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Shakespeares Head

  • Bars and pubs
  • Clerkenwell
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  1. The Shakespeares Head
    Photograph: Jess Hand
  2. The Shakespeares Head
    Photograph: Jess Hand
  3. The Shakespeares Head
    Photograph: Jess Hand
  4. The Shakespeares Head
    Photograph: Jess Hand

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

After a decade or so that’s seen frosted pub windows across London replaced by clear glass, the Shakespeares Head may look a little daunting from the outside. Don’t be shy: this salt-of-the-earth local extends a warm welcome to all.

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. The 1970s feel extends to the beer (Courage Best) and the food: main courses cost less than an average gastropub starter (spag bol for a fiver, for example).

But this old-school boozer is made notable by the people in it: the staff, for whom nothing is too much trouble; and the clientele, an easygoing mix of theatregoers (Sadler’s Wells is steps away) and talkative locals who’ve been drinking here since their dads brought them in for a pint on their 18th birthday.

It’s a mix mimicked on the walls, where signed photos of thesps and hoofers jostle for attention with the pictures of the locals out on a jolly. Quite a treasure, in its way.


1 Arlington Way
Tube: Angel tube
Opening hours:
Open 11.30am-11.30pm daily. Food served 11.30am-7.30pm Mon-Sat
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