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North London Tavern, Kilburn

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user reviews of the North London Tavern, Kilburn

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

Become pretty average (though that is good for Kilburn I suppose) but the ales were the big let down this time as they were between mediocre and dire.
anonymous - 25 Mar 2016 15:26
Formerly the North London Hotel, the building is a classic late Victorian gin palace in a road of multcultural shops. Inside, it's quite noisy and dark but the decent beers make up for it (and you might need them if heading south to the Guinness-only pubs in the High Road!)
16jamesdoc - 28 Oct 2015 12:46
Gastropub that is absolutely rammed with young professionals come 6am. Nice outside seating area to take in the buzzing metropolis that is Kilburn High Road.

No reason to seek this place out, although it's by far the classiest joint in the area.
QueensParker - 6 Nov 2013 05:04
Poor selection of ales on a visit last Monday. Just a light and dark from the Twickenham Brewery.

Cliqueish atmosphere so we didn't stop for long. Not my kind of pub.
willesden_seadog - 14 Feb 2013 10:37
This is a great pub with one of the best selections of ales I've seen in a pub in London. Very efficient staff and very friendly too. The food is good and reasonable cost for a gastro. Its a real shame the owners of the Black Lion dont take a few tips from this place. Service is awful there and one very poor ale on offer. Always choose this place over the Black lion.
adamtoll919 - 18 Dec 2012 11:22
The bar area gets really crowded and lively of an evening, but in a very friend;y way. I like this place, it's not far from where I work and have had many a good evening there with colleagues. There's a vast, stylish dining room area separated from the bar area by a partition wall. Usually they have some uncommon ales or ciders on tap, always a couple of fine real ales as well as a selection of lagers and wines that always please my friends.

Not cheap by any standards, but it has character and I enjoy going there.
absinthe_boy - 7 Dec 2012 14:42
Nice pint of Oxfordshire Pride, only two real ales on tap but some local IPA on tap too, will return another day to try the ones I didn't have a chance to this time
rosco_uk - 11 Apr 2012 12:22
Great pub, awesome function room and really cool dining room. What a fab local!
ThePubSpy_1 - 24 Nov 2011 16:21
Haven't been here for a long time and it has quite drastically altered since my last visit. Last time I was here the bar was populated by a Kerry clique all eating boiled bacon and cabbage at the bar, nattering about how they saw a pig chase, catch and eat a hare while they denied anyone else access to the getting served at the bar. Now it's a semi-gastro establishment with a distinct dining room to the rear. They had three ales on (Adnams Lighthouse, Cornish Coaster and Nethergate Border). The Border was a nice enough pint and I do now actually think Kilburn does have a pub where one can get a drinkable pint of ale. Still nothing brilliant mind (some people are hard to please).
anonymous - 9 Sep 2011 18:44
Fully refurbished within the last few years and designed to look like a rustic old pub. Dining has pretty much taken over from drinking – and you can’t blame the proprietors when people are clearly prepared to pay these extortionate prices for their food. It certainly seems to do a roaring trade, no doubt servicing the neighbourhood’s image-conscious young professionals. If you're the type of person that enjoys this sort of place I’m sure you could happily pass your Sunday afternoons in here - but if I pay more than £25 per head for a two-course meal it won’t be on the Kilburn High Road, even if the arrival of pubs like this proves the area is gradually hauling up its reputation. For for all this pub’s faults though, the beer was much better than expected – too often this sort of gastropub knocks out London Pride or nothing, and usually makes a pigs’ ear of that. Instead I had an enjoyable pint of Sharp’s Atlantic IPA, and there were a couple of other interesting seasonal ales available, rather than the mass-produced usual suspects.
rob1981 - 30 Mar 2011 12:08
Essentially a gastropub with food prices to match and over half the floor space given over to dining. Saying that, it's a pleasant enough place with friendly staff and the Augustinian from Nethergate was on fine form with an extra mark awarded for a glass with a handle.
DuchyBoy - 25 Mar 2011 08:01
The beer was badly kept, at least my pint was, people were friendly enough but squished into the drinking space, probably better to ensconce yourself during the afternoon rather than pop in for a swift one on the off chance. Could be good for outside drinking, I'll re-visit in the summer! GIrlfriend was unimpressed by the wine list.

