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Hemingford Arms, Barnsbury

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user reviews of the Hemingford Arms, Barnsbury

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

Lovely local covered with ivy outside, and interesting junk about the place inside including an original air raid shelter sign. Good mix of drinkers young and old. Some local actors are known to prop up the bar. They also serve an ale named after the band Pere Ubu. Recomended.
Richard_ReadingFC - 18 Apr 2013 09:49
Lovely interior, wide selection of ales, unobtrusive live music. Stayed for a lot more than just one.
filf - 18 Dec 2011 19:57
Great pub. It's consisently good and I've been a regular for over 10 years. Nice crowd, warm atmosphere and friendly fast service.
fancyatipple - 19 Nov 2011 23:05
To be fair, I've only been here once. The stupidly attractive exterior drew me in and I was pleased to find a decent range of draught beer. What I had (Ubo) was fine. An interesting and attractive interior with good bar staff (although, to be fair, it was quiet at the time). Crappy old Sky Sport on big screen but look away now (and permanently if possible) if you don't want to see who won the the 5:20 at Haydock Park. I'd definitely go back there if I'm in that part of N1 again.
Dave_the_Bee - 21 Jul 2011 00:36
I never thought i'd leave a bad review for this place, i've been a happy customer for almost a decade but last night was unbeleivable.

first off I got served a vinegarry pint of doom bar that they, to their credit, replaced but the Adnams explorer they replaced it with wasn't perfect either.

But the worst thing was that they were playing some commercial radio station really loudly, listening to DJs and advertisements in a pub is fecking awful.... especially when the reception is rubbish so you kept hearing loud static and hiss. I can only home there was some good reason for this, perhaps the stereo was broken... but silence would have been much better.

They did turn down the radio a bit.. but only so they could turn up the news on the TV (that was left on all the time we were in there) I'm in a pub, if i wanted to watch the news i'd have stayed at home.

I can only hope this is was some sort of freakish night and not a generall downward trend, as it is usually a great pub with a great atmosphere.
mralistair - 7 Jul 2010 14:43
I love this pub but it's been a while since I last went there. I used to go for their Pub Quiz on Thursday's which is just one of the great things about this place. It's in a nice location, less than a ten-minute walk from both Caledonian Road station (Piccadilly Line on the Tube) and Highbury & Islington station (London Overground and Victoria Line on the Tube). It's also right next to the London Overground Caledonian & Barnsbury station.

They have a Thai kitchen which is reasonably priced and quite tasty. Usual selection of lagers. Lovely fireplace during the winter. Delightful memorablia on the walls. Screens downstairs to watch the footie. Perfect setting for drinking outside during the summer.

What more could you want?
mcgillianaire - 1 Feb 2010 23:08
I have been to this pub a couple of times on a Sunday for the roast which always huge, cheap and pretty good. Unremarkable selection of beers, but I think that the atmosphere and the collection of knick-knacks hanging from the roof and the old prints and posters on the wall make this pub great to visit. Its also really nice if the sun is out and you can sit outside amongst the vines and flowers covering the walls.
Rissole - 22 Mar 2009 21:16
Great pub. Lots of character and atmosphere. Good pub quiz as well!
Unfortunately it's a bus ride for me to get there nowadays, but I make the journey when I can!
tfidonnie - 5 Jun 2008 14:55
A very good antitdote to the cream walled pubs elsewhere in Barnsbury. A proper boozer with knick knacks aplenty dangling from the ceiling and ivy clad walls. A little far from the tube, but one of the few pubs that has its name emblazoned in the destination panel on a London bus.
BoehmBawerk - 21 Apr 2008 13:26
Hmm I haven't experienced the 'unfriendliness' of staff that others have, I work nearby and have been coming here day and night (erm not when I should be working of course..) for 5 years and always get a nod or hello from the bar workers. Frankly, I love this pub. It's cosy, tucked away, and even when really busy - which it can get - if you find yourself a table you can sit in your own little Hemi' world and get quietly shloshed of an evening.

Of late (and I'm uncertain whether I like this or not) it has become a bit of a little hideaway for some slebs. I've chatted to Julian Barratt of The Mighty Boosh in here, and caught Kate Moss (!) one lunchtime sitting at the bar. Perhaps because of it's proximity to Pentonville prison (errm..). Borrell and Dunst have also frequented this little oasis in Highbury. I think because such a mixture of people drink in here, suits, locals, slebs, students, old geezers nursing a Guiness, weirdos and straights (ad nauseum) it personifies the London to me. I'd urge anyone to stray off the path and drop by. Oh, and the grub is very good too. The thai menu in the evening is predictable but solid, but the changing lunch menu has some lovely little home cooked gems. Love it.


