The Lighterman

Bars and pubs, Gastropubs King's Cross
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(23user reviews)
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A gastro-style bar and restaurant in King’s Cross.

Situated in a brand-new three-floor building in the redeveloped plaza behind King’s Cross station, The Lighterman has that feeling of being fresh out of the box. It’s doing the gastropub thing to a fault: chips come in tiny metal buckets; plates are never used where a chopping board will do. Everything you see on the menu, you’ve seen before.

Of course, if the food’s good, that needn’t be a problem. Cured trout came with a fiery mayonnaise; mushroom on brioche was silky and topped with a runny-yolked egg. Mains were a bit more shaky: the ribeye steak was generous and tender, but the lamb chop was too charred around the edges. Also, the béarnaise sauce I ordered alongside it was impossible to extricate from its tiny jug. (Still, I imagine the sight of me frantically shaking it over my plate provided entertainment for those sat nearby.) Desserts ended the meal on a high: moist, sumptuous sticky toffee pudding and a hit of sweetness and salt in the form of a peanut butter parfait.

Don’t go to The Lighterman for surprises. Do go for swish surroundings and attentive staff – they were only too happy to re-seat us out in the sunshine on the terrace, overlooking the fountains of Granary Square. In an area that’s seen quite a facelift, this could easily become one of its top spots. 

By: Matt Breen

Posted:

Venue name: The Lighterman
Address: 3 Granary Square
London
N1C 4BH
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Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:12
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|23
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tastemaker

Prime position on Granary Square overlooking the canal before. This bar and restaurant is set out on three levels, the place has large glass windows making the most of the view and the decoration is industrial style with comfort. It always feels busy here but the staff rarely appear flustered and service is pretty quick. It’s a great spot for drinks before or after dinner, the food is pretty spot on too with a couple of vegan options. It doesn’t stand out as somewhere I’d go out of my way to come back to but it is reliable with a great location.

tastemaker

Really nice venue overlooking Granary Square, we had cocktails on the upstairs terrace on a slightly windy but otherwise pleasant day. I'd like to go back for some food, it smelt delicious!

tastemaker

Really friendly staff, even strained my hisbiscus infused gin with a big smile as I couldn’t quite get on with the floaty bits! Excellent venue for gourmet snacking and catching up, particularly on the heated porch. Points lost as it is tremendously busy so a lot of shuffling is required for toilet trips, and I’m always anxious about getting a table if planning to meet there. However, all this suggests is popularity! Lastly there is something strange about the acoustics inside that make it deafeningly loud with just the murmour of voices. A few people mentioned this to me before my first visit and I have to agree!

Tastemaker

I really liked this place. It’s a modern looking glass and metal box spanning three floors next to a canal behind Kings Cross. It’s much cosier than the minimalistic exterior will lead you to believe, and the vibe, once it filled in, was very jovial. We’ve only been to the basement (pub) floor opening up to a patio. Its gastropub aspirations are evident in its curated wine list and the skill that went into cocktail mixing. The prices feel pleasingly reasonable. My Bloody Mary was good. I will definitely be back for brunch (served upstairs) and to enjoy its canal side location come spring.


Tastemaker

This is quite a posh / expensive looking pub and restaurant that had never really appealed to me from the outside as it just has a 'cold' appearance. However, it is located right above the canal by Granary square and its huge green stairs and water displays.

My boyfriend recommended we'd go as he really loves this place and it was good in the end.

It smelled amazingly good in there but, alas, we couldn't eat there as you need to book if you're coming for food.

So we settled for a beer. The bar is quite nice and serves just the right amount of options in terms of beer and at surprisingly reasonable prices.

The big plus of this place for me is that you can sit outside on 3 different levels - by the canal at -1, on Granary squ on the ground floor and on a pretty terrace at +1.

Tastemaker

Good for Kings Cross, that's what I say, because I can remember it BEFORE it transformed into this rather nice, tranquil and a little bit modern area. Far from being a dark and almost scary corner, this is now a place packed with families and people of all ages hanging around eating, drinking and enjoying the area. It is a easy place to catch up for a drink and you're next to the canal plus there's areas outside the front and back to sit in the sun. A good place for a quick pit stop.