Will be remembered for a disappointing pint :(
lanoid - 12 Feb 2010 17:39
Stolling between a good few pubs on Kilburn High Road, this seemed to be the best: the food looked good, the service smart and the ales in good nick (although one of the two real ales ran out and wasn't replaced). The locals weren't particularly friendly, which might not be a bad thing in Kilburn...
BananaSundae - 7 Jan 2010 19:47
I thought that this place lacked atmosphere and there is certainly a big emphasis on food which doesn’t keep itself to the restaurant in the rear half of the pub.

Cornish Knocker and Deuchars were both available during my visit along with a standard and premium draught range and I found the service to be polite, but a little slow.

This place may be good for grabbing a bite to eat, but I wouldn’t go here just for a beer again.
Strongers - 23 Nov 2009 12:58
I visited this recently for the first time in three or four years and continued to be impressed with it. It's predominantly a gastropub, I would say: I had the steak and chips, and although at £16 it was far from cheap, it was one of the best steaks I had had for a very long time. Ale-wise, there were two available, which from what nonzerosum says below is par for the course: Doom Bar, which was good but ran out midway through the evening, and Flowers IPA, which I've never really liked that much. I remember last time I visited being struck by the poor service, and that seems to have improved a lot: service was prompt and friendly on my recent visit. Worth a visit for the food, I'd say.
grecian - 21 May 2009 10:19
ales in decent form on my visit 2 weeks ago
oftenscore6 - 16 May 2009 15:56
As with the other places owned by realpubs, (the local Masons Arms for example) this is a good example of how to change an old drinking house into a "gastropub" without completely destroying its charm and character. I have lived in Kilburn for several years (just doors away from the NLT - it is my local) and this is without doubt the best pub in the area, (although some of the newer arrivals over in Kensal Rise certainly present stiff competition in terms of food), beating the Black Lion and the Westbury hands down. The staff are friendly, the atmosphere buzzy, the clientele ecclectic and civilised, the real ale well conditioned, and the food (usually) good. The only shortcomings are that the outside area only sees the sun after 5pm, and even then only on one side - but this makes it great for after work beers in the summer; and also the wine list - although this has improved recently, there is still too much emphasis on the New World and organic and biodynamic wines. The house is decent, but frankly their top of the range bottles (which are only about 2x the house price) are not a whole lot better.

mindalwaysopen - 23 Feb 2009 10:41
Visited here for the first time on Sunday, for Sunday Lunch, after swiftly escaping The Black Lion down the road upon spotting a member of their kitchen staff in dirty dirty chef whites 'aving a faaaag outside the entrance. Nasty! Anyway we retreated to North London Tavern and I will be back. THe pub and staff are lovely and the food was delish. I was served quite the BIGGEST yorkshire pud I have ever seen and had no room for pud. Gorgeous and worth every penny. I'll be back for pudding...
Nicolarr - 28 Aug 2008 18:10
by far the best pub in kilburn... A decent modern british restaurant nicely seperated from a lovely traditional bar. good selection of real ales and wine.
beerdrinker12 - 5 Aug 2008 15:44
I've already posted one review on this but thought it needed an update. Yeah, the food is a bit "gastropubish" and a bit pricey, but you're on this site for drinking not food. It is still a great place to visit. We don't live near here but still go here once a week (usually Thursdays). Nice bar staff, good beer (lagers and ales), good music (most of the time) and generally a good crowd. I'd rather have trustafarians than men in suits and women in high heels any day.

I highly recommend this pub if you're in Kilburn. Does it get crowded? Yes! It's a good pub.
kenandrob - 21 Apr 2008 10:51
Beautiful, but miserable barmaid/manager?

Exspensive.

Also a very strange bloke in the bog obsessively drying his hands until it became embarrassing to wait behind him any longer.

Don't make me stand when I'm paying that much for a beer.
werner_von_braun - 23 Nov 2007 03:47
More 'Gastro' than pub very cramped at the front bar, full of annoying trustafarians, very expensive.won't be back
anonymous - 12 Jun 2007 11:36
Haha, spot on. "Pre-tipple nibble" indeed! And for FIVE (5!) POUNDS!

