Although the chains have railroaded some corners of N1, the area still packs plenty of classic boozers. Try the Old Red Lion for something a bit cultured (the pub also acts as a theatre), or get picky over your pints courtesy of Island Queen's gargantuan range of specials. Think we've missed a great pub in Islington? Let us know in the comment box below.
A wholly unscientific survey suggests that more than half the pubs in De Beauvoir Town and nearby London Fields now have ambitions and/or pretensions towards gastropub status; even the boozy Prince George, a holdout for years, has succumbed and installed a kitchen. Demand in the area doesn’t always meet supply, especially during the week.
Less than a year ago I reviewed this pub, a pleasantly refurbed spot among Georgian townhouses away from the rabble of Upper Street. Already, it’s under new ownership, spruced up yet again – and has become even more appealing. Looks-wise, it’s not a world apart from the 2011 version: the beautiful original island back-bar with the ’60s ‘Watney Red Barrel’ signage remains, and the smart back garden remains a draw in warm weather.
A charming pub with a lovely atmosphere, but in many ways, it’s coasting. The set-up is appealing, the two small cream-painted rooms hung with interesting pictures and maps (notably Stephen Walter’s depiction of London as an island), and packed with wooden tables, chairs and benches.
The Oval Tavern
It's as much about the entertainment as it is the food and booze at this popular Croydon pub. There's something going on every night, from blues jams, acoustic sessions and DJs to darts on a Monday night and Aunty Wendy's pub quiz on a Wednesday. There's even a Saturday afternoon storytime - for the kids, we presume. The food here is pretty accessible - think bar snacks of homemade Scotch eggs and sausage rolls, grilled mac and cheese, tuna melts, mushroom rarebit and a club sandwich, here including chorizo. The beer garden plays host to couple of barbecues that prove a bit of a draw on sunny summer days. As do the real ales - expect five on the pump as well as more by the bottle.