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BRB at The Gate, Alexandra Park

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user reviews of BRB at The Gate, Alexandra Park

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Nice pub with a good jukebox and the occasional Friday night live music thing going on.

Pizzas are good but not consistent; Great when the young chef is in, but greasy and overdone when the old guy is cooking.

Burgers are always bland, nachos again, depends on who's doing them.

Nice crowd frequent the place, there is 1 bloke in his mid to late 40's who resembles Sid James who can be a little annoying as he hovers around and is very loud but he's harmless.

1 large table full of old guys is usually always present, 1 of them, i think he owns the place seems to encourage it which i think puts some of the younger guys off.

Manageress is good as are the bar staff mostly, never have to wait long to be served.

Most major gripe is they keep running out of fosters and the Carlsberg tastes funny!

Not as consistent with food and drink as the Arc in Angel, but not too bad overall.
northlondonveteran - 17 Jan 2012 19:45
Upon entering this hole, one of two things will happen.

What’s most likely is that whoever is working will look you up and down and walk off to talk to their degenerate mates, no doubt in the hope you leave. The other option is that they’ll entirely ignore your presence at the bar, until they feel you have paid your dues and are now worthy to be served. Fourteen minutes later of course. If you dare to gain their attention by pondering uncouth utterances such as ‘excuse me’, prepare to be met with a level of disdain previously only equalled by Mel Gibson when Obama got the nod.

It is often said that familiarity breeds contempt. I can only assume the staff must think they know each and every person that walks through the door intimately.

EnfieldTaaaanBlud - 17 Nov 2011 15:10
Druggies have (been?) moved on. No real ale this afternoon. Service more attentive. Like the Ranelagh, this pub is pitched above the usual abysmal Wood Green fare & there's no inclination or incentive to strive any higher. A missed opportunity.
Wiccaman777 - 9 Jan 2011 18:14
Sad to report a recent influx of over-age druggies and associated cockroaches, 45+ yo blokes calling you 'Geez' & 'Bruv' and who think a cocaine rush & a trophy dog is a substitute for a personality. There seemed to be some kinda pitbull convention outside tonight with the unwanted addition of dozens of young Dappy wannabees smoking skunk outside whilst the head waitress from the Cotton Club served them all up trays of shots as oversize pimp-wagons blocked all the parking. Worthless vermin.

Hope the Pest Control in Blue sorts it all out soon and saves me the bother of having to call them in myself. Been drinking here for 11 years so I'm hoping this is just a passing phase.
Wiccaman777 - 28 Jul 2010 19:44
Pleasingly I have had several opportunities to while away a few hours in here over the past few months and it is rapidly becoming one of my favourite watering holes. Always liked it in the past but hadn't been in for a good few years and I'm very pleased to say that it is still visually beautiful, has a relaxed vibe, serves a nice range of drinks, isn't too expensive and does lovely food. Service has distinctly improved of late too and there is a bigger commitment to entertainment now days with more TVs showing the sport, a decent jukebox (the regulars also appear to have discerning musical taste, which helps), and even a quiz on a Sunday night which I intend to participate in before too long. Several deals on 2-4-1 pizzas on certain nights, will help keep the cost down if you decide to enjoy the food as well as a few jars. Lovely, would that this kind of place was the benchmark that most pubs lived up to, but sadly it's excellence is all too rare.
My rating has now improved from 8/10 to 9/10. Give it a go, you won't regret it.
Mr.Monkfish - 20 Mar 2010 17:43
Can confirm improvement in service ethic since my last review in March 2009. Supplies of Doombar and a guest ale still patchy and a bit of an afterthought, but a bit more polish in a still under-developed gem
Wiccaman777 - 3 Jan 2010 13:12
Has improved since its Nadir years of crap service two/three years ago.

Better run now, with staff that understand what the people waiting at the bar are actually there for.

