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Islington pubs

Discover the best places for a pint in Islington

© Rob Greig

Although the chains have railroaded some corners of N1, the area still packs plenty of classic boozers. Try the Old Red Lion for something a bit cultured (the pub also acts as a theatre), or get picky over your pints courtesy of Island Queen's gargantuan range of specials. Think we've missed a great pub in Islington? Let us know in the comment box below.

Lord Clyde

Critics' choice

A quality makeover, this, a few bus stops north of the spaghetti junction of bars around the Angel.

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Islington

Island Queen

Critics' choice

This Islington backstreet is a notch above most of its N1 competitors, thanks to the wide selection of beers and wine.

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Angel

Old Red Lion

The Old Red Lion is most famous for the matchbox-sized fringe theatre that sits above it, staging no-budget productions of plays both old and (mostly) new.

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Angel

Hemingford Arms

Don’t be fooled by the all-singing, all-dancing slickness of the Hemingford’s website: the pub itself is something of a shambles, and much the better for its idiosyncracies.

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Barnsbury

Compton Arms

This quiet, unassuming local is hidden away behind the Union Chapel and thus mercifully isolated from the chaos of Highbury Corner.

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Canonbury

Shakespeares Head

It’s hard to imagine a pub with fewer pretensions than this place, done out in gloss-painted wood, standard-issue pub carpets and plump seating.

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Finsbury

Scolt Head

A wholly unscientific survey suggests that more than half the pubs in De Beauvoir Town and nearby London Fields now have ambitions and/or pretensions towards gastropub status; even the boozy Prince George, a holdout for years, has succumbed and installed a kitchen. Demand in the area doesn’t always meet supply, especially during the week.

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De Beauvoir Town

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. 

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Islington

Railway Tavern

Critics' choice

The Railway Tavern, on a residential street in the fringes of Islington, is essentially a local – but it’s to its credit that drinkers from locales further afield will travel to visit.

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Stoke Newington

Charles Lamb

Critics' choice

A charming pub with a lovely atmosphere, but in many ways, it’s coasting. The set-up is appealing, the two small cream-painted rooms hung with interesting pictures and maps (notably Stephen Walter’s depiction of London as an island), and packed with wooden tables, chairs and benches. 

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Angel
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See our pick of Islington bars

Comments

1 comments
PJ
PJ

The Snooty Fox at 75 Grosvenor Avenue N5 2NN is missing from this list. And I think it's one of the top pubs in the area. Always top quality ales, and an interesting range as well, not the usual suspects. Great music generally too. And one of the few seven inch vinyl jukeboxes left in London, let alone Islington. I'm looking forward to the ale festival they have coming up at the beginning of Februrary.