Don't know what's wrong with "crisps" or "nuts" in a "bag" for "50 pence".
travis - 6 Jun 2007 19:54
Any place that has customers who use phrases like "pre-tipple nibble" is not the kind of place I want to drink in, alas.

One day I'll actually be albe to get a seat in here. Front bar perpetually packed with people wearing ironic hats while the back is frequently very very quiet.
tuppence - 2 Jun 2007 14:14
can't believe the negative comments about my fave london pub! sure, this place can get very crowded on a weekend (and being regulars we mutter 'who are all these people?', and 'this is my pub, get out!', but we never mean it), and once we say hello to our favourite bar tenders, and muscle for a stool at the bar we are very happy indeed. the £5 bar food menu is great for a pre-tipple nibble, the beer/wine/spirit range is fantastic, and yes, sometimes there is a short wait at the bar - cos they're so busy! it's not rocket science people, give the staff a break. i recommend a week night, or weekend afternoon if you want to see it at it's best. the music is always stellar, and there are ususally lots of attractive people (who are not snobby, or showy as suggested below)to keep it interesting. but hey, if you don't agree that's no problem - more seats for me and my friends! ;)
lucyfoxx - 10 Apr 2007 15:15
Has changed, like a lot of Kilburn Pubs from being one frequented by older Irish blokes, to a 'trendy 'bar. It was awful before and its awful now.Bar staff while pleasant enough are the slowest I've ever come across, its very expensive and the punters are too 'cool'to be friendly.
treesurgeon - 14 Mar 2007 18:20
Good pub. It great Kilburn has a few choices to go out in now! Food was good - service a little slow, but it was Friday night. Would go back.
Annie1976 - 27 Jul 2006 14:33
I'm not sure what the negative comments below are based upon. I've been to this pub a few times over the past year (I'm not a regular and certainly not the type to guffaw over property deals) and I've had nothing but good service, excellent beer and excellent food.

I also think it still has a lot of character. It has changed from the old-fashioned boozer it once was but I'd say that was for the better and it's not like it has become an All-Bar-One clone. It's a very comfy pub with a nice relaxed atmosphere. You can't ask for more than that.
solidblue - 26 Jul 2006 17:43
What have they done to this pub? Once upon a time it looks like it was a good, honest, large, corner London boozer, and from the outside it could still pass as one.
When you go in though, it's quite a different story. It's all too often full of arty types, sipping Magners, wearing trendy short-scarves-tied-like-girls-tie-them, guffawing over their latest property purchases. It is everthing that is wrong with London pubs all rolled into one.
The Bar area is far too small and so cramped that people standing at the bar are constantly being nudged, elbowed and shoved around as they drink.
The reason the bar area is so cramped? The dining room. Yes that's right, another big, cozy London boozer taken over by a predominantly empty dining room selling over priced burgers and home made chips.
Why oh why they haven't put the dining room upstairs beggars belief, for upstairs they have a room available for private hire which sits empty all week and is hired out for 30th birthday champagne parties at the weekend. So think about that next time someone elbows your white wine all over your gucci loafers. Come on NLT, sort it out.
shauntobewild - 17 May 2006 12:19
This is quite a disappointing pub.

It looks really nice from outside and is always really busy. The bar bit was alright, tho it was quite hard to get a seat & was more smokey than many other places.

If you order food, the dining room has a really nice ceiling but the menu choice is quite limited, especially if you are vegetarian. We had the same girl serving us both times we have been (several months apart), but last time she was too busy talking to her friend to bring any drinks / food or take any orders, tho she was wearing a nice top.
rlm - 13 Apr 2006 22:41
Went to this pub in the New Year and was very impressed with the food - something for everyone, the service was quite slow but on a Saturday evening when you are with friends drinking it didn't matter, but if you were in a rush I wouldn't really recommend it. The bar looked very cosy. You can't smoke in the restaurant until after 10.30pm and I wouldn't recommend it for big groups of people - 6 max. However, it did have a nice atmosphere, I did rate the food very highly and would definitely go back again.
laurs - 20 Mar 2006 16:06
yeah, interesting point, seems to be a common area of neglect that, when these gaffs get gastroed-up, they always stop short with the old IKEA kit when they hit the mens bogs,....

