Pub crawls around Highbury – Barnsbury

After our posts on pubs in The Angel  we thought we would do some more, this time round we are going on a bit of a wonder around Islington’s Highbury Corner, Barnsbury and along the Holloway Road..

Let’s start with The Hope and Anchor on Upper St, we drew a line on the Angel Pub Crawl here, so we should add it as a starting point on this post.

The Hope and Anchor has been going for ever and was a big draw in the 80’s 90’s as a live band venue, with bands like Madness and Joy Division, U2 and the Manics playing there. But today it’s a mix bag, sometimes it’s awful, almost empty and full of the ‘wrong sort of people’ but sometimes it’s busy and full of random/interesting people. It still has bands playing and it is open till late, so worth a visit.

Across the road is The Little Bat, Cocktail Bar, for more detail see our review from back in April ’17. We like this place and the service is great.

The Library on Upper St plays Drum and Bass until 3am, well it has done every time we have been in there. We have been in there a few times and honestly we can’t remember anything to say about it, other than it’s dull and you do get some really ‘dodgy’ characters in there.

The Albion in Barnsbury is a pub worth visiting, it’s lovely, the beer garden is great and there is a good choice of beers and food. Be warned it does get booked out for wedding receptions in the summer and this seems a common thing as it would be a great place for a reception. Normally this means that it’s not open to the public which sucks because it is nice inside.

The Hemingford Arms looks great from the outside, we haven’t been inside yet, we keep meaning to but it’s just a bit of a trek to get to it.

The Crown is the nearest and next best alternative to The Albion (if one of those bloody weddings is on!) It’s down a quiet side road and has a small beer garden, inside it’s chunky wooden chairs and a good atmosphere. Well worth a pint or two.

The Duchess of Kent, on Liverpool Road is one that always seems busy, but we have never been in.

The Big Red, used to be a favourite of ours, A real rock bar, tattooed barmaids, heavy music and great clientele, oh and the best Halloween party. Now however the fizz has gone out of the place, it’s still the same it just is a bit too watered down and as for the Halloween party? What party, these days it’s just a guy sat in the corner smelling of onions and wearing a pair of plastic fangs.

The Horatia on Holloway Road, we need to visit it always looks packed.

The Lamb on Holloway Road has one interesting fact, it holds a Fetish get together once a month (called a Munch!) Haven’t been but it’s one for the ‘to do List’.

The Famous Cock is dull, fruit machines and the TV is always on, showing football matches.

The White Swan is a Wetherspoon’s, so you know the drill it’s vast, smells of greasy burgers, is loud but without much atmosphere and no music, just 20 TV’s with no sound showing Sky News or football and fruit machines flashing away. 

The Hen and Chickens Theatre Pub is always packed and noisy, but shuts too early and is always cold in there, as the doors are always open even in the winter.

The Compton Arms is a proper ‘Old Man’s pub’, Down an alleyway, behind the Union Chapel, it is small and full of locals, it could be quaint, but it only sells Greene King IPA and Ash hates it!

The Brewhouse is an Arsenal Stronghold, on match days expect to find it filled with supporters, before, during and after the game. On other nights it’s a mix bag, a vast space and strange decor changes, it can be a little flat (lacking atmosphere), the food is a bit bland, but the drinks are cheap enough to warrant a visit, even if the bathrooms are a mission and a half to get to!

The Four Sisters is Bloody Expensive! But it’s also the place to be, in terms of celebrities tend to drink here. It’s not a bad place, a bit on the small side but it’s worth it for the atmosphere.

The Alwyne Castle is good pub, especially in the summer when sitting outside is possible, they often have a DJ on a Saturday night and he is deaf, because the music is so loud, the bar staff cannot hear your order. But it’s a comfortable place to meet for a few drinks and their Wedges are legendary!

The Canonbury Tavern is expensive and the staff are rude, it’s pretentious and is often closed for wedding receptions and funeral wakes and they don’t seem to have any idea what Vegetarian means! They also seem to allow their staff to get groped, fondled and often much more crude things without any protection from the managers. (Bob hates this place!)

The Marquess Tavern is more an eatery than pub in it’s mood, they do table service and expect you to order food, but go in there late for a quiet drink and it’s not bad, expensive but cheaper than the Canonbury and the Four Sisters and they do a really nice stout. Plus the puns outside are brilliant!

Myddleton Arms is quirky and has a nice Beer Garden and some odd little rooms out the back, good beer selection, a bit of a Trendy Beards and ankle swinging trousers kind of place, but OK.

The New Rose is a dump and the bouncers are bastards. Don’t bother.


The Lord Clyde is now a trendy pub, Gin and whatnot but with lots of wood panelling and people in pyjamas! I can’t say very much about it as it is very forgettable. 


The Snooty Fox has a good Pub Quiz and is often quite busy. Odd location really but it is worth hunting out. Often packed even during the week days and the staff are really friendly.


So there you go, the next list of places to drink, go, check them out and let us know what you think, which ones you like, dislike, etc.

And stay tuned for more pub crawls coming soon.


3 thoughts on “Pub crawls around Highbury – Barnsbury

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s