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Three Compasses, Hornsey

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user reviews of Three Compasses, Hornsey

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

First visit here last night for several years to try the pub quiz as myself and my mates were looking for a new decent pub venue to enjoy a few pints and have a laugh stretching the old grey matter, and I'm please to report that this is still a lovely pub. The decor has been revamped but in a tasteful way and there is plenty of comfortable seating and cosy corners to settle in for the night. The beers are good even if they did run out of Brooklyn Lager and the Timothy Taylor Landlord took an age to pour and the prices are standard for a North London pub of this type. Service was pleasant and they were very apologetic for the problems encountered.
The quiz itself was good, the punters seem like a very nice bunch and the atmosphere is very pleasant. Definitely worth a go if you're in the neighbourhood. This little stretch of Hornsey is something of an overlooked gem for pubs and restaurants amongst a lot of North Londoners that gravitate towards Islington, Crouch End or Camden by default. Take advantage now and sample its delights before it becomes more popular and you end up paying more money for the same things if you can even squeeze into any place along here!
Mr.Monkfish - 21 Oct 2015 13:54
Horrible, pointless refurb. Hard echoey surfaces, no soft furnishings to dampen the sound. Mediocre beer choice (it's not 2002 anymore, lads) and removal of pool tables (par for the course these days, but nothing worth coming here for in compensation).

But they went to check out some rivals and saw those old Edison lightbulbs were fashionable and got some of those, so it's not all bad.
tuppence - 25 May 2015 10:47
Annoyingly changed their opening hours over the Christmas period and didn’t open until 4pm on Saturday.

I only found this out at 2pm when I arrived and found a note on the door.

Will return another day.

lezford - 29 Dec 2014 16:36
Been drinking in this pub intermittently since 2005 - became a regular "regular" last year - the bar staff know my name and i know theirs - got very irritated lately -1. the jukebox pumps out crap if you put no money in it, 2. it doesn't work properly - but they don't turn it off - so your choice is listen to crap or constantly hassle the bar staff about the jukebox eating your money, 3. This is what really irritated me - got to the pub after a really crappy journey ( bus diversion/long walk ) kitchen is closing NOW - tried to order food but as kitchen is closing NOW ( not five minutes ago, not half hour ago but NOW ) you can't get anything - really! after 7 years of drinking here ( on and off ) this is how you treat a regular - the barman ( i know his name ) thinks that calling me by my name is customer service - just a couple of weeks ago he was telling me all about his NVQ and about how he never hassles customers to buy bar snacks with their drinks etc..... THIS IS NOT CUSTOMER SERVICE - THIS IS WE'RE CLOSED SO GET LOST......OK SOD YOU THEN - the truth is that this is the best pub in the area - but i'm damned if they'll see my money again - i would ask Nigel ( the landlord ) to sort it out , but he only shows his face intermittently ( and despite 7 years or so drinking in this pub i still have no idea what the landlady's name is ) SEE YA! - DRINKING ELSEWHERE FROM NOW ON
GhengisKhan - 22 Sep 2012 01:45
Large pub with tall ceilings, a long L-shaped bar and plenty of beers to choose from - Red Squirrel London Porter, Ringwood Boondoggle, Wadworth Red White & Brew, Redemption Pale Ale, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Fullers London Pride. Addlestones was the real cider available. The staff were very pleasant.
blue_scrumpy - 10 Aug 2012 20:42
Been to this pub twice and each time I am greeted by rude and unenthusiastic staff. Other reviewers disagree, maybe there is a special welcome for 'regulars'. Not bothering with this place again. Depressing overall and the grumpy staff dont help
JimmyS - 18 May 2012 17:30
I cannot understand why joffle finds oversized ale glasses annoying. As a member of CAMRA I have campaigned for many years for a fair pint of beer and this is an ideal way of getting your fair pint. Good on the Three Compasses for thinking of the customer and not just the profit!!
earlydoors - 8 Mar 2012 15:51
This is a really nice pub, but it annoys me that they serve their ale in oversize pint glasses!
joffle - 5 Mar 2012 12:36
The Three Compassess genuinely deserves it's good reputation. Visited for the first time the other day, beer range & quality excellent, staff friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
reynedd - 1 Aug 2011 23:49
Simply superb. A lovely building with comfortable and airy interior, just about the best service I've ever encountered, a good range of well kept beers ("Landlord" and "Bitter & Twisted" were both absolutely out of the top drawer and even the lagers were good), and prices that are fair for the area.
Food wise, both the Sausages and Mash (three plump, meaty, tasty cumberland bangers on a lovely light bed of mash and a rich and flavoursome onion gravy) and the sticky chicken breast were delicious and portions were good. Price wise, it could have been a little cheaper, but you couldn't argue that what you got was anything other than value for money.
Entertainment wise, there is background music and a pool table on the average day (such as this afternoon), but apparently there do have other activities on specific evenings, as well as the ubiquitous TVs.
There are pictures of the area and its history on the walls including one charming shot of the owners and the regulars all proudly beaming at the camera in a shot taken just after the pub was refurbed in 2004, the enduring image is of pride in the place, and based on my encounter it is well founded and continues to this day.
All in all, absolutely lovely and well worth a visit. I shall be returning as soon as I can.
Mr.Monkfish - 11 Aug 2010 19:18
This is definitely the best pub in the area with a good range of beers and, on this occasion, I had a lovely pint of Waggledance. I make an effort to walk down from Crouch End to get here and it's always worth it. Nice mixture of the local residents and friendly staff - I'll be back!
jenny200 - 28 Jun 2010 15:34
Fine pub, friendly staff, good mix of locals. It does have a telly and does show football but it is down one end so it is easy to avoid. The food is reasonable and simple. Well worth a visit. Avoid the quiz, you need to be a serious rocket scientist to understand the questions!
Nevans - 18 Jun 2010 19:01
Absolutely agree with the comments by David 68. This is a great pub that does it's best to please most of the people most of the time and that's good enough for me! Go in and judge for yourself - you won't be disappointed. The staff are friendly and the roasts are well worth their price.
earlydoors - 1 Jun 2010 16:44
At the top of the review page there is a comment saying:- please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously
Well after reading the review from James Johnson, i must agree that you shouldnt take his review seriouls at all.
I am a regular user of The Compasses even though I no longer live in the area, i drive down there at least twice a week for a meal, I rarely miss a Sunday there with my girlfriend for Sunday lunch and have never found a problem with either the food or the staff, it is a shame that Mr Johnson FEELS he had a bad experience and as i know nothing about it i cant comment on his experience other than to wonder whether he has his pubs mixed up as the manageress of the Compasses has never been rude to me and I have never heard her or her staff being anything other than pleasant and proffesional, but then as the saying goes you cant please all of the people all the time. The Compasses in my view is one of the best local pubs i have frequented with friendly staff a great atmosphere and top notch food.
david68 - 11 May 2010 22:19
Was driving through the area last sunday and had the misfortune to pick this pub for a sunday roast.
On 'paper' this pub appeared okay and it had all the relevant bits saying how it had once been great but if you want my advice I'd say avoid it like the plague.