Once your Fillet Mignons have worked their way through the system, you've cover to covered the Sunday times,.and chewed the fact with Piers and Rocket...you have to adjourn to Loch Urine...and you may as well be in any old shithole,...bet its not the same in the birds
kmcs - 3 Nov 2005 13:57
Used to drink here in the old days. Elderly Irish couples dancing to dodgey riddly diddly do duos - but it was nice. It's been gastrofied now and its full of braying young professionals lounging about on leather sofas. Doubtless on Sundays they have broadsheets too. Food looks expensive. I read an article the other week saying that most food in Gastros comes pre prepared.

Anyway I hate pubs like this but my girlfriend loves them. It's loud and smokey.

Despite comments about service, it was very quick. In fact never before have I stood at a bar with a drink in my hand and been asked about 5 times whether I wanted a drink. Impressive.

PS: Lots of urine on the floor in the mens bogs which as far as I could tell haven't been touched since the North London Tavern of old.
Lyncroft - 17 Sep 2005 11:36
Ok pub but agree with previous comments smokey and slow service.
anonymous - 4 Sep 2005 23:25
Visited for lunch the other day and was quite impressed. Lovely inside and the food was pretty good. Some others have commented on poor service and whilst it was very quiet when I was in there I have to say even then the service did seem lackadaisical. I imagine it would be poor when busy.
grecian - 22 Aug 2005 16:56
Quite like this pub although it can get quite smoky inside. Takes a while to get served. Good selection of drinks.
keep_it_green - 28 Jul 2005 10:24
Great food in the restuarant although it can be smokey (in the pub also). Can get crowded and can take a while to get served. Last place to loose the sun in Kilburn when you sit outside (if you can get a seat).
MattLyons1 - 14 Jul 2005 17:18
Love this pub. Staff are great but I wish they didn't spend so much time arsing around! Very difficult to get drunk here - you'll spend most of your time waiting to get served!
ute - 31 May 2005 17:24
I go there quite a bit and it's a nice mellow place that's not too trendy (yet). Nicer than the Black Lion, and less middle-aged.
JenniferPoole - 15 Apr 2005 16:53
I really like this pub and living round the corner I drink there regularly. I like the pub itself, the atmosphere of the place, cool music, good beer, great food (although slightly pricey). However, of late, the service, especially in the bar, has gone downhill. I'm all for the bar staff enjoying their jobs but they seem to be more interested in having a laugh with each other behind the bar than serving the customers. I was there last night, the place was fairly busy for a Wednesday, and there was a distinct feel that there was no one in charge. The result being that at one point, I waited five minutes to be served during which time there was literally no one behind the bar (around 9.45) and at 10.50, one of the girls called last orders but of the four staff, one was collecting glasses, one was doing a stock take or something like that, the dude in the hat was chatting to his mates (I presume) and only one was serving drinks. Not good enough at last orders in a busy pub. This sort of thing seems to be becoming a pattern in the North London Tavern. It would be a shame if poor service at the bar ruined such a great pub!
anonymous - 10 Mar 2005 13:18
good sized pub (another one of those gastro pubs). nice bar staff. Some hipsters but not too many as you still get some of the original locals. Wish they'd mix the music up a bit - it always seems to be french house jazz playing. Prices are decent on lagers.
kenandrob - 16 Feb 2005 16:37
I have moved from Kilburn recently, but when I was living there this was my favourite pub. Good music, lovely staff and the food was amazing - although I do admit it is a little pricey!!
Vickilou - 1 Dec 2004 06:50
As a pub, it's agreeably welcoming and the best place on the Kilburn High Road for a pint. Unlike the previous reviewer, I found the food pretty good, but the bill can really run away if you're not careful. Who ever would have thought we'd see the £100 night out for two in Kilburn?
harman_mogul - 25 Nov 2004 09:57
My first visit here last night.
Unfortunately the service was very very slow and the food very disappointing.
The polite staff did not make up for the poor service.
anonymous - 25 Nov 2004 09:32
Sorry - I hate pubs like this. Full of people wearing designer spectacles. Feel like you're in Primrose Hill.
anonymous - 25 Oct 2004 07:59
Exactly what Dan said below. Poncy without the ponces
WHD - 18 Oct 2004 16:01
Easily the best pub in Kilburn...