Worth revisiting.
robodrunk - 27 Oct 2009 12:51
I also first went to The Gate in 1999. Loved it when it was transformed into the BRB version earlier in the decade and yes, the bar staff were great in those days. It could take a while to get served but as those employed by the pub were so pleasant I didn't mind so much. The quiz nights on Wednesdays then were usually very good. It has gone downhill a bit in the last couple of years and I enjoy going there more in the afternoons when there's not so many people around than in the evenings. Would be great to have the good old days of in the early noughties back but it probably also belonged to that particular period in my life. A once great pub in my opinion.
Gatekeeper - 4 May 2009 15:27
I visited this for the first time recently and wasn't that impressed. Despite the large bar in the centre of the pub it was difficult to get served and I would second Wiccaman's references to "surly young staff who think they're doing you a favour". I may be wrong, but I only spotted one ale (Doom Bar IIRC), which ran out on the customer before me. In an area with very few pubs, though, I imagine this doesn't need to be better than mediocre to do good business.
grecian - 16 Apr 2009 09:53
I’ve been drinking here since ’99 when I moved into the area, fell off the train and straight into the pub! It was originally The Railway Hotel, but was renamed to link in with the old racecourse. The lovely original Victorian Gin Palace features have sadly been chipped away over the years and the ugly pizzeria feels bolted onto the side. I miss the small theatre upstairs (where I once saw a startling naked production of Hamlet), and the Thesps that it drew in.

The initial transition from Starting Gate to BRB The Gate was well managed in the early noughties. A small committed band of regular student staff ran a tight ship and there was a busy buzzy atmosphere. Feature nights were always well supported by students, as well as us regular folk seeking refuge from the misery of Wood Green pubs in general. 2for1 Pizza nights were always rammed and great value. Once this happy little band of staff graduated though, things started to go downhill.

Recently (March 09) the pub has been run down into the ground by a succession of disinterested temping managers, consistently running out of beers, rubbish and wheelie bins out the front, increasingly worn and tatty furnishings and staffed by surly young staff who think they’re doing you a favour. I’m really saddened by the decline, but it’s a great opportunity for a refit and a revamp. Get in there Gordon!

Wiccaman777 - 23 Mar 2009 19:37
You have just described why it use to be such a good pub(well one of the reasons)
Different types of people used it, didnt get in each others way or cramp each others style, yet still felt part of the pub as a whole.
tottenhamsean - 22 Nov 2008 12:02
Just seen the comments made on the Gate. I use to run the Starting Gate back in the early 90's with my husband for Taylor Walker - it was always a lively local pub and although a circular bar it had four corners in respect of different groups, locals, students always very popular with them, our gay community, loved them, and those popping in from the station from work. Paddy and myself loved the Starting Gate and were married there in 92 - what a great bash that was - so its sad to read some of the comments - come on present landlord make it a great pub again, just listen to what your customers want.
Wexford - 6 Nov 2008 13:07
I found this to be a decent enough pub with an eating area and stone oven for baking pizzas at the rear and reasonable bar at the front. Adnams, Guinness and standard/premium lagers were all available from a polite barmaid and Sky Sports football was playing on a projector screen and plasma.

This is not somewhere I would go out of my way to visit or stay in all night, but it is ok for a couple of swifties or maybe a nice looking pizza.
Strongers - 5 Nov 2008 07:29
This is an excellent pub for that drink after work
ZymurgyX - 22 Oct 2008 16:41
The bar staff here are so badly managed that each one of them charges a completely different price for the same drink - it happened to me when I went back in there on Saturday night after an absence of more than a year!

There was barely anybody in there except for one dodgy looking group of regulars who kept staring at me (I'm perfectly respectable looking) and a few bored couples.

Another limp-along enterprise in North London.
goodtimeguy - 19 Jul 2008 19:42
been back after a couple of years.....oh dear! not much has changed apart from it getting worse. AVOID!!!
hooby - 28 Jun 2008 08:56
Decent local, decent pizza. Those slagging it off must be a bit up their own you know what
GABS - 31 May 2008 18:03
was a classic old school London pub, reall great decor.Not the same since the refurb a few years ago,very pricey as well.Decent Guinness though
tottenhamsean - 29 May 2008 13:57
Looks promising from the outside, but in reality it's rubbish. Is it a pub? Is it a pizzeria? Caught in a weird half way house. The crappy background muzak you get in pretentious city pubs drove me mad. whatever you're in to I guess......
London28 - 2 Mar 2008 22:15
Cracking pub which has been my local for the past year. Ideal place to pop in for a couple of pints (and is right next to Ally Pally BR Station). Does very good pizzas - recommend coming on Tuesday nights when they are two for one. Alternatively come on Thursday nights when they do two for one cocktails. Only one beer hand pumped beer, but it's pretty well kept. Definitely the only pub in the Wood Green area worth going to.
Crow_Valley - 31 May 2007 19:05
The Gate is one of those pubs which has so much potential to be a great pub, but somehow manages to fall down along the way.
I popped in on a Saturday night and found it not to be too packed, and yet service wasn't the fastest because the barman wasn't actually at the bar. There was a fairly good selection of beer taps, but the only one that hadn't run out was Carlsberg. And the reasonably good selection of music was turned off halfway through the evening in favour of the cricket.
Which is a shame, because it's got a decent looking interior, and far enough away from Wood Green to not attract the hordes.
nonstick - 29 Apr 2007 18:57
Went there last week on Monday for the quiz and it was bloody brilliant!
Went again tonight and it was just as good. Highly recommended. The quiz master (landlord?) is a real laugh and made the whole thing fun for us. See you next week! x
anonymous - 23 Apr 2007 23:36
Rumour has it this place will be getting a facelift sometime soon, so I'll be interested to see what they do with it as it does need something...

