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. The owners of the Pineapple in Kentish Town returned this pub to its original name and gave it a thoughtful, mid-century-style makeover, with a few bits of artful railway ephemera here and there. Food is Thai; there’s live music.
But the beer selection is something special, and served with a dedication that prospective London publicans would do well to emulate. There are six regularly changing real ales on tap, and they’re often made in London – from Redemption, Brodie’s or the East London Brewing Company, for instance; on the recently expanded keg taps are Meantime London Lager, König Pilsner, Black Isle Porter and Brewdog’s 5am Saint. The bottles pay homage to the microbrewing nous of the Americans, with the likes of Brooklyn, Anchor and Sierra Nevada, although there’s also a good few Europeans. It’s also a place to sample the latest hop explosions from Bermondsey’s cult Kernel Brewery.
No mainstream sops for the unadventurous sipper in sight, and brews are served in handled, dimpled pint mugs: magic.