The Knowhere Guide

Pubs in Highbury, Greater London*

The place to go for a lazy afternoon, pub quiz or last call

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  • The Wellington, Balls Pond Road no longer has a pool room, however what is now the back bar is a really comfy place to relax and a great place for a party. The pub food is excellent and they serve 2 real ales, plus the largest selection of fruit drinks I've ever seen.
  • Barcosa (54 Holloway Road). This place used to be Tank before it closed down. But the new bar is much better, I think. Have a chat with Abby and chill out on a leather sofa while he serves up great Indian food and awesome acid jazz, lounge and smooth grooves. Drinks are slightly above average (2.80-3.00ish) but I think you get your monies worth.
  • The Beerhouse on the Holloway Road is now under new management and is called Bar Cosa and well worth checking out for a laid back night out. They serve really nice and good value Indian food and have DJs on Friday nights - first Friday of each month is hip hop, breakbeat and funk. It's literally 1 min walk from Highbury & Islington tube.
  • The Mucky Pup, 39 Queens Head Street, Islington, London, N1 8NQ. Tucked away 60 seconds off Essex Road. Sweet little modern type pub, with comfy couches, pool table, and one big mucky dog named Iggy. Well cared for Green Man on tap-- the Gov' looks to be retired punkster from back in the day and a stomping selection of good tunes and no prepackaged shite. I think they are just starting off, so everyone should go down and buy a pint, because they seem to be good people.
  • The Percy on percy circus just up the road from where Lenin and Krupskaya lived, its a quiet old locals pub full of what a cockney bar should be full of
  • More of a bar really but check out the Tank on Highbury Road. Its full of wonderful tanks with beautiful fish, snakes, iguanas, hence the name Tank. We also got free popcorn with our drinks. Totally gorgeous place, very cool.
  • Gotta shout loud about this new place i found just off Upper st, PRORESS BAR, as far as I can tell it is a new venue? Wicked crowd, good prices, nice tunes supplied by couple of seemingly clued up (considering their ages!!) DJs. No Q which makes a nice change, why don't other venues take note. No door charge! Fridays is best. If you see a guy dancing around like a happy's likely to be me! Check it out
  • The Duke of Cambridge is a good Sunday afternoon pub down St Peter's Street. All its beers, wine and food are organic. If you can brace yourself to ask for a pint of Freedom Fighter then this pub is definitely worth checking out!
  • How about some of the pubs on the Holloway road? The Beerhouse is now under new managment and is doing good food and groovy tunes, and the Bailey is always good for a cheap thai - both minutes from H&I tube
  • The Albion on Thornhill Road - oldy worldy, sit outsidey, hanging baskety, cosy comfy and traditional.
  • The Arsenal Tavern on Blackstock Rd - an experience not t be missed - the pub that time forgot - the size of a Weatherspoons with only 5 cider mad clientele with the added charm of every animal known to man stuffed & put in pride of place above your head - I quite like it......... Islington has more pubs than Ireland so why doesn't Highbury have ANY???(decent ones I mean with Arsenal/Gunner/Football Fan in the title)- where do all the hip young things go??
  • The best beer garden in London is at the Canonbury Tavern in Canonbury Lane, oppisite the Tower Theatre
  • I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Compton Arms, a small, friendly Greene King pub tucked away just off the main drag of Upper Street turn into Canonbury Lane (opposite the Grope and Wanker sorry, Hope and Anchor) and take the second left. Good beers Greene King IPA, Spitfire and Abbot decent cheap food, eg pies, sausage and mash, local crowd. Definitely not trendy and without music, though sometimes they show football on a large screen provides a welcome relief from Upper Street for old-fashioned drinkers.
  • The Kings Head - theatre at the back, friendly staff, always fun.
  • Try the other organic pub near noel road - the duke of Cambridge for a change
  • The 'other' pub on Noel Road is The Island Queen--excellent!!
  • purple turtle. the best bar in the world.tons of different bottled beers from all over the world, cheap prices compared to the rest of islington! great jukebox covering from sublime and the bloodhoundgang to sex pistols and jayne county to underworld and fatboy barstaff, a laidback attitude. monday nights open mic comedy, "turtley hilarious" a night where comedians come to die. sunday afternoons open mic accoustic session.( scene of big cheese magazine parties, and much bad behaviour fom uk pro skateboarders)
  • Check out the new 'Old Parr's Head' - it's like new bar now it's been done up. The free bar snacks (especially Sunday) have recently been voted best in Britain by GQ magazine - and you can certainly see why!
  • To whoever wrote the stuff about The Old Parrs Head I suggest that you come back and take another look. After a fab refurb and barring of just about all the old punters I think that you will be pleasantly surprised by the charm, character and type of person who now frequents this pub. Gone are the days of kids, fights and coke, I think that maybe before you start writing off someone elses business that you do your research properly or at least up date it.
