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Hop and Berry, Islington

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user reviews of the Hop and Berry, Islington

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

Typically pretentious menu with overpriced dishes of 'Little Chef' quality. Very disappointing. Pub was ok and drinks were fine though
filf - 27 Oct 2013 11:47
It's an OK pub, and I'd be happy to have it as my local. But it doesn't have enough character or charm or individuality to be worth a walk from the nearest station. There's tables and chairs and plenty of exposed wood. It's laid back and cool, and there's a range of beers. It's just lacking something....
SilkTork - 12 Oct 2012 23:47
Despite the stuffy atmosphere we decided to eat, wasn't that bad but there's just something odd about this pub. The food was ok, but very overpriced. At times you could hear a pin drop in there...there is no warmth to this pub which used to be rather cosy.
Scribble1808 - 6 Feb 2012 13:19
The picture above is quite old as the railings have now gone and there is a decked seating rea at the front. Pleasant pub with a restaurant at the back (only appears to open in the evenings now). 3 beers on when I went (they usually have more) and a good selection of bottles beers as well. I had a very nice pint of Plain Ales "Sheep Dip" and the others were from Otley and Cheddar. The bar has the feeling of a Gastro-style pub but I think they are now majoring on beer rather then the food. Coffee is available. It is a fair walk from Highbury & Islington station (or about the same distance to Angel) but it was a bright crisp chilly day and the walk was worth it.
mcroyal - 2 Feb 2012 09:42
OK, so it doesn't really feel like a pub but it does excellent ale, well kept and well served and good food, based onwhat I had (pork chop with chorizo risotto). A comfy atmosphere without intrusive TV and music and by the way, a truely beautiful girl behind the bar. So what's to knock.....?
Dave_the_Bee - 21 Jul 2011 00:24
Nice pub this. It's quite a smart gaff, not really the homely kind of hostelry but it's a very comfortable place to drink and socialise. Good selection of interesting ales which were all well kept (on tasting) and very friendly bar staff.

The food was excellent although overpriced. I had pig cheeks on mash with savoy cabbage. It was a small portion and whilst tasting excellent was far too expensive at 13.50. If you're reading this landlord, just upping the quantities of the mash and cabbage would make all the difference.

The chunky chips were brilliant and the sausage roll was as good as I've ever had.

All in all a very nice place to eat and drink.

@bobwillis - I simply do not believe you to be genuine, your review is practically diametrically opposed to everyone else's. It's so negative it lacks any credibility. I notice you have not reviewed any other establishments either. I smell a rat.
Dylarolla - 14 Jan 2011 11:14
Large open plan pub with central bar. Not busy in the afternoon but I bet it is evenings. Games available. The background music was a little load for a quiet pub.

4 ales on yesterday - Harvest Pale, Pendle Witches, Proper Job and Yellowhammer. Excellent quality - 3.30 a pint. Worth a visit.
cheshirecat - 23 Oct 2010 09:51
I really like this pub. I never used to bother with it before it changed hands, but the new guys have really improved it, and Dylan1970 is right, these guys really take care of their ale.
Had a great time in here last night sitting round the bar talking to the amazingly friendly and welcoming bar staff and customers.

4 cask beers normally on out of 6 handpumps, plus 9 or 10 bottles including Brewdog punk IPA, and meantime beers on keg. Every effort possible put in to make sure all the beer is in premium condition.
There are plans to expand to 6 cask ales, once people get to know they are there and use them enough (So get in here and give them a go!) They even take beer requests, so I'll be putting mine in shortly. Thornbridge Jaipur or Darkstar Hophead, what do you reckon?


juliastig - 30 Sep 2010 13:22
Have to agree with dylan1970 - new management making a real go of the place. Castle Rock Harvest Pale and Elgood's Golden Newt both excellent. Sausage rolls got a big thumbs up from @TheHappyBat.

