Pub Crawls in Islington


So I know we are normally all about the coffee and the climbing but sometimes we just like to go out. This is usually to the pub and occasionally we shall go on to a club (that is open after 1am! In London these days that’s a rarity!)

So we thought we would give you a rundown of where we have been lately and what we thought. Then we realised just how many pubs we have been to (we’re not alcohamalics we swear occifer!) So we decided to split them into areas and tell you what we think of most of the pubs in each and in that we have a new segment to the blog!

Let’s begin with The Angel, Islington and where better to start than at The Wetherspoon’s Angel.

This is a fairly typical Wetherspoon’s, except it seems louder and filled with more than the usual assortment of old blokes waiting to die, there is a younger crowd and though there is still no music (Wetherspoon’s don’t pay for public music licenses) it has some atmosphere. 

What do we think: It’s alright, There is quite a lot of seating as you would except from a Wetherspoon’s and it’s fairly cheap, but it just lack any real appeal apart from a quick, cheap pint. 

The Craft Beer Company After the Beer festival We have been looking for some of the beers we sampled there. 

After a long search we found this little pub tucked away at the top of White Lion street, you would be likely to miss it unless you were looking.

WDWT?  It’s a pleasant place with some very helpful staff and a real choice in what you are drinking. The prices vary, some of the more exotic imports are vastly more expensive than others but the staff tend to tell you before you buy, which is helpful, especially when 1/2 a pint is £9! The selection included Bob’s Mojito Sour from Tiny Rebel (that everyone else hated) YAY! 

If you are a real ale drinker or a CAMRA member you probably know of this chain already, if not what are you waiting for, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere in the world!

Along Pentonville Road at the edges of our crawl is The Castle, a long standing pub with a nice beer terrace/roof (for those 2 days in the year when it is actually warm enough to go outside and enjoy a beer in the sun), unfortunately the roof overlooks the A501 and not a leafy park!

WDWT? Well it’s another of the pubs that seems to change hands every 6 months, so we haven’t been in there in its most recent incarnation, but generally it is pleasant enough but the beer selection has never been that great.

The Lexington is that pub on the corner of Penton St and Pentonville Rd on the way to King’s Cross.  It’s a pretty big place with a venue/club upstairs

WDWT? Well Ash has never had a good night here, just bad experiences so his opinion is tainted. But Bob has had some great nights here. The pub is OK  but the drinks are expensive and the club is ok, just not great. Worth a try and hopefully you’ll have a better night than Ash!

The Chapel Bar is a big place along Penton St, opposite the Craft Beer pub, but it seems a million miles away in style.

WDWT? We haven’t experienced it recently so we shall just leave it at this. It seems a bit naff and full of lager drinking loud idiots (Ash’s family drink there sometimes!)

The Three Johns used to be a Hobgoblin Pub and in its new persona it doesn’t seem to changed,

WDWT? it’s a trendy bar with strange beers and dark furniture, it seems busy all the time and has a good atmosphere, It’s just a bit ordinary and the music is crap! The drinks have always given us headaches and not really tasted that good. Plus its super expensive and the bar staff are often rather dismissive.

The Angelic is around the back of Angel, on the edges of Barnsbury.

WDWT? Very trendy inside, we have been in there a number of times and have always ended up in there with loads and loads of off duty police men, with utility belts still on, talking about “nabbing people.”

The Nags Head on the High Pavement by the N1 Centre in the heart of the shopping area.

WDWT? This is a very strange little pub, very narrow. It’s either really packed to the point of not being let in, or completely dead. The drinks are expensive and there isn’t much choice in what you’re drinking.

The Islington Town House sits on the corner of ‘Chap’ The street market and serves pots of tea during the day!

WDWT? This is one Bob has frequented – It’s got good cocktail offers on during the week, like buy 1 get 1 free, or 2 for 1 offers, etc. It’s not bad price wise too, but it never seems busy and often have Lounge Jazz and that’s why Ash won’t go in!

The York is an old pub, with a courtyard on the cobblestone street, which is nice of summer eventing but it always feels cold even on the hottest days. It is a popular pub to start off the night, being near the tube station, but it empties out pretty quickly.

WDWT? The bar staff are some of the grumpiest in London and the TV is always on REALLY LOUD and usually showing football or Sky News and the beers are really expensive. 

We have been to the Earl of Essex more than a few times now, during the week it looks almost dead but on the weekends its packed!

