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 occasional live music and a quiz.
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. No mainstream sops for the unadventurous sipper in sight, and brews are served in handled, dimpled pint mugs: magic. The RT is a handsome fellow too, with framed vintage tube scenes on the walls and a few tasteful bits of golden-age railway nostalgia dotted here and there. One of the best pubs in London - fact.