bobwillis - I've been working round the corner from this pub since it was Houricans. Previous owners did "gastro" food and had beer because it was obligatory. This crew appears to actually like ale, as well as understanding the difference between a demonstration of the chef's skill and a meal...
london_drunker - 25 Sep 2010 17:26
what a lovely pub, speaking to the new owner, who took me to the new refurbed cellar, wow, so much attention to detail on the ales, and i love the fact that let me taste all 6 ales on offer before even buying one. these guys really take care of their ale, i was well impressed, my fav of the night was the alton fff, yummy. will defo be back, a excellent real house house. thanks you guys
dylan
dylan1970 - 24 Sep 2010 13:57
This used to be a great pub, good staff, great beer and good food but recently it has taken on a change. The beer is below standard for the prices charged, the food leaves much to be desired and the staff are unwelcoming and rude. It is such a shame that what was once a really good pub with great atmosphere has changed into a drab, horrible place. I will not be frequenting this establishment anytime soon!
bobwillis - 3 Sep 2010 09:47
Good ale, great food, footie on in the corner and helpful friendly staff. Couldn't have asked for more on a rainy tuesday night.
owen_b2 - 26 Aug 2010 11:18
The Barnsbury is more of a gastro pub then a triditional pub, but it does make a change from the cocktail lounges and wine bars on Upper st. Three hand pumped ales (that vary) and a decent range of largers.
badchaps - 23 Sep 2009 17:32
Yes, this is more a restaurant than a pub but what a great place. Interesting real ales, wines, bottle beers. Excellent food, nice little garden (with resident door mouse that ate the crumbs!). Friendly, helpful service which seems hard to come by in certain nearby establishments.
SergeantD - 27 Apr 2009 12:01
Attractive looking, but I can only echo the comments of others who describe this as a restaurant rather than a pub. In the last few months I've found myself in quite a few of Islington's gastro-pubs which put the emphasis more on food than on drinking (e.g. the Crown), but at least those places still offer at least a bit of pub ambience. The Barnsbury is not just a gastro-pub, but is totally a restaurant which happens to have a pub-style bar in the middle.

We had a nice pint of Landlord (I think Pride was the other option) and a Paulaner on draught, sadly at more like restaurant prices (near 8 for the two I think). But as we were not eating we wandered off very quickly.
dpv - 16 Jun 2008 12:41
Attractive looking, but I can only echo the comments of others who describe this as a restaurant rather than a pub. In the last few months I've found myself in quite a few of Islington's gastro-pubs which put the emphasis more on food than on drinking (e.g. the Crown), but at least those places still offer at least a bit of pub ambience. The Barnsbury is not just a gastro-pub, but is totally a restaurant which happens to have a pub-style bar in the middle.

We had a nice pint of Landlord (I think Pride was the other option) and a Paulaner on draught, sadly at more like restaurant prices (near 8 for the two I think). But as we were not eating we wandered off very quickly.
dpv - 16 Jun 2008 12:41
BoehmBarwerk hits the nail on the head. There is nothing wrong with staff or the presentation, even the owner, normally very hassled, can be friendly, but it is NOT A PUB.
secretdrinker - 27 May 2008 15:42
Actually better than most other pubs in the area thanks to its dimmed lighting sculpted from upturned wine glasses. The staff were pleasant, albeit clearly put out that we were not there to eat. There were also people wearing suits in the pub on a sunday which struck me as a little odd, although each to their own.
BoehmBawerk - 21 Apr 2008 13:30
Sorry to say, I have to join in with the catalogue of complaints about the sh*tty service in this place. We had booked a table for Sunday lunch at 12.30pm, agreeing to give up the table at 2.30pm. That in itself always makes my blood boil. But when the service is so slow/churlish/inhospitable, I really lose the plot!

We were hassled to hurry up and order from the minute we arrived, and appeared to have committed a mortal sin as 2 of our party were running slightly late. Despite being reminded (ad nauseum) we were being ousted 2.30pm, we waited 25 mins for our starters to be cleared. Our main courses did not arrive until 2.15pm, leaving us a luxurious whole 15mins to eat. (Though to be fair, we may have contributed to this delay by sending back 2 plates of beef which were so rare as to be filling the plates with blood). We then had the bizarre situation of a waiter at one end of the table telling us to eat up and get lost, whilst a waitress at the other was doing the hard-sell on desserts, coffees, more drinks etc etc.....

