Shakespeares Head

Bars and pubs Finsbury
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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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.


Venue name: Shakespeares Head
Address: 1 Arlington Way
Opening hours: Open 11.30am-11.30pm daily. Food served 11.30am-7.30pm Mon-Sat
Transport: Tube: Angel tube
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Average User Rating

3 / 5

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An affordable pub in the heart of Holborn. My friend and I decided to come here for food one night before the theatre, as we were in a rush we thought that this would be a faster option than your typical chained restaurant. We opted for a the Mexican burrito meal deal which was £5.95 including a drink. The food come out within 10 minutes and although we weren’t expecting much, we were pleasantly surprised with what was served. The portion sizes were very generous and the food tasted delicious. For a night out in London on a budget, this is the place to come! The only think I would mention is that due to its close location to Holborn station, it gets busy very fast, you’ll have to hunt for a table if you are planning to go for food after 5pm.