I had been waiting a very long time (a year and a month to be exact) to go to this burger joint. As soon as I arrived back in England, my mouth was frothing with excitement at the thought of a juicy and beefy Stokey Bears' burger. The brains behind this heavenly burger restaurant is Tom Reaney, also known as 'Burger Bear Tom'. Tom began his burger venture with 'Burger Bear' pop-ups in and around London, in which he quickly found a more permanent spot at The Old Nun's Head pub in Peckham several days of the week. Tom's next venture was a restaurant of his own, and thus Stokey Bears was born - a collaboration between Burger Bear and Big Hug Brewing Company which offers the best burgers, beats and booze all in one place.
Situated along the up-and-coming Stoke Newington High Street, Stokey Bears stands out from the rest of the crowd with its reclaimed stripped back wooden exterior, luminous signs and enticing blue neon lights above the entrance. Inside, there is a DJ booth on the left in which resident DJs (some of which include Strawberry K, The London Disco Society and Horton Jupiter) deliver up some funky disco, house and techno whilst you eat and drink. Live streams can be heard at Hoxton Radio. The recycled wooden theme is carried on inside with a number of spacious booths and tables to get your beef on. Skateboards can be found atop of benches and on the walls alongside t-shirts from a local Stoke Newington skate shop (Tom's). Most of the artwork is bear-themed except for the Homer and Bart Simpson portraits (much appreciated) and a large totem pole by the bar created by Hatch. Slowly changing disco lights accompanied by disco music create a nice chilled ambience in the restaurant.
The wait was over. I finally got to tuck into one of these heavenly burgers. Stokey Bears’ burger menu options are named with their appropriate bear – greedy (everything twice, double stack), angry (cheeseburger with holy fuck sauce), and triple threat (triple stack), to name a few. After a year in Canada and still not being able to get enough of that place, obviously I chose the Grizzly - somewhat of a signature burger from the bears. Service was pretty fast and before I knew it a toasted sesame seed brioche bun, well stacked with a beef patty (sourced locally from Flock & Herd), oak smoked bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and Burger Bear’s signature Bacon Jam was in front of me. (This 12-ingredient secret sauce can be bought by the jar in various Burger Bear pop-up locations, if you're lucky - they sell out quickly!) The Grizzly burger was on point - tender and juicy patty, crispy bacon, molten cheese and drizzled in bacon jam which oozed from the sides with every bite. I'm already eagerly anticipating my next Grizzly burger...
This summer, with the help of a £36,000 Kickstarter campaign, Burger Bear collaborated with Prawnography and Relax to create The Magic Roundabout - a unique food and drinking hotspot full of mouth-watering street food, delicious coffee, craft beer, fresh cocktails and party beats in the middle of the iconic Old Street roundabout. Go and check this disco diner out! I'll be adding it to the top of my go-to list when I'm back in London!
129 Stoke Newington High St, London N16 0PH