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Hope and Anchor, Islington

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user reviews of the Hope and Anchor, Islington

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

Positives
Has had a refit, modern industrial.
Food was fine, large selection of alcohol.
Fantastic live music basement, all genres, small, great sound by a friendly guy.

Negatives:
Manager James has no communication skills, rude and offensive.
Stressed staff too few for the number of customers
Jonathankb - 29 Oct 2015 20:46
Loud music, quite a good atmosphere, but not the place to go for a chat. No real ale when I visited, just keg rubbish. They did have Green King and Old Speckled Hen, but both had run out.
nich52 - 31 Oct 2010 16:52
This legendary London music pub has been integral to the live music scene since the early 70’s when pub rock and then punk rock ruled supreme. Whilst today it still hosts many an upcoming band (Keane apparently played their first ever gig here) it doesn’t really have the same aura that it did during its peak years to the mid 80’s. Fortunately it doesn’t try to be anything trendy or pretentious and, given its rich musical heritage, they do not tend to dwell on its past glories in any great way. The pub sign is aptly depicted in “Never Mind The Bollocks” style lettering and there are a couple of Specials posters, a copy of Ian Dury’s New Boots LP and a few flyers for the current events but nothing over the top or touristy.

The main bar is split into a carpeted but fairly basic lounge area and a rough and ready bare floored section adjoining it. A flyer encrusted pillar separates the two. The “rough” end also houses a pinball machine and plasma TV and there are pool tables upstairs although I have never ventured further than the main bar and music venue in the basement. I was a bit surprised to find 2 Greene King ales (IPA and Speckled Hen) so it’s just as well spitting at gigs is no longer in fashion otherwise IPA sales would double overnight. Prices were surprisingly reasonable for the area.

The music venue is downstairs and any live music fan of a certain age should try and catch a gig here at least once n their lives. It is tiny with a virtually non-existent stage and trying to picture bands like the Pistols, the Stranglers and, er Dire Straits (yep, really), playing here gives you a real insight into those early days of punk. It is a few years since I have seen any bands here but from memory there was a small self contained bar in the music venue and some superb photos of some of the legendary bands playing there.

It is certainly not the best pub you will ever visit and is more of a place for reflection than worthy of going out of the way for (unless you plan to take in a gig) but it is a piece of London’s pub heritage and no-one can take that away from the place.
RogerB - 29 Oct 2009 15:42
This is a bit of a pit and the barman looked and acted like that strange bloke in the Mighty Boosh, not that this is a slur in any way. There is a pool table in a large room upstairs and a live music club downstairs that didn’t seem very good going by the fuzzy plasma screen showing the CCTV pictures of the bar.

There is a standard draught selection alongside Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen, but I opted for the Guinness which was passable.

I spotted a poster that said that Madness played here on the 7th April 1980 and I would have been very interested to see that, but unfortunately those times have long since past and I can see no reason for me to return here again.
Strongers - 12 Sep 2009 22:01
My first visit since the early eighties last night and unusually it's changed for the better. Us old punks will of course wax nostalgic about how wonderful the Hope was but let's face it now. It was a bit of a pit wasn't it? You were lucky if a band got through it's set without a power cut. And as for the Toilets - yeeuch.

The dingy basement dive feel remains and the PAs excellent. They're also proud of their history and have lots of memorabilia about so all good. If there's one thing London deserves it's good independently run small gig venues so more power to your elbow Hope and Anchor. Doubt i'd bother except for a gig though. The upstairs bar's average and a tad overpriced but hey, that's Upper Street for you isn't it?
realalesnob - 6 Jun 2009 18:40
Went in here for the first time in about 20 years, still pretty much the same I am pleased to say. Beer ok, funny atmosphere with a range of people, a proper pub!
JockStrap - 1 Feb 2009 16:13
an atrocious place filled with the lowest of the low-lifes that london has to offer. full of pikey chavs who deem it necessary to hoard the pool table and then start a fight because someone else wants to play. security are godly afraid of these locals and unwilling to keep order. a terrible place fit for only the worst dregs of society. stay well clear.
timyu - 16 Aug 2008 16:33
Okay, the Hope has changed over the years from the spit and sawdust dive it used to be, but it still has a lot of the charm it used to have back in the day.

The staff are still friendly, the locals are welcoming, and it's one of the few places you can go into when the Gunners are playing at home where you can a) get served, and b) not get offered out or puked on.

