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Camden Head, Islington

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user reviews of the Camden Head, Islington

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

Another classic london pub. Central bar area - everytime I try and get served, the barstaff are always on the otherside of the partition. Good Doom Bar last night.
Mappiman - 25 Sep 2012 20:03
Worth visiting for its architectural niceties but , as seems to be the case with so many London pubs of this type, the ambience and greeting were lack lustre. I popped in for a look but didn't feel like sticking around. Agree with comments below. A lot of wasted potential. Maybe the mid day mid week timing of my visit makes the comments a bit unfair. Only one of the real ales was on tap:-the now ubiquitous Doom Bar.
tarkatherotter - 8 Apr 2011 19:33
Could be a great pub but the bar staff let it down. Had to wait an age to get served even though not busy, and worst crime of all saw barman topping up someones pint of real ale from the drip tray!!
nobbythesheep - 25 Mar 2011 09:58
Enjoyed a couple of pints of well-kept Doom Bar in the beer garden yesterday evening. See there is the flag of St.Piran flying. Is the owner Cornish?
DuchyBoy - 5 Jul 2010 09:46
THIS PUB COULD BE AMAZING. BUT ALAS IT FAILS TO EVEN REALISE ITS POTENTIAL. ITS THE KIND OF PLACE WHERE THE CUSTOMERS SEEM TO SPEND MORE TIME IN THE TOILETS THAN THE BAR.
Sofia1980 - 26 Mar 2010 14:23
The Camden Head is situated at the end of a narrow pedestrian alley lined with quaint antique shops, a little spot of London that has changed little since the likes of Dickins was rambling around looking for inspiration. Fortunately the pub remains one of the best preserved Victorian pubs in London with many outstanding features even if it has had a few knocks down the years. Some of the larger windows have sadly been replaced with plain glass but there is enough beautifully etched glass, both inside and out, for you to realise just how effort the Victorians put into their pubs.

The interior is now a single room with an Island bar (complete with impressive central bar back and clock) but still retains much of its Victorian splendour. Note the water taps on the bar (no longer functional) and even a call bell (the only one I have seen in London pub) from the days when the pub would have been divided into smaller rooms. Screens divide the seating areas and there is a cosy recess by the stairs with a couple of tables. On the Ale front, only London Pride survives from my previous visit with the ubiquitous Bombardier and GK IPA now thankfully replaced by Doom Bar and Tribute. Prices are very good (Pride was £2.50 and change from £3 for the others). The pub grub menu was also reasonably priced (the all too familiar burger and a pint was £7) and several people were eating which was a good sign. There were 2 TVís but not too intrusive and a large outside patio area. Additional seating can be found upstairs which is also home to regular Comedy evenings and where the Kinks played some of their early gigs. For me this, historic and attractive pub is one of the first places to head for when in the area, especially now the ale selection has improved.

RogerB - 22 Oct 2009 12:57
This is a really nice traditional pub. It is handy for the Angel tube. The food is always excellent and you don't have to wait ages for it to be cooked. Real ales, good choice of wine and bar staff who are polite and know what they are doing e.g,. making up Pimms. Much better that the usual Upper Street standard.
seagullfan - 3 Aug 2009 07:28
Could not ask for better on a sunday afternoon.London pride served promptly in A1 condition, quiet and friendly.
Shellix2000 - 1 Feb 2009 13:24
Used to be a great little Victorian boozer. Gone downhill somewhat in recent years. For christsake (1) do a bit of cleaning & maintenance and (2) employ someone who knows how to keep & serve ale and the punters will come back.
threeravensmoor - 15 Jan 2009 23:16
This pub is such a breath of fresh air from the other trendy clinical bars in the area. It is in desperate need for some TLC, and the awning outsode doesn't work, but it has such potential to be a great friendly boozer, if only someone would inject some hard cash!
t_velocity - 25 Sep 2008 19:54
It used to be a seriously trendy place in the late 60's and early 70's - I can remember propping up the bar while a Coca Cola advert was filmed outside with a load of young girls running up and down the Passage - what a lunchtime that was, me and my mate even ended up in the advert and were on telly for weeks! Today, however, it's a different place - run down and really tatty around the edges. The staff are totally disinterested and the beer is poorly kept. Shame.
BobOs - 24 Sep 2008 23:33
Its a very bad sign when you see half filled glasses in the drip trays. The beer seems a bit flat.
anonymous - 17 Jul 2008 11:07
It use to be a great pub, but bit by bit i has been losing its appeal, first it lost their jukebox, then there friendly staff member and last but not least its manager, ever since the Spanish fellow left this pub has become the worse in the area, the service is very poor and slow, their real ales are not well kept and to top this up we can hardly see the manager there, the only thing that keep this place open is the comedy club.
halo2 - 17 Apr 2008 22:27
Been coming in here for four years on and off and was glad to find that it's still the same old boozer as ever. Cute little Victorian pub with lots of characterful original features and a friendly, cosy atmosphere. A little antique worth patronising and preserving.
Greshon - 5 Mar 2008 13:44
Average pub, below average service, many better in the area
langered - 17 Feb 2008 11:17
More than attractive interior but the service left much to be desired thanks to a distinctly rude (non-polish) member of staff.
PAFLeflar - 26 Jan 2008 23:24
Another boozer where service is inexplicably slow. Always one person serving both sides of the bar, the other bar-staff present but all doing far more important things....
senberbex - 1 Oct 2007 14:42
Probably one of the better pubs close by Upper St but that doesn't necessarily mean a lot. Beer is okay, ambience can be either rowdy soon after work or full of gambling types earlier in the afternoon. Has an outside seating area though that is now fairly smokey since the ban was introduced.
TGD - 3 Sep 2007 15:20
Fine traditional pub just off the main drag in Camden - I managed to get served correctly first time without having to exercise my considerable knowledge of the Polish language, but the London Pride was only marginally acceptable.

