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Big Chill House

Critics' choice
London

Poor ticket sales at the 2009 Big Chill festival led to the event seeking voluntary liquidation, at which point it was purchased by the Festival Republic behemoth.

Happily, the two London bars have proven more stable, and continue to earn acclaim from fans who are inspired by the artwork and tickled by the signage (‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ on the toilet doors).

Housed in a large, difficult building, the King’s Cross branch can feel a little tumbleweedy on quiet nights; it’s best to head here when there are DJs, generally Thursdays to Sundays with occasional events on other evenings.

From the drinks list, cocktails (served in glasses or pitchers) are more enticing than the dull beer list (Amstel, Heineken, Budvar); food includes individual dishes (burgers, burritos) and sharing platters. An upstairs patio comes into its own in summer.

Venue name: Big Chill House
Contact:
Address: 257-259 Pentonville Road
London
N1 9NL
Opening hours: Open noon-midnight Mon-Wed, Sun; noon-1am Thur; noon-3am Fri, Sat. Food served noon-4pm, 6-11pm Mon-Fri; noon-11pm Sat, Sun
Transport: Tube: King's Cross tube/rail
Price: Admission free-£5

Average User Rating

1.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
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  • 1 star:2
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Gillian

I used to love this place, especially in the summer for its terrace and the game room where I would frequently come with friends for a game of fooseball. I went there Friday night and that will be the last time I ever step foot in the place. My friend mixed up an order and I kindly asked the barman with longish hair if we could change the order. He responded in a very aggressive way and when I asked him what the problem was he went outside and called the bouncers who escorted my friend and I outside. But not before hissing in my ear that "he has seen me there before and I am such a slut". I was horrified. Because I liked the bar and always took my friends there I am being told by the bar staff that I am a slut..?? I tried to explain to the bouncers outside what had just happened but they were having none of it, telling me to go home and giving me a hard time. Eventually a girl claiming to be the manager was outside talking to a bouncer and I managed to tell her what had happened. At first she didn't believe me but when she double checked with the bar man she came back out and apologized. Thats when the bouncers started saying "hey, you should have said! Do you want to come back inside?" ...NO. It looks like the bar staff are often being described as rude in other reviews. Why go and spend your money in a place where you are going to leave feeling angry and offended when there are so many other nice places around (go to Simmons and Simmons on Caledonian road, or the Lexington just further up Pentonville road. Otherwise Angel is a very short walk away with plenty of bars!)

Amelia Murray

Having visited both Big Chill venues on several occasions and had a great time, I’m sorry to report my last visit was cut short by a rude barman. Having finished one drink, I went to buy exactly the same one from the pretentiously wannabe Skrillex barman who tried to charge me more. Having explained that I just paid less for the tequila and soda I had less than an hour before, he told me that he “had” to charge me for the soda water (normally free from pubs and clubs unless served from a bottle). He then snatched my money for me, muttering “fuck it” and storming off like a hipster who’s discovered someone wearing the same t shirt at a warehouse party. It may have been loud there, but I can lip-read, mate. I left once I finished that drink, not wanting a similar encounter the next time I bought one. Just because you’ve got geek-chic glasses, a snap back hat, long hair and tattoos, it doesn’t mean you’re too cool to be a barman. And if you think you are, you should leave as you’re losing the venue money and business. A place to avoid - grab a beer from the shop and walk away.

Phil

The WiFi never works, the plug sockets are dodgy, and the staff are largely inattentive. This place is not as good as it thinks it is, and too expensive for what you get.