Having said that it is looking so much better than it has in the past, and there is a distinct lack of dodgy looking characters these days, just locals, families, workers off the train and the odd bunch of students.

Looking up...

anonymous - 3 Apr 2007 16:02
went there last night after about six months away and....OMFG! what has happened to this place?? used to be nice and relaxed with a studenty vibe but now its just a toilet. Shame,Shame, Shame....tut,tut...
anonymous - 16 Dec 2006 19:20
What a shame that this pub didn't transfer to lease with the other 750 or so Spirit Group sites a while ago. The brewery have not invested any money in it since it was first converted to a BRB 5 years ago. If it was run by a leasee by someone who cared about the pub in its individual form (rather than one of 2000 sites they own) the pub would be in a much better state than it is now.
saynotospoons - 1 Dec 2006 16:18
I use to love this pub 4 0r 5 years ago.The quiz nights were Hilirious.
Was k when it first got the refurb,although i didnt like the style.But now....Naah.
The west end prices are a big turn off as well
tottenhamsean - 13 Nov 2006 17:45
since Jo and Roxy went things have gone downhill...rapidly!
hooby - 8 Oct 2006 20:25
Went last night to the gate after not having been there for a month or so. It had completely changed. This pub was the best in the area for those who don't like pubs like the nelson etc and want to have some decent food while drinking.

Not anymore, it was filled with, what I would call, a Weatherspoons crowd. Noisy drunken idiots everywhere and the usual young crowd had dissappeared and this was a tuesday where it is normally packed for 2-4-1 pizza.

I understand that the pub has changed manager recently, well he better get things sorted quickly as I am sure he is losing regular customers quickly. It takes even longer than usual to get served (about 10 mins) and food took 35 mins to arrive.

A shame for the pub as there are plenty more fairly decent pubs popping up in the area, would recommend a trip to the ranelagh or salisbury for those that liked the gate in its old ways.
Bobo1 - 20 Sep 2006 17:07

Popped in for a quick beer between trains the other (Thursday) night. Young crowd. Seemed fine.
Took a while to get served, though they had run out of all the draught beer, and was working their way throught the bottled stuff.

Big screens showing sports - well it was darts, but you get the point. Few people in the pizza place at the back. Will give that a go next time.