The pub retains many original Victorian features, which is always a plus point with me and, for this reason alone, I would definitely return when next in the area. I will hope that the beer is in better condition though.

Do take time to read the potted history of the pub, on a large notice board by the pub outside drinking area at the front.
JohnBonser - 3 Jul 2007 17:04
I would like to say that in order to drink here you have to speak polish.

The staff are always talking in polish and I find it hard to have a good night out like I once did in this once great pub.
mungo07 - 26 Apr 2007 01:07
Yes, I was referring to the upstairs room gig. And to be fair I only went once - it was shit though.
anonymous - 14 Jan 2007 12:52
I'd just like to point out that Stonch(see below) was probably referring to one of the many comedy nights that take place in the upstairs room. They are all run seperately, but the monday night gig is great, fortnightly you can see established comics doing new material for £4, people like Richard Herring, Milton Jones, Tony Law and I even saw Lenny Henry there once!

DKavanagh - 13 Jan 2007 21:42
Great pub but for some reason when they decided to refurbish it they removed the juke box which was one of the two best juke boxes in London!!


coldonmac - 5 Jan 2007 13:48
Off the main drag, nicely maintained Victorian pub. Service was fine when I was last there.
insekt - 28 Nov 2006 00:31
Decent pub, with a nice interior and well placed beer garden. Some good guest ales.

The downside is the galacial service
alexdelarge - 22 Oct 2006 14:59
Decent pub. The patio out front is good for people watching (saw Clive Anderson walking past today), the interior is interesting. Good quizzer. Always has a moderately interesting guest ale on (Cally 80- today).

Word of warning - I once went to the comedy night upstairs. Absolutely terrible. And this is coming from someone who likes ropey comedy nights.
anonymous - 17 Sep 2006 19:32
Great looking pub. Well worth a visit for the centre bar, not often you see one.
GeorgeXXIII - 17 Sep 2006 17:15
Fantastic pub - one of the best along Upper Street. Decent range of beers on tap, and some reasonable food. Nice little beer garden out the front (at the end of the Camden Passage) with outdoor heaters. Never had a problem with the service - no worse than anywhere else in the area anyway!, and at least this place has some character.
Crow_Valley - 8 Jun 2006 19:25
Realy disappointed to find that the jukebox has been taken out. Dreadful ladies toilets too, in the damp cellar.