They seem to have just started doing food again too, and it's a hell of a lot nicer than what they used to serve - sorta classic pub grub but done with a bit of style. I had sausage and mash there last week, and it came in a Yorkshire pud the size of a milk crate!

The venue is still a bit of a dive, but then it wouldn't feel the same if it wasn't!
VincentVega - 19 Nov 2007 17:07
Not the place it was, a bit too carpeted these days
kenincamden - 2 Aug 2007 17:05
Have been into this pub twice in the 7 years I have lived in Islington. On both occasions there was a bag snatch. The second time was last night and it happened to my friend.You have been warned
sef - 10 Jun 2007 15:48
Staff very rude at closing up time. No warning of last orders so drinking away happily with mates when suddenly we were told we had to leave- immediately. No drinking up time. We were given plastic cups but surely there should be some notice given to allow a few minutes to drink up? As I said above- staff were very rude- one guy in particular, south african I think. Wont be going back there again- couldnt be bothered putting up with that ignorance.
yerman - 6 May 2007 15:51
Nice unponcified pub with a cracking jukebox with a refreshing lack of RnB tripe on it.The last time I came here was after Fulham getting mullered at Highbury a few years back, and me being equally mullered didnt get to appreciate it. This time it was first pub on the list , it still has that musicy alternative vibe.
TSW - 30 Apr 2007 21:17
Really nice pub - friendly bar staff

Not from the area, just passed through. But will definately visit again if I'm in the postcode.
CheekyShepherd - 8 Dec 2006 19:22
Brilliant pub. Great music, crappy decor, excellent bar staff. The downstairs venue can be a bit hit and miss regarding quality of bands, but after watching the Arse stuff Chelski, you don't really mind that.


ye73812 - 17 Oct 2006 22:46
Like it me.
Denzil194 - 14 Sep 2006 12:40
I used to live just a couple of hundred yards from this pub during the height of the punk era when The Clash and The Damned used to play here in the cellar bar. The downstairs was were it all all happened. Bands still play here - but its now a pay to play place, and the bands are not that interesting. The pub itself is the familiar stripped wood Islington pub which is striving for a character that it lost long ago. However, it does have a relaxed charm.
SilkTork - 18 Aug 2006 00:03
Cool place - not many seats, but the decent music makes up for it, particularly as the machine is prone to messing up and giving an unlimited amount of selections - hope someone updates it a bit more regularly though, spotted a few new cds in the other day but it's been a long while before that....

No TV which is a shame, there are some people out there who love rock n' roll as much as footy! Keep the volume turned up though, cos the noise from below will drown it out otherwise...

Good times....
jamesheal - 3 Jul 2006 14:28
TSW - I think this is the pub you're thinking of, it also has a small venue downstairs with live music. Can be worth a visit if you catch it on a good night. I don't think there are any TV's though if my memory serves me correctly so don't expect to watch the football or anything here (I could be wrong though, I haven't been for quite some time). I once saw a certain Pete Doherty play here, many years ago.
C.B - 11 May 2006 17:33
I think we literally fell in here once after seeing Fulham get stuffed at the Arse. I was pretty drunk but I remembered a pub which had good music and an alternative feel to it and looking at the photo I`m pretty sure its the one.As a huge Smiths and Pixies loving no- mark (whats a no-mark?)I will definitely return soon and hopefully I`ll remember a bit more this time.
TSW - 27 Apr 2006 21:05
If you like good beer, friendly staff, and your music turned up to 11, this is the pub for you. It's even open until 1 at the weekend! I love it!
JoSchmo - 4 Feb 2006 18:40
1)Nobody cares about your pathetic little bands!

2)The likelihood of anyone going to see your band based on reading your shameless self-promotion on a site dedicated to reviewing pubs is at best minimal.

3)This is a good pub with a cool jukebox, friendly and attentive barstaff and a good pool room upstairs. At it's absoulte best on quiet daytimes in the warmer months.

4)Venue downstairs is actually great for live music and well worth checking out for quality unsigned bands, I just object to them hijacking this site to promote gigs. I mean the review stays on the site permanently and what use is it to someone looking on this site for it's actual purpose inding out nothing about the pub itself other than some no-mark with a Smiths/Pixies/Oasis/Dylan (Delete as applicable) fixation played the venue here fourteen months ago?
Mr.Monkfish - 30 Sep 2005 10:39
This is a great little boozer and a fantastic venue for up and coming bands. Especially tonight, Thursday 14th April, when JAGO the finest unsigned band in the country, will be bringing their uncompromising rural rock to the capital once more. Don't miss this gig!!!
hammer123 - 14 Apr 2005 09:04
I thought it was a good pub and a great venue until I realised that the "security" staff turn a blind eye to violence. By all means go for the atmoshere and music, but watch out for the loonies.
HartleyHare - 25 Mar 2005 20:00
Bill Oddie was down in the basement here the other night watching a gig. Bill Oddie! No idea what the band was like as had only ducked down there for a late drink.