Why don't they just ditch the bar and become the snotty Islington restaurant they so badly want to be?
KathDyer - 17 Dec 2007 10:39
Oh and I saw a very grumpy Mel Smith drinking scotch and ale in here.
secretdrinker - 28 Jun 2007 14:00
Used to be alot livelier as Houricans but as previous reviews have pointed out this is no longer a pub.
secretdrinker - 28 Jun 2007 13:57
This isn't a pub at all - its a snobby wannabe restaurant. On Saturday night we ate a rather nice Vietnames next door & thought we had timed it perfectly to get last orders in at the Barnsbury: we got to the (empty) bar at 10.50 to be told that we weren't going to be served as we had not bought food there! The pub was about two third full with no one waiting to be served and about 3 bar staff stood doing nothing so why they did not want to serve two more people with ten minutes before time is beyond me. The manager (whose dictat the staff were following) is obviously either too lazy to worry about his customers (ie wanted to knock off early) or thinks he is managing Le Gavroche. If they can't be bothered with customers, then they don't deserve them & we certainly won't be going there again.
Cheekios - 12 Mar 2007 14:30
As long as you realise this is not a pub in the normal sense-or not at least the Saturday night we were there-this is a good place.Packed with diners,including a bling heavy hen party that must ahve strayed from Upper Street,it is wise to book.They did find a place for the two of us,infront of the fire,were perfectly charming and not put out that all we wanted was a selection of starters.Washed down with an interesting bottle of red,a pleasant if not inexpensive light supper.A good antedote to the effects of a film gorefest that had put our nerves on edge.Will be back.
jhf - 29 Jan 2007 12:53
Met some friends here, my second visit to this pub. I knew they carried Timmy Taylors Landlord which I had planned to drink before going to eat at the Vietnamese next door. We lucked into a table to sit at on a very busy night and Brewer's Gold was on, which proved to be even better than the Landlord. We were so enjoying ourselves we decided to eat there. The prices were far too high for me but my friends aren't so skint. I had the venison and it was absolutely terrific. Based on this visit, I will definitely be going back.
jackvervacke - 14 Nov 2006 22:36
Actually the food's not very good anyway.
celt7 - 23 Oct 2006 01:40
To be fair this wouldn't be the type of pub that I'd normally drink in. It's a gastropub and has all the attendant prententions and a typically braying, self-satisfied Islington type of clientele. However, my friend(a newly card-carrying member) said that it was on CAMRA's list of recommended pubs and so he dragged myself and my other drinking buddies along to check it out. The CAMRA recommendation was a bit of a red herring to be truthful as they had a very limited selection of "real" beers(is lager fictional?) of which one was an inoffensive to the point of being offensive brew called "Sunchaser" which was devoid of any type of flavour and is best avoided, another however was a top notch drop of Timothy Taylor's Landlord. I stuck largely to lager in the form of draught Amstel which was cold, crisp and fresh.
The decor wasn't unpleasant if a little too minimalist to create much of a feeling of an inviting place to drink for any length of time. The "chandeliers" made of upturned wine glasses were a nice touch though.
Barstaff were fairly quick and unfailingly polite and friendly, but the price of 3 a pint was a bit much.
Sitting outside on the sadly uncovered pavement is the best way to enjoy this pub and it's quite a nice place to while away the hours watching the world go by.
All in all not irredeemable but not worth straying off of the beaten track specifically to visit.
Mr.Monkfish - 12 Aug 2006 09:53
Hmmm, another lunchtime pub which is somewhat different to it's evening incarnation it seems. Quiet enough with a few drinkers, the beer (Landlord) & food was fine, although yes gastro pub prices. The single bar keeper seemed happy to see us on what may have been a grave yard shift and treated us well. I feel an evening crawl around the Albion, Drapers and the Barnsbury is called for to view the other side....
Harlap - 8 Jun 2006 14:49
Nice pub with good selection of drinks available, but after buying a round the price made my eyes water and I had to leave, never to return.
anonymous - 14 Apr 2006 10:54
Rather drink here than most places on upper street. Although it is rather clinical, the furniture doesn't all match which is nice. Certainly recommend the Tim Taylor on tap to. Hmm nice alliteration. CYCLISTS: Ecellent places to chain your bike up right outside the windows.
danrkelly - 18 Feb 2006 02:09
Visited last night (08/02/06) for a meal with my partner and found the service here businesslike but polite. Although a "gastro" pub I did observe people sitting at the bar having a quiet pint without the difficulties experienced by previous commentators. Maybe there are new staff since last autumn.

This is the first time I visited this pub (having discovered it in Camra's GBG). There were three real ales on, the best of these being Timothy Taylor Landlord in very good condition.

I would not describe either the beer or the food as "cheap" but rather good value "restaurant-grade" food served in the pub environment. Some good value "tapas" available too. I have to commend them on the haddock fillet with celeriac chips and spinach.

Music is unobtrusive and allows for conversation. The setting is mainly tables seating 2, 4 or 6, and although (as previous commentators have observed) many of these are reserved, the pub was not heaving and there was room for more.

My recommendations of the Barnsbury are from personal experience, and are as follows: -

This is definitely NOT somewhere a group of people can stay in for a five-pinter session, but rather a good place to eat during a crawl.