Otherwise not a bad pub for a few pints after work.
katep - 26 Apr 2006 16:04
This is a great pub within walking distance of my new pad in Islington. It features several nice beers inclusing the guest ale "Cassidy Special", which was designed right out of my own portfolio. I suggest everyone checks it out, especially those who are in the area soon.
GavinCassidy - 24 Apr 2006 14:26
I was in this pub on Sunday 9th of April and found that it had been recently refurbished and looked great. The service was good and the new manager Sarah was lovely and really made me and my friends feel welcome. The pub was really busy and had a nice atmosphere.It was a pity it started raining as the beer garden is fab. Food was good and quick too and reasonably priced. Would definitely recommend.
anonymous - 19 Apr 2006 10:59
Very nice original interior, with a grand victorian bar in the centre, faded comfy furniture , and the bonus of some outside seating. A reminder of how pubs in Islington used to be before the brand men got hold of them, spot on for a few ales mid-pub crawl. Not found the service too bad myself.
OldRogue - 16 Mar 2006 13:48
To Madcap (below) I would say the poor service was not a one off. I have never had any other kind of service here. Coupled with the fact that the regulars tend to have a touch of the inbred about them, one to avoid.
Martinl - 3 Mar 2006 12:51
Still drawn back to this place time after time, latest being last weekend. More of the usual really, stnding room only and average drinks, disappointingly slow service this time but maybe just a one off.
Madcap - 23 Jan 2006 13:51
They have some decent real ales on here, I think you can get Broadside, Deuchars and a guest - or was Deuchars the guest? Can't remember. Anyway its a busy old gin palace given the soul destroying once over by a pubco. Seems to attract shall we say a less well heeled patron, but maybe its all the better for it.
anonymous - 18 Jan 2006 18:37
Nice pub... had some good times here back in the day. Great interior and location. Lots of original features. Beer is decent but nothing special. There's some great graffiti in the bogs about the professional grumpoid of a barman that used to work there. One of the original etched windows is missing because the glass broke when he finally cracked a smile. TRUEFACT.
Albert_Campion - 6 Jan 2006 13:56
Not a bad place, full of character if nothing else. Not too much room downstairs and a few of the beers on tap were mysteriously unavailable. But friendly enough.
casemore - 6 Dec 2005 15:43
Nice pint of IPA. Good poetry night upstairs on Thursdays.
zel - 28 Oct 2005 17:08
Nice cheap and atmospheric pub. Usually has at least one decent ale on (first place I had Deuchar's IPA on tap !), and you can't beat the Victorian styling. A little run down in places (one day there was water cascading in to the point where it was raining in one corner of the pub), but I'll always keep going back there.
mrfrisky - 28 Aug 2005 15:05
Good Victorian interior with a typical Victorian centre-bar........can get packed and smokey and the aussie barman was a pratt who thought that serving all the women first and leaving the bloke's to stand around would get him laid............
anonymous - 3 Aug 2005 16:14
First time there and love it! Great atmosphere, lovely staff, really nice tunes... will come back...
JoyceKonacho - 27 Jul 2005 11:17
Absolutely beautiful, traditional pub, which is definitely worth a visit for the architecture alone. Unfortunately though, the management seems to be dodgy. They're letting the place run down a bit, and they seem to have a policy of deliberately selling a short pint.
foxski - 28 Mar 2005 18:04
A really decent pub with an amazing comedy night on Wednesdays! good prices & great decor!
anonymous - 9 Mar 2005 15:34
This pub has great Victorian features but the seats are shabby and the service is awful. I'm glad it hasn't got gastro - it's an everyman's pub - but could do with bucking up its ideas a bit.
anonymous - 4 Mar 2005 15:31
Warm Pub with character.....Food looked good and very reasonable....check out two meals for £5.99.....Mitch
lordhicks - 16 Jan 2005 21:04
A great pub if you don't like the service don't come here. If you want your drink straight away buy some cans at the offie. Great decor and lively place!!!
mattyd - 7 Jan 2005 11:58
his pub oozes nostalgia. You could imagine yourself in 1888, reading about Jack The Ripper in the Camden Gazzette gazing at the fog outside and listening to the street pedlers cries and the clippety clop of the horse drawn carts, winding their way to the local meat market. Suddenly, someone strikes up a chorus of Daisy, sung out of tune by gin soaked harridans and working men with grime on their faces. Ahhhhh, what happy soot laiden memories.......forget about the service, soak in the atmosphere!
zaparoski - 4 Jan 2005 08:19
I went here with some friends after seeing a film at the Screen On The Green. Was knocked-out by its atmosphere and the amazing interior. Has a proper old gin palace feel (not that I ever went to one). Makes you realise just how wrong chain pubs are. Look out for the old service bells dotted along the walls.

It has to be said that service was very slow on a couple of occasions but it was ok since it was my friend waiting at the bar and not me. Yay!
Stevie B - 18 Oct 2004 16:13
Wow. Everyone I know who has been to this pub thinks it has the worst service in the area. In fact we nicknamed it 'the sh*t-service pub'. I realised that I had started fully expecting to wait 10 minutes on every visit to the bar so have given up going there altogether. Good for your coppers pot though - rounds always work out as something like £12.37.
Ben - 16 Oct 2004 15:03
A great pub, a proper pub, a place where you go and say to yourself "this is a pub!"

Excellent jukebox, good ales, great layout, and what more do you need? Justifiably busy, Angel doesn't deserve a pub this good.

They have a comedy club upstairs, one of the nights Time Out has been hyping for years. I went once, and maybe it was an off night, or maybe Time Out are just easily amused. Whatever, ignore it, just enjoy the club.
travis - 14 Oct 2004 09:25
Very nice pub for a drink with your mates, particularly if you are sick of the manychain pubs littering Upper Street. Be warned though, it fills up very quickly in the evenings and, thanks to its outside seating, is jam-packed on a sunny day.
anonymous - 8 Sep 2004 15:49
Great boozer for a session especially during winter, with a great jukebox and serves Budvar. Only drawback is it's the smokiest in London.
anonymous - 7 Jul 2004 09:13
Go back in time, go the Camden Head. None of your blonde wood, brass fittings, pyramids of expensive sweet blue liquid in small bottles or women under 30 here (apart from the cool ones).
anonymous - 25 Nov 2003 13:25

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