Billoddie hell, eh?

No, I'm not just writing this review to make that joke.

Well, maybe.
travis - 7 Dec 2004 15:39
Not here to promote a band! Only seen a few gigs here but have used it for it's main purpose as a pub on several occasions. The upstairs pool room is the best place to head for on Summer days, especially if you put some good songs on their excellent jukebox and ask the very accommodating bar staff to turn the volume up upsatirs. From the pool room you get a lovely vantage point for people watching down Upper Street. On the ground floor the seats are comfortable and the beer is reasonable in quality and price. Can get quite busy but rarely uncomfortably so. The venue for gigs in the basement is nice but due to it's size can get cramped and sweaty and it's hard to order your drinks at the bar over the sound of the bands.
Mr.Monkfish - 10 Nov 2004 10:42
Christ, another one of those pubs where all the reviews are from people just whoring their band name. Like you're actually going to go and watch a band/singer/whatever based on these ridiculously biased recommendations.

Anyway, the Hope and Anchor is a decent boozer, unless you're there whilst a gig is playing and the place will be vibrating and your pint will run towards the edge of the table like a lemming.

Oh, and go and see my band The Concrete Dildos!! Don't miss it!! My mum says we're the best!!
travis - 14 Oct 2004 10:18
Gerard Zochling an edgy young poet from Sydney Australia will be giving a reading from his latest work and fourth book "One Soul's Voltage" Sat 21st of August 2004."the next Kureshi"SMH
jOHNN sAKKY - 12 Aug 2004 09:28
YES!!!
P6 from Stretchheads fame is back in showbiz! The new band De Salvo are playing at the Hope & Anchor Saturday July 17th. Judging from the demo's I have he's back on top psychotic form.
Be warned the Anchor has small capacity so it gets vcrowded.
BIGBOABY - 9 Jul 2004 11:21
Flew in from Boston to listen to Disraeli Gears on October 4th. The band gave a very impresive performance. The pub's staff was very profesional,I'm in the same busines on the other side of the ocean. The beer was quite acceptable. Vibrant and enjoyable clientele. I won't be able to make it on January 24th. but, I encourage everyone to be at the Hope & Anchor on that date. If I lived in the U.K. I wouldn't miss it.
Lenius - 5 Jan 2004 18:15
Everyhting a music venue should be. Was there last weekend for the Kodiaks gig (www,thekodiaks.com) check 'em out. Great band.

Anyways, the pub was class, with some rather fine barmaids. Beer was also good. And i was hammered! Had a great time and hope the kodies play there again soon.
Rob - 29 Nov 2003 17:00
What a refreshing change from the mayhem at the other pubs in the area during any football match - there isn't a TV in the bar. Watch out for any time Tim Leffman is playing - there is good reason, he is known as the "Walking Juke Box"!!
mikem - 25 Sep 2003 09:52
Gah, make that the 13th, Monday the 13th October!
Ken - 26 Aug 2003 14:50
Was at the debut London gig of Girlfriend In A Coma, in Kentish Town, and it was emo-tinged with excellence.

GIAC, coming to the Hope and Anchor on Monday 12/10/03 and I'm gonna be there with bells on (wee shiny ones!).
Ken - shakytumbleweed@hotmail.com - 26 Aug 2003 14:39
I've always enjoyed myself at the Hope and Anchor, tho I haven't been for a while. The music does vary...me and the girls used to like the DJ music after the bands to be honest! Never seen any violence and can only commend the bouncer...who looked after me when I suffered a severe bout of food poisoning having gone to the H&A after eating out at a restaurant in Upper Street. I'd certainly go back again.
Debs - 14 Aug 2003 11:46
Don't know where these stories are coming from, i love this pub, I have never been involved or even seen any trouble (i've been drinking there about 15 months).The bar staff are all pretty cool the beer is cold and averagly priced. The clientel changes depending on the bands downstairs and most importantly it has the best juke box in London.
Matt - 7 Aug 2003 13:44

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