I downed it all. Stokey Bears does street food right, offering everything you’d want from a cool market stall but in a laidback environment fit for holding a spirit in one hand and colourful chalk in another.
Stokey Bears is open from 4pm to 11pm Monday through Friday, and 10am to 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays. You can find it at 480 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AE.