sausageroll - 30 Jul 2006 21:46
nice and chilled.....a bit too studenty for my liking though, a bit prententious.... thinks its a trendy establishment in Islington rather than a backstreet pub in Wood Green
hooby - 15 Jun 2006 15:50
Generally a nice pub. During the day it can be nice and relaxed but at weekends it can get very busy and noisy and getting served takes ages. Drinks can be pricey but they have a good selection. The pizza's are usually good but they do have off days - try the Malteser Sundae though, it's great!
stripytiger - 13 Jun 2006 09:14
Not a bad pub. As previous reviews have stated, some of the furniture leaves a lot to be disired. The Scots guy who seemed to be manager a while back was great, friendly and efficient. I too forgot to pick up my tab one night, but I don't think anything extra had been added to it. I've been a couple of time when the music has been terrible an too loud and ended up leaving. The food is very good. The biggest problem with this pub though is the time the kitchen closes. The Belgian waffles are fantastic, but the last couple of times I didn't want to order my desert before I'd had my pizza, so asked what time the kitchen would be closing. When I went to the bar to order my desert (a good half-hour before I'd been told the kitchen would be closing) I was told that the kitchen had closed. I've not been back since. Had the kitchen not shut early, I would probably given the pub a rating of 8 or 9 rather than a 5.
Iwannamonkey - 2 May 2006 14:05
Very pretty, authentic interior with a circular bar. Service can be slow but pizzas are good. Also shows live sport. Quite a mix of customers. Obviously a traditional pub at one time which is now more trendy.
thehonesttruth - 11 Mar 2006 18:33
used to be nice, but really the food is terrible, the pizzas are small and stale. the staff are utterly vile and the clientele are scum. Avoid :((
dazzles - 7 Mar 2006 00:01
Marvellous little pub opposite Ally Pally train station that has the unusual advantage of an in-house pizzeria.
Drinks are more expensive than anywhere else in this neck of the woods, but they do offer some fine drafts, an impressive selection of bottled beers and even some pretty decent cocktails.
Bar service isn't for the impatient but is assured and efficient when it finally arrives.
The regulars seem very tolerant of infrequent and first-time visitors which always helps a place and the background music is surprisingly ecclectic with something for more or less everyone being played if you stick around long enough.
The food is exceptional and not badly priced either. If you are in a group of four or more I recommend the following tactic: Whoever gets a round in orders a pizza as well and you share it when it comes, repeating the process when every member of your party's turn to buy a round comes. By the end of the evening you'll have each eaten roughly a whole pizza but had many different toppings and not stuffed yourself all at once making you feel bloated.
Run by the same company behind the equally splendid Junction pub near Highbury & Islington Tube station.
Mr.Monkfish - 19 Dec 2005 11:35
Used to love this place.
TapsPunk - 5 Dec 2005 17:47
I used to frequent this pub between 1980 and 1991 when I lived first in in Tower Terrace and then at 469 High Road Wood Green. I think I first drank there in September 1979 in fact on a visit to London from the North. I now live in Australia and miss the London pubs if not the weather. I met my first wife in The Gate in 1987 when she was the barmaid. I was a member of the Starting Gate quiz league team that was victorious in the Taylor Walker North London League in 1987 and 1988. I went back about five years ago and it wasn't much different, but I'll be back with some of the old crowd on August 28th to see how it has changed.

The Starting Gate played a big part in my life all those years ago, when it was a classic local pub with great regulars - a mixture of locals, a bit of a gay crowd and also labourers, students and old timers: a real London local pub in fact..At that time most of the other pubs in Wood Green, (The Nightingale, The Fishmongers Arms, The Nelson, The Duke of Edinburgh, the dump opposite the tube station, the name of which escapes me)were really very bad - so the SG stood out.

beeroclock - 24 Jun 2005 03:12
I love this pub. I was drinking here many moons ago when it was The Starting Gate (in acknowledgement to it's proximity to the Old Alexandra Park racecourse). It had a big facelift which saw all the old regulars disappear, largely due to the huge hike in prices. That said, the high prices tend to deter the local kids discovering pubs for the first time. It is s real local too. I often run into my neighbours in there and the bar staff are top notch, especially Paul. Get him to do some glass juggling alá Tom Cruise in Cocktail for you! The other staff are all very friendly too, especially Olly who is always in a good mood no matter what. Service can be a problem due to the circular 'island' type bar. But that's a consideration in all pubs with this kind of layout. They allow kids in so long as they behave themselves, they show all the major sports and the food is great and cheap, which I suppose makes up for the beer prices. Avoid it on nights when there are gigs etc at Ally Pally. It gets rammed. recommended night is Tuesday. 2-4-1 Pizza's!!
BWW - 9 Jun 2005 11:59
In response to danrkelly (10 May)
Thats what i like about this pub. It's a five minute walk from the hustle of Wood Green but when you arrive it's like your miles from there. True the Pizza's are just OK and it is a bit of a student hang out, but thats fine by me. I'd rather drink with a bunch of students as opposed to the power drinkers & Chav wannabees at any of the other Wood Green pubs.
Of course it's not the best pub in London, but it's definatly my favourite local.
ganger - 21 May 2005 10:46
On a positive note is is certainly worth walking up from Wood Green to have a beer here but that's cos WG is so awful not cos this bar is so great.
It's OK for a few on a Thursday night and the pizzas are OK in a 21st sorta way. However we did go one time on a Saturday night though and there were some very sad drunken youths in there, they didn't appear that pikey so I assume they were students. Reminded a lot of being in the provinces on the UK i.e. townies
danrkelly - 10 May 2005 11:15
I have recently moved into the area (Bounds Green) and having passed this pub several times on my way to Alley Pally I decided to go there yesterday with a friend, and I'm glad that I did.
The pub sells a limited selection of beers but who cares when they serve Erdinger on draught. The decor is striped down wood (almost Hoxton trendy) and the atmosphere is laid back. The wood fired Pizzas are inexpensive and tasty. The only complaint I've got is that at first the bar service was a little slow but it soon picked up when when the Obi Wan Kenobi look alike went upstairs for a break and 2 girls replaced him. All in all a relaxwd afternoon was spent there and i came away looking forward to returning soon.