Rob_permeable - 28 Sep 2007 19:22
I am a local to this pub and the wife and I used to go in there quite a lot. We have even brought friends to the pub on numerous occasions. However the bar staff are all very rude which ruins the experience as the pub itself is decorated nice. I have also been short changed a couple of times and since then have never been in again. I find it difficult to understand why anyone goes in there at all. Having said that, the Thai food is very good and the people who make the Thai food are always very pleasant. It is shame that they have to work with the arrogant and rude bar staff.
Martjudd - 29 Apr 2007 18:15
I'm lucky enough to call this pub my local. At first glance, this pub appears to have everything; good character, nice selection of beers, good music.

However, the more I go into this place, the more I dislike it. The service is not very good, the brunette barmaid in particular is the worst barmaid I have ever experienced in London. I have visited this pub many times now and she is always (and I mean always) in a foul mood, some of the gems she has produced are as follows;
1) refusing to serve a friend who simply asked for a packet of pork scratchings (because he wasn't ordering a drink - I was buying the round!)
2) walking away when my girlfriend was deciding what she wanted to drink (the pub wasn't busy at all)
3) Never ever greeting me or my flatmates with a smile or even a 'hello', despite the fact we're in there every other night.
It's getting to a point where I dread going to the bar for a pint.

Saying that, the pub quiz on a Thursday is always good value (1 per person) as is the Bluegrass session on Monday (Free) and Thai food (great value), but if the service maintains its current level, I'm seriously considering heading elsewhere.
jpfros - 11 Nov 2006 21:30
This place is easily the best pub I've been to in London, and I've been lucky enough to call it my local for the last few years.

Great atmosphere at the weekends - live Irish music provided by a few guys who sit by the piano and play away.

The Thai food is great and the selection of beers/lagers/spirits is excellent as it's a freehouse.

If you're in Islington this is the pub to go to.

anonymous - 15 Sep 2006 14:16
I have been here a few times for lunch, which has been fine. Maybe this is an early luntchtime problem but I sent back two cloudy beers and the guy behind the bar didn't seemed bothered at all. London Pride was very good that day (eventually) whereas it has been very poor on others. Now, so not to upset the locals and balance things up a bit, the three evenings I have been here the beers has been top notch. So, avoid ales here at noon but drink after 5pm!


Harlap - 17 Jul 2006 12:06
Great set up - and Ben Chaplin fans note, he's a regular, particularly when Chelsea play in the Champs Lge....
jamesheal - 3 Jul 2006 14:31
Great acoustic bluegrass session there on a Monday evening. Anyone is welcome !
phoenixashes - 6 Jun 2005 01:40
This is a great pub. Reasonably priced drink, friendly bar staff, brilliant atmosphere. One of my favourite pubs in London.
keep_it_green - 20 May 2005 15:01
I can confirm that Thai food is now being served on a Sunday as I went here last night and enjoyed a gorgeous meal.

Barstaff are friendly, they serve Magners (probably one of the best bottled ciders to pass my lips), the pub quiz is ridiculously concise and there's all sorts of things hanging from the ceiling- including a stuffed growling badger.

Great pub, great atmosphere
lancalot - 21 Mar 2005 12:54
This is my local - and I can happily confirm that the Thai food returned before Christmas and is still being served, I think every night except sunday. It's really good Thai and pretty cheap.

It's a great pub with a good atmosphere
Jbradley - 7 Feb 2005 17:41
Shame to hear this pub has changed and stopped doing the Thai food. Tjis used to be my local and it was always a great place to go both for the Thai food and good selection of real ale - London Pride, Courage Best etc. Use to be a lovely choice for summer due to the generous amount of outdoor seating.
anonymous - 23 Jan 2005 01:11
I think management has changed recently so while appearance is the same they sadly no longer do the cheap yet tasty Thai food in the evenings, which turned a nice pub into a great pub. The food is replaced by pricier 'traditional' pub food. They have also installed a Link cash machine. Also they seem to have stopped the Sunday night live music.
Richard - 10 Nov 2004 14:01
This is a top pub, but it does get packed most evenings.You can't move on a Friday night.Best Guinness in Islington.The pub quiz is the hardest that I have ever done.Also it seems to be the Prison staff's local so you do get a rather loud/strange crowd some nights.
Jonathan - 19 Jul 2004 17:59
I'm lucky enough to have this pub as my local. I entirely agree with everything Nicholas says: it is a fantastic pub with lots of character and usually full of friendly people.

Always seems to be packed on pub quiz nights (Thursdays), so get there early if you want to get a table!
Matt - 26 Mar 2004 13:01
There isn't enough room to tell you about this place.Old pub with loads of brick-a-brack hanging from the ceiling and walls. There's also a fire, good ale/wine/food (Thai - very cheap), and live Irish/Bluegrass music played without PA system. Fun but difficult pub quiz on Thursdays!

Wonderful place to relax on a winter evening.
Nicholas - 30 Dec 2003 13:24

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