WDWT? It is known to our little gang as the loud pub, because there is no music, just a lot of talking and it can be loud, but not in that ‘deafening can’t understand what anyone is saying because the music is too loud’ kind of way, more from the laughter and joviality of the clientele. It’s Stocked with beers a plenty and even some home brewed casks, there is always something new to try, a range that goes from Blondes to Stouts, Ciders to Lager, all listed on a big board. The bar staff are always very friendly and are always there to help us decide what to try next. 

The Island Queen, is a rather large pub, buried down a side road and hard to find, unless you are literally down the road from it. We stumbled upon it by accident, and returned at a later date to see what it was like.

WDWT? We have been twice now. It is big and open , incredibly hight ceilings and a large bar. Though there is music playing, it seems like a monastery everyone whispering. It would be a really good place for a lock in though as the landlord often seems hungover on a Sunday (according to the signs outside). Plus there is such a huge collection of board games for you to take to the table and play with.

The Camden Head is a kind of iconic public house of the area, very traditional interior, stained glass windows, short drinks in half pint glasses and all that, that seems to be lost everywhere else. Garish carpets, english flags, outdoor beer garden that seems packed most of the time and all that jazz.

WDWT? Its alrrright, its one of those pubs that we either start the night in, or have a last drink there as its the only place still open in that area. The drinks are an ok price but they don’t have much of a selection and the fruit machines and TV’s are always blaring out.

The Steam Passage, has been there 4eva! it never seems to change and the clientele doesn’t either. Loud, leering, larger louts who harass every single woman that walks by.

WDWT? Well based on what we said above we avoid this place like the plague.

The Fox on the Green previously known as the Slug and Lettuce, got a coat of fresh paint and has become a little bit more trendy to attract a bit more of eclectic mix of peoples.

WDWT? We haven’t been in here since the renovations, having got bored of the Slug and Lettuce but we keep meaning to because we have heard good things. Apparently they do nationality themed nights. Maybe we will come back to this time and tell you what we think.

The Bull is one of those pubs we always come back to, always busy, always filled with interesting people.

WDWT? As we said this place is an old favourite, it’s not somewhere that you would want to spend all night but if someone asks ‘where should we go?’ The Bull is often the answer.

Slim Jim’s Liquor Store is hardly noticeable from the outside, crammed in-between an Ice cream shop and a gallery.

WDWT? This is another of Bob’s places, Its a very narrow bar hence the name. Bra’s hanging from the ceiling and a Coyote Ugly type vibe to it. It’s not a bad place it’s just so cramped the busier it gets the more uncomfortable it becomes, it’s like rush hour on the tube.

The King’s Head has been there forever, repetitively under threat of closure, but it’s still standing.

WDWT? Well Ash drank in here years ago when it was run by some old school friends, it was notorious for lock ins till 6am, so its always had a place in his heart. Since then it went through a number of changes of ownerships and became very dull  and more directed at the theatre goers. Recently however it seems to have changed yet again and regained some of its youth, we will endeavour to go again soon.

The Old Queen’s Head on Essex Road is a pub and club venue of note.

WDWT? The pub isn’t bad, but if you try to go in after 8pm you will be charged. There are often queues around the block for the club upstairs, so it can’t be all that bad, but be warned they do play a lot of Beyonce and have ‘Queen B Nights’ and people will throw Ice Cubes at you (this has happened more than once to us).  

The Taproom used to be a hardware store before being converted into a craft beer bar, all exposed brick, beer labels stuck everywhere and uncomfortable seating!

 WDWT? The Taproom known to us as ‘The Tampon Rooms’ due to a friends Freudian slip is another one of our bars we keep coming back to for one or two random beers. Some of the bar staff are very knowledgeable whereas others seem completely oblivious to the differences between the selections on offer.  

The Vineyard is one of those pubs that has gone through numerous changes but still remains as crap as it always was.

WDWT? We have been refused entry for wearing walking shoes, or trainers when the entire clientele are standing there in shiny white nike trainers. Its extortionately loud for such a small bar, the staff are ridiculously rude and its wall to wall orange Oompa Loompa’s and chavs galore.  

The Dead Dolls House has changed names more times than I can count but we noticed it back during Pride when it had a themed night on. Since then we had been meaning to go in.

WDWT? It actually wasn’t bad, the drinks were a tad on the expensive side (but where isn’t?) It was open for suitable length of time till 4am and there was actually a bunch of really friendly people who actually spoke to you! I know shocking right?!

So there you have it, not an entire list of every pub in the are, but a good start. We know our opinions may differ from yours but it is just that – our opinion – if you have been to any of these or any we missed out, then do let us know your thoughts (nicely please).

We will do another area soon as there are no shortage of pubs for us to visit – just so we can blog about them, of course we don’t like beer of course!!


10 thoughts on “Pub Crawls in Islington

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