ganger - 8 May 2005 15:58
Went there before seeing The Streets at All Pally last Friday. Cool music, waaaaay fit barmaid, but nightmare getting served. Good place to meet if you're off to a gig at the Palace as it's just by the station.
Big_Lad - 14 Mar 2005 15:57
Chris is absolutely right and I, too, have now booked a table. This is great news - thanks Chris!
anonymous - 12 Oct 2004 13:47
Oh, and you can book a table in the pizza parlour bit..because I just have!(re. Pippa)
Chris - 23 Sep 2004 17:14
I think the Gate is one of the best pubs in the area. Food is good and have enjoyed 2 for 1 cocktails on Thursdays. The quiz is definately not rigged because I have once one it!
chris - 23 Sep 2004 17:12
Pizzas are wonderful - and great value, especially on a Tuesday. They are nearly as good as Pizza Express and a fraction of the price. Happy Hours is also good value, with a bottle of wine for £6.00. It can get very crowded and smoky though and if there's a gig on at Ally Pally - then forget it! It would be good if you could book a table in the "pizza parlour" bit - but they're having none of it! There are strange sinks in ladies - more like giant troughs. This BRB is much nicer than the one in Soho, which is a nightmare.
Pippa - 8 Jul 2004 14:11
Several visits to this pub but haven't tried their pizza. Did find it took a long time to get served at the bar - wouldn't be my first choice for an evening out.
elllie - 11 Apr 2004 09:45
an average pub really, but with great pizzas, especially on tues when buy 1 get 1 free. beer is average, atmosphere is average and yes the table are v poor, why not invest in some proper furniture . not get it off the pikeys down the road !
also the quiz is is a fun night but definately rigged !
dan - 28 Mar 2004 16:20
have visited this pub on serveral occasions and have set up a tab many times, was disapointed to see that after forgetting to collect my tab on sat night, the following day i had been charged for extra drinks, when i asked for my reciept they couldnt find it and i was told that there was nothing I could do about it as it was their word against mine, customer relations marks out of 10 ....0..not even an appology or a poxy free pint, and this is the pub that I drink in three times a week, poor.
sophiestapleton - 1 Mar 2004 22:30
Like Owen said, it was originally a nice renovation of a grotty old pub, but it's already showing signs of wear and tear - the tables are almost impossible to stand a pint on! But the sofas are nice and squashy and there's a decent wine list if that's your bag.
Martin - 16 Dec 2003 14:11
Managed to retain its character post the transformation to BRB - including our baldy landlord (who initially was against the change!) All your favourite beers, comfy leather sofas, tasty pizza etc. Bit of a student crowd developing which is a concern. Perhaps the prices need to go up to encourage them to go to the Nelson instead!
James - 18 Aug 2003 16:57
BRB is great, it appeals to everyone and they let children in too! They have a sepcail 2 for 1 pizza offer on Tuesdays and a quiz on Wednesday nights.
Svetlana - 13 Aug 2003 11:16
Used to be an old Railway pub but now transformed into a semi-trendy bar. Decent range of shots and the bar staff are open to suggestions if you want them to try something different.

DJ on a Friday (Soul, Motown, old school R n B...good stuff) and Saturday (more mellow and relax stuff) and decent youngish crowd in.

Good range of pizzas and if you can't be bothered to go into London on a Friday then this will do nicely
anonymous - 14 Apr 2003 15:43
Indeed, the pub and the pizza was recommended to me by some foodie Sardinian friends, very nice. Had avoided it for years but pleasantly surprised at the thoughtful transformation, remember it as that old man's pub. Shows all the football, Service is punctual and friendly. not that I'm complaining.
Seano - 9 Apr 2003 22:08
NIcely converted from a grotty old mans establishment to a bright, airy pub. Has original 1860's wood and etched windows. Nice pizzas.
Owen - 8 Jan 2003 16:39

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