Hang on, let me start again...

Easily the least worst pub in Kilburn.

I generally wax lyrical about the "old days" in this pub - before it shut down in Jan 2004 and reopened as the current gastro version. Not sure why, I only used to go here a few times a year and that was only to do things like watch the Snooker final with mates.

Now, it's been given a good polish and has kept the original layout - a tremendous shape for the pub - and the London Pride is first class. But that's about it. A nice enough pub, but a crime that it's the best in the area.
travis - 11 Oct 2004 15:39
Nipped in recently on a Saturday night, found it heaving and non-threatening. A good place to gyrate on the spot and watch cute girls in tiny tops not notice you exist.
Hooegarden on tap too. Nice.
Ruby - 18 Sep 2004 14:57
A good sized pub with a lively atmosphere which reaches it’s peak on Saturday night when a DJ spins some Irish tunes for some melancholy moments.
BBC London - 4 Sep 2004 17:32
ugly and pretentious
Simone - 4 Sep 2004 17:23
a poncy pub which people who deteste poncy pubs could happily spend time in .


dan - 11 Aug 2004 12:32
Pretty nice renovation of a local boozer with welcoming atmosphere, & in my experience the beer's never flat or warm. It is, however, damned expensive!
Dan - 15 Jul 2004 16:39
Great pub run by great guys. I've lived in Kilburn for ten years waiting for someone to open a pub that I actually wanted to be in - and now I'm moving o Cricklewood. Food is above average, Beer is well kept and usually excellent (problem with the Black Lion being that they don't sell any real beer - therefore it is not a pub!). Decor is nice in that generic urban faux rustic (if that makes sense) gastro pub way. Home made crisps - fantastic.
Ian - 25 Jun 2004 15:32
Typical modern day refit and 5.40 for two pints of gnatts piss. If you like this sort of place you'll love it if you don't you'll hate it. I liked the old dears who used to come in here and dance to Irish music.
anonymous - 22 Jun 2004 12:36
Wonderful pub with great character. I think the external apperance would be tremendously approved with the addition of a canopy at ground floor level (only) that spans no more than one structural bay. Awesome.
George - 28 May 2004 12:09
One of the best pubs in North London, it's just a pity you have to go through Kilburn to get there. The pub has a wonderful clientele, witty staff and the best bit.. Lucky Strike cigarettes behind the counter. Oh, and they sell pints in jugs if you're a traditional drinker like myself. :)
Guy - 25 May 2004 13:12
Relaxed and pleasant for a Sunday lunch - read the paper on a leather sofa style. Bright young clientele mixes with the odd old codger. Good, if somewhat unimaginative food is rather overpriced.
Jonathan - 28 Mar 2004 21:36
A brillant pub, appeals to all ages. You could take your mum, go with the hoxton massive or read the papers on your own. Bar staff are lovely, yes the bar could be cheaper. But a fiver for lunch during the week! Now how can you complain at that. love it
tara gilligan - tg@blendoncom.com - 12 Mar 2004 12:57
extremely good food at good value, great makeover which updates but does not overdo the traditional decor...
anonymous - 23 Feb 2004 20:08
Never used to be empty when I had a drink in there on Sat nights. Full of older locals dancing and enjoying admittedly dodgy music. Now yuppyfied with prices to match. If this is your type of place fine but I'm fed up with them.
anonymous - 23 Feb 2004 10:56
This used to be referred to locally as 'the empty pub', but now it's looking fantastic and populated after the refurb. It's about time there was another place apart from the lecherous 'Powers Bar' to deal with the overspill from Brondes age! Nice chandeliers too.
Jennifer - Jennifer.poole@beerintheevening.com - 10 Feb 2004 14:53
Another pub that's recently been refurbished on the High Rd. Fantastic looking pub, but I was made to pay £2.90 for a pint of Strongbow! My friend then told me he'd paid £2.75 for the same. Regardless, too expensive for a zone 2 pub.
anonymous - 4 Feb 2004 13:09

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