I would go again. However when I am in a large group I would probably go somewhere else.
lad_newton - 9 Feb 2006 19:15
Occupying an appealing Victorian building in the heart of Canonbury, this horribly modernised gastropub is the very essence of crassness disguised as 'refinement'. The clientele run the whole range from city dullards to loud-mouthed media types and less discerning locals. Even the beer garden is ruined by the people. Some good Belgian beers, but the atmosphere is so oppressive you'd be tempted to drink yourself to death. Avoid at all costs.
Hal - 28 Oct 2005 04:06
This is the worst pub I have ever visited. Warning. Do not go.
You know how it is. You get a text from a friend saying they have just been to see a movie and are having a drink in a pub just around the corner, would you like to join them. You get a call from another friend asking what you're up to that evening so you tell them to meet you in the Barnsbury. Before you know it a small gathering has become a medium sized gathering of an enormous fifteen or so people, all buying drinks, some even buying bar snacks or chunky chips. Most pubs would be overjoyed at this level of custom. But not the Barnsbury. "Are you expecting any more guests?" we were asked as if we'd just fouled the carpet. "We don't allow big groups. If you come here again we won't give you a table." Now there were two empty table next to our group, there was no queue at the door, people weren't banging on the window demanding service, we weren't drinking heavily, shouting, carousing, raping or pillaging in fact some of our group were so crazy they were ordering cups of tea or bottles of overpriced coke because "they were driving!" Outrageous behaviour I hear you all cry. So what was our crime? "Not ordering food. Apparently, being a "gastropub" they make most of their money from food. Well at 7.50 for two unremarkable drinks I find that a bit hard to swallow. And if complaints about their absurd helpings are anything to go by the food is pretty hard to swallow as well. Now a quiet word in our ear or a polite sign on the door stating that they are a "gastropub" and prefer small groups who don't mind small helpings would have been acceptable, but to take our money and then interrupt and ruin our evening with rude, sniping, abrupt, curt and downright offensive comments is outrageous and I will never drink, eat or even breathe the air in this place again. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!
freepubregular - 23 Oct 2005 13:05
Thinking of going here for a nice meal? Think again.

Went for Sunday lunch yesterday and ordered roast lamb. When it arrived it was 3 small pieces of lamb on some green beans - no other veg or even potatoes were included in the 13.50. When I mentioned my surprise at this to the waitress I was told to 'order some sides' and 'that's how it appears in the menu - what more do you want us to do?' to which I replied 'I want you to fetch the manager' - a request which sadly was ignored.

It would also have been more pleasant if they took the time to clean their beer pipes properly as there was a terrible case of barfly.

I urge you to not go here.
planetgeoff - 3 Oct 2005 13:02
Looks like a very nice pub from the outside, but you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover...

We visited on a Saturday evening around 6pm, with no other customers in the pub. We were told in no uncertain terms that we were not welcome, despite the fact there were a large number of unreserved tables and no other customers. Our crime : not immediately ordering food while we purchased a round of drinks!

When I asked the manager if this was a pub or a restaurant I was told it was a 'Gastro Pub'!

This place may well have excellent food, but it was let down by the manager's bad attitude even though he 'did not mean to be rude', but 'made there money from food'. From looking at the reviews below it seems that this was not the first time.

Try the Draper's Arms or the Duchess of Kent instead where the staff are far more accomodating and the food and beer excellent.
jez77 - 7 Feb 2005 11:54
"I don't mean to be rude but you're not welcome here" - these are the manager's exact words to a bunch of us prospective drinkers. This place should be removed from here as it is not a pub but a "gastropub" (exact words again) and thus not suitable for just drinking. Go up the road to the Duchess of Kent instead.
anonymous - 6 Feb 2005 15:54
Was there for a pint over xmas. The beer was mediocre and the place was super-heated, very uncomfortable. It really cannot call itself a "pub" either - as the barman himself admitted, they make all their money from food, so this is what they focus on. If you want to go and have a drink, go elsewhere. If you want to go and have a meal in a restaurant which looks a bit like a pub, go here.
beer - 5 Jan 2005 10:07
There are better Gastropubs in Islington, but the food here is still of an extremely high standard. They have a good wine list and a decent selection of beers. Probably not somewhere you'd want to come and spend the whole evening, but you could do a lot worse for dinner.
Gerontay - 13 Dec 2004 14:49
Not our experience at all on a v busy Sunday lunch. Service could not have been better - very friendly. Food was just what we wanted and excellent vfm for the quality. I like it very much indeed - a welcome change from the usual pub food dross.
Paolo - 30 Mar 2004 14:33
Extremely poor service, very slow, food very moderate for price and waited 45 minutes for bill even with promping several times.
butch - 26 Mar 2004 13:27
I used to love this pub. However, when I visited recently to celebrate my girlfiend's birthday, the staff were very rude to us. They told us they were too busy for our party to stay in there and asked us to leave so they could have their table back (we'd done nothing worse than sit round the table quietly, buying drinks and food).

Lovely pub, shame about the staff!
Matt - 16 Feb 2004 09:46
A good local with a laid back thirty something crowd. Excellent food and defintitely superior to the Upper St crap. Barman told me they have just been listed in the Michelin Guide. If true, well done, as it has still kept a cosy pub feel.
JDee - 22 Jan 2004 11:17
Does very good food but bar staff are a bit dopey
Sam - 9 Dec 2003 10:58
Was an old boozer complete with swirly red sticky carpet and smelly loos. Now smart new pub with cool laid back feel. Not overly crowded and excellent food.
Patrick - 28 Mar 2003 16:15

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