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Earl of Essex


Less than a year ago I reviewed this pub, a pleasantly refurbed spot among Georgian townhouses away from the rabble of Upper Street. Already, it’s under new ownership, spruced up yet again – and has become even more appealing.

Looks-wise, it’s not a world apart from the 2011 version: the beautiful original island back-bar with the ’60s ‘Watney Red Barrel’ signage remains, and the smart back garden remains a draw in warm weather. A huge hymn board-style display details the huge range of beers – but it’s here the similarity with the old Earl of Essex ends.

Nowadays, almost every new pub tries to sell itself on a ‘craft beer’ offer, but not all manage it on this scale. There are 11 on keg, five or six on cask, plus a couple of quality ciders. The range covers Britain from Devon to Cromarty via Ilkley, before jetting off to the Continent, Scandinavia and the USA. And it gets even better – finishing touches are being applied, I’m told, to an on-site Earl’s Brewery. Yes, it’s turned into a brewpub. The owners plan to make unusual beers (a mustard brown ale is in the pipeline, apparently) for sale in the Earl and elsewhere.

Staff are happy to offer tastings and know their stuff, and a peek at the Earl’s website, with its enthusiastic ‘Beer of the day’ entries, suggests this pub will become a serious stop-off on the capital’s craft beer trail.

On the menu, dishes are all listed with beer recommendations. Whether we really need a suggested beer match for a fishfinger sandwich I’m not sure, although it’s a nice touch.


Venue name: Earl of Essex
Address: 25 Danbury Street
N1 8LE
Opening hours: Open 3-11.30pm Mon; noon-11.30pm Tue-Thur; noon-midnight Fri, Sat; noon-11pm Sun. Lunch served noon-3pm Tue-Sun. Dinner served 5-9pm daily.
Transport: Angel tube
Price: Main courses £12-£16.

Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening

When it just opend we went loads because it was a welcome addition to the area. A massive selection of beers, but food has always just been ok and sometimes not so ok. Stopped going altogether now because last time the landlord shortchanged me twice in the same evening but was clearly too cool and destined for a higher purpose to be nice or apologetic about it. Back to the island queen and duke of wellington for much friendlier staff.

billy finnegan

Abysmal. Went their last friday for a friends birthday last week and got off to a bad start at the bar with some failed actress type barmaid who had a significant issues with asking for a medium wine instead of small wine. Moving in from that we went to go to the garden where our friends were located but were told by the doorman that it wss too busy for anyone else out there, despite it being half full. We then left for the isle an queen a much better pub. Generally nowhere near as good as it thinks it is, terrible service in a pub that is desperate to be in shoreditch


The best pub in Islington, an ever changing beer selection, terrific food and friendly staff....how pubs should be!


This pub has massively improved - it reopened about a month ago, and now the bar has about 15 proper beers on tap at once! The food is decent and the staff were friendly and courteous. All good in my opinion.


Popped in for a drink today and took advantage of the beer garden. Extensive range of drinks, in particular beers and ales. Knowledgable and friendly staff. Very pleasant experience. Will be back.