Tastemaker

Despite being an old things and vintage places lover, I love the newly built Lighterman. It is a large sized but nicely built pub/cafe/bar/coffee place with good quality finishes but giving you a homely feel rather than being too luxurious and posh. It is split into three levels, one overlooking the canal, one overlooking granary square and a higher level overlooking both. So the chances of finding a table are pretty high. I've been a few times for brunch and its menu is basic but great - that avocado on toast, the eggs benedict and the crumpets are truly delicious and clearly the location makes the experience even more unique! The prices are quite reasonable for London standards. Highly recommended for any time of the year but bonus if it is sunny and summery, then go sit at the lower level watching people, bikes, swans and narrowboats passing by!

tastemaker

The Lighterman is stunning. The glass structure looms over Granary Sq majestically, drawing people in. If you get a table on the top floor the light is great, the space is really airy and bright. The lower floors less so, but sitting outside in front of the canal is a great spot too. 

They have a good selection of London-price drinks. I'm close to saying a bit overpriced, but then it's Kings Cross so you'll be hard done by to find a reasonably priced bar! The food is good, I'd heartily recommend going for brunch - the avocado on toast is well done and good value. 

Tastemaker

A good spot to know around King's Cross.


With an enjoyable view over the canal and two very nice terraces, this bar is perfect to chill in the sun with a drink in hand. But the interior area is nice too. With minimal but bright decor, it makes for a comfortable get-together favourite.


The service is efficient, staff is friendly and there's a good choice of drinks available (even for non-alcoholics like me).


Keep it in the books!

tastemaker

The Lighterman has great outdoor area beside the canal and solid service. Sometimes it's best to keep things simple, and it works rather well here. The upstairs restaurant has an outdoor area and therefore a great little place to have a get together with a large group of people. The interior is light, casual and not too stuffy and the service is solid - my friends were having a little celebration and I was able to send them a bottle of champagne as a surprise. Overall, a neat little establishment which is often overlooked due to Granary Square's other more famous establishments, but I'd definitely recommend a visit for some food and a tipple or two.


Tip: book ahead for large groups and get an upstairs table so you can enjoy the views over Granary Square and the canal.


Good For: date night, special occasion, casual lunch/ brunch/ dinner/ drinks, outdoor area, large groups

tastemaker

Had a delicious brunch here on a Saturday morning, overlooking the canal. We had eggs benedict, freshly squeezed orange juice and bloody marys. The bloody mary was one of the best I have had in a while and was clearly freshly made and the hollandaise sauce on my eggs benedict was also truly delicious! Would recommend!

tastemaker

I've only been for drinks, but it's a great find tucked away behind King's Cross / St Pancras station in Granary Square. In the summer months they have an outdoor area downstairs, and a lovely terrace that gives you a great view of the fountains in the square and Regent's Canal. It seems to have gained a lot of popularity in the recent heatwave so booking would be your best bet, otherwise you may be faced with long waits (even on weekday evenings!)

Tastemaker

The Lighterman is located on the edge of the Regent’s Canal, in the lovely Granary Square. The restaurant is full of light and surrounded by windows, so even if it’s a cooler day, you won’t have to feel like you’re stuck indoors. Saying this, they also have plenty of outdoor seating for those warmer months. I recently book for a group of seven and we were able to keep the table for two and a half hours. The service was attentive, without being too pushy and we really enjoyed our meal. The prices were quite reasonable with flatbreads for about £9 and fish and chips costing £15 just to give you an idea. I had sorbet for dessert which was a huge portion, only costing £3. The menu had a great selection for all dietary requirements, focusing on British comfort food. With such reasonable prices and beautiful surroundings, I will definitely go back to The Lighterman. 

Tastemakertastemaker

Kings Cross is such an exciting place right now and so many amazing places to eat and drink. The Lighterman is no exception with a great menu for all day dining as well as great service and relaxed vibe. We sat on the large terrace in the sunshine overlooking the canal watching the boats go by and it was pure bliss.Really recommend for any occasion and in the summer on that terrace will be glorious. Cant wait to go back

tastemaker

it feels like only yesterday that King's Cross was a wasteland of restaurants, all chains and Prets. Fast forward a few years and you're practically spoilt with Dishoom even making an appearance now. The Lighterman is a solid addition to the area, it may be nothing new but what it does it does very well. An imaginative cocktail list (I had a thyme and kumquat sipsmiths drink which was incredible) combined with excellent food - the swordfish was a real highlight, though do order sides. The service was friendly and unobtrusive, and it's all set in a gorgeous building overlooking the canal. It may not be groundbreaking but it's a solid choice which always delivers with high quality.

tastemaker

Even in the cold winter evenings this charming modern gastropub/bar is a lovely place to relax and watch the sun set (admittedly earlier and earlier!) over the Canal. Quick and friendly service - would recommend after dark so you can watch the colour changing fountains. (Who doesn't love a colour changing fountain?!)


