Please note: The Bull is under new ownership and is now home to Gorgeous Brewery.
One of the city’s best-kept secrets is that north London isn’t really London at all. Leafy, hilly and held together by a loose network of winding roads and LRB contributors, the air is crisper up here. The Bull, like many other pubs around Highgate, transports you to the countryside (dried hops dangling everywhere, butcher-block tables; Labradors on leashes). The approach to this dedicated ale pub is via hushed, tree-lined streets with little to no lamplight (the council obviously hasn’t learned its lesson about highwaymen yet), but because it’s on busy North Hill Road, the place has a hint of the city about it: with reassuring electric light still making its way in and keeping a waspy vibe at bay. An impressive 21 taps pouring cellar-chilled brews are perfect for exploratory sessions, with seasonal treats including a surprisingly nice peach and rosemary wheat pale ale, and a strong offering from the in-house London Brewery, including an oatmeal stout and an American wheat. Since you’re here you’ll probably end up eating something: there’s Sunday Roast, and midweek the fish and chips was sound – but a word of warning to stay away from the American-style grub (oversauced chicken wings, oversmoked burger) and stick to the best of British instead.