  • Two spring to mind: The Crown in Cloudesley Road, Barnsbury which is about a ten minute walk from Upper Street in a quiet, leafy Georgian Street which also does fabulous (although a little pricey) food and has a great selection of wines. Tables outside, no traffic (no entry) which is a result in Islington and inhabited by a youngish crowd of locals. The other is the Hemingford, again in Barnsbury, on the corner of Offord and Hemingford Road. Eclectic mix of locals and visitors, music some nights - good Thai food (cheap) The Mitre is now dreadful. Just another one of a number of pubs. Don't go there. Steer clear of the Parr's Head across the road from the Mitre - unless you want a fight or to score some coke that is.
  • For a spot of pre-club atmosphere try Matt & Matts Bar near the Screen on the Green. Laid back grooves early on, then funky house and drum & bass to get you in the mood for clubbing. They do a happy hour too!
  • What's this about no good pubs in Islington? The Albion is charming, despite being the local to the sell-out Socialist.
  • There's a pub just outside Highbury & Islington tube that's not too bad... If you turn right outside the tube and go down Upper Street you'll come to the Tut 'n' Shive - good beers... okay atmosphere. Further down on the right is The Hope and Anchor, legendary punk venue where everyone from The Jam to.... erm, Dire Straits have played and now has gigs every night of the week. It's amazingly small. Oh, and if you go left out of the tube, past the Garage on the opposite side, you'll get to The Wig and Gown. Not too horrendous...
  • There are loads of good bars and pubs. Ones of note include The Embassy on Essex Road, The Old Queens Head on Essex Road and the Medicine Bar on Upper Street. Particularly the Embassy, which seems to cater for the hip 25-30 somethings of Islington - good music, good beer, nice venue - cool and under-stated.
  • Royal Mail: Upper Street, half-way down on right from H & I tube. Tiny from front, goes further out back. Bored empty atmos makes excellent place for impromtu lock-ins and space away from Saturday Sushi & Champagne Socialists. Nice piano.
  • The Mitre: Formerly cracking dark, young drinking venue with garden, Pride and excellent jukebox. Refitted spring '97. Any news?
  • A couple of good bars in Islington, around the Angel tube, are: The Samon and Compasses, corner of Chapel Market Street and Barnsbury Road. Good atmosphere, ok beers, cool musak, friendly bar staff and strange games. It's open till 2:00 am. Babooshka. On Caledonian Road, near Copenhagen Street. Excellent decor, fire place, guest DJs and pumping on a Fri/Sat night. Closes midnight. Also just out from the tube is 'The Complex', a four level pumpin' jumpin' thumpin' trip (or so I hear). Haven't been there yet.
  • Loads. Some good, some crap. The Embassy isn't bad, and you can do quite a good crawl up Essex Road. Start at the Old Queens Head (always spills out onto the pavement in summer), cross the road to the Kings Head (bit stuffier) up to the Embassy then on to Disgracelands. There is also the Purple Turtle Bar... lots going down there!!! Know what I mean!
  • Another nice pub is the Narrow Boat, down Noel Road (bit of a back street): the pub isn't any great shakes, but in summer you can have a pint and sit by the side of the canal chilling out.
  • There's another pub on Noel Road, isn't bad, but I can't remember what it's called.
  • Pub on the park on Copenhagen Street can be good late as is the Red Lion the Theatre Pub at the top of St. John Street.
  • Really nice atmosphere pub, that is closed weekends: the Papier Mache pub by the Church in Clerkenwell Green (not really Highbury, this, but still).
  • The Duke of Wellington on Balls Pond Road has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, and one of the best pool rooms I've ever seen.
  • We found it almost mindboggling that there was no mention made of the Islington nannies' local pubs ;the Walkabout and O'Neills. The Walkabout is great for watching sport during the day and , although it gets a bit crowded, is great for a piss-up in the evening - also almost too easy to pull there. Pity it closes at 11.00 o'clock. Pretty easy to get hold of some illegal contraband aswell, if you know the right welshman. o'Neills stays open until 1.00 am and has more than its share of slappers and obliging men - all in all a great time is always had by all, even if the male:female ratio is sometimes a bit cock-eyed, trust our favourite australian to fix that though, mate!
  • Check out Matt & Matt, 112 Upper Street, Islington N1 Regular DJ's playing a mix of Funk,House, Drum & Bass and ambient journeys through the universe. Available for private hire & Sunday Chill-Outs. Tues to Fri 5pm-Midnight. Sat 6pm-Midnight. Happy Times 5pm-7pm. Tues & Weds All Night.

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All the information in the Knowhere Guide has been contributed by users over the years. No one person is responsible for it all and not all contributors will agree with all the opinions included.

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Last updated: 2008-10-14

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