Love this place. Beautiful setting, delicious food - what more could you want!?


Great location for an evening drink in the summer. Good drinks selection, though a little pricey

tastemaker

Hello! Kept driving past this bustling place next to the canal by kingscross so booked a table with friends through open table. They rang me to confirm my booking 1 or 2 days before and advised me to ring up on the morning of the booking to confirm a terrace table. Beautiful setting for summer with elegant tantalising cocktails which were mid range in price. I had the conductors flute (amaretto & prosecco) which did not disappoint. We all ate from the grill having fish & steak which were all perfectly cooked. I also highly recommend the sweet potato fries which by far the best I have eaten recently. After cocktails and 2.5 courses each it came to about £45 each so I feel well worth the visit considering the setting & the standard of food/drinks. The only downside was the service was a little slow.

tastemaker


We have recently seen some lovely sunny weather so I really wanted to try and find a bar I could meet my friends after work.


We chose The Lighterman, a short walk from Kings Cross and along Regents Canal in the trendy Granary Square.

The building itself is stunning, great architecture and really fits in with the area.


As you can imagine Thursday night at 8pm it was pretty busy, every table outside was taking but by luck a couple left and we jumped straight in. Even a friendly bouncer commented on our luck.


The staff were lovely, they do a table service outside as well as long as you leave your bank card to open a tab. We decided on some nibbles and cocktails.

I went for a Chilli Paddle Mule cocktail (£8) which was honey bourbon, bitters and ginger beer then infused with a fresh chilli. So good that I had two.

For food I had olives and a delightful starter of Baked Goats cheese with broccoli, grapes and normally with almonds too. I have a nut allergy so I tested out the staff by asking for it without nuts and not one single hesitation, the waitress knew they could do it without. You would be surprised how many venues don’t know this information. We also had a portion of lovely crisp sweet potato fries.


Service overall was good considering how busy it was. The food and drinks were delightful and you could tell a true effort is put into both. I know I will be back.


As a regular of Percy & Founders, it wasn't long before I found myself in The Lighterman, their new sister restaurant that has recently opened in Granary Square.


The biggest 'draw' of  The Lighterman is its stunning location. Set across three floors, it has an impressive glass front that overlooks the river. It also has an outdoor terrace, so it is is the perfect venue for a weekend brunch or spot of lunch in the sunshine. 

I went for brunch and booked in advance so I could sit on the first floor as I thought this would have a better view. Note that the first floor doesn't accept reservations until 12pm though.

The food was lovely- basically the same menu as Percy & Founders which I am a big fan of. Good quality ingredients, nicely presented and good service. It was a Sunday when I went, so I couldn't help but eye up delicious looking roasts that were being delivered to others tables. From what I could see, it would definitely be worth returning for those.

If you're looking for a relaxed brunch with a good view, then The Lighterman is...er... your man.
Tastemaker

Sunshine and The Lighterman go hand in hand - situated in a sunny pot near the canal there is lots of outdoor seating spread around the bottom and on the roof terrace where you can relax with a cocktail in hand and watch the world go by. We were told that they were taking reservations only on the top deck on the day that I was there which was a bit of a shame as we could see lots of empty seats, but now that I know that I'll be sure to book ahead next time.

Tastemaker

 This restaurant is brand new and has an amazing setting.  Set over 3 floors it is very nicely decked out (no pun intended) with nice warm wood interior and exterior.  It is set on the Regents Canal just behind Kings Cross.  The top floor has a balcony running around it so you can catch the sun on a nice day.  The Middle floor leads out on to Granary Square where you can see kids and pet dogs running through the the water fountains.  The bottom deck has an outside area right next to the canal and is very peaceful.

The food is simple and fantastic.  We had the Smoked mozzarella, spicy English Sausage & red onions flat bread. Loads of flavour and the dough was nice and thin.  A great way to start.  We then had the Chicken Special that came with Morrels and a confit Onion.  The flavours were great and everything was cooked very well.  Again simple and flavoursome.  We finished with a Sticky Toffee Pudding.  It was light and a non heavy Sticky Toffee Pudding.  A great way to finish a meal.

The Lighterman is well located and on a summers day is a prefect way to end the day. 

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