On arrival the place wasn't that busy so we ordered 2 roasts and was very much looking forward to eating however an hour and a half later our roast still hadn't come.

Instead of apologies and an update all we got was attitude from a member of bar staff and then more attitude from the manager telling us to 'go and think about it'

so we did and have and would never go back! And at the price they are charging for a roast I'm surprised anybody eats there at all! The 'friendly' staff must have all vacated the building! As should you! drive on!
JamesJohnson - 9 May 2010 19:10
Nice pub. Good beers, decent folk and tasty food. Nothing especially pretty about the place but roomy and comfortable.

Great quiz on a Monday (not sure if it's every Monday), very enjoyable.
Dylarolla - 8 Apr 2010 12:28
In last night for the first time in ages. As ever the ale was great, the staff dead efficient and friendly. The Hobgoblin was particularly good.
Alfnoax - 14 Mar 2010 11:55
A nice enough place, just a little bit corporate and souless for my tastes. A pub designed for more affluent people in the New River estate...
Harry_Callaghan - 8 Oct 2009 01:56
There was a good crowd in here doing the 8pm Monday night quiz during my visit.

The large front bar had four hand pumps, three of which were dispensing ales that I had never heard of and there was also a standard draught selection alongside Leffe, Staropramen, Hoegarden and Addlestones cider. The even bigger back bar also had Pride, Deuchars and Landlord available. There is also a pool table and a projector screen for the football on Sky. I spotted a sign on the wall advertising a two pint ‘takeaway hopper’ which is always handy to know.

I thought that the staff were friendly enough and I felt that a real effort was being made to make this a great pub – Big thumbs up!
Strongers - 1 Sep 2009 21:29
This is a great pub. It's been my regular haunt for a couple of years now and it just can't be beat around this area. The staff are always friendly and helpful and fun and there's always something going on there. If your looking for a well run, friendly, fun pub then this is it.
earlydoors - 4 Aug 2009 21:32
I'd say this is the best bet for drinking in the area - six ales on at all times, with three 'typical' regulars and three unusual guest ales. Also a good stock of malt whiskies, and plenty of space at the back for the pool table.
pubcollector - 22 Jun 2009 22:30
Visited this again on quiz night (Monday nights) and I was more impressed than I had been on my previous visits. There are six real ales on - three look like regulars (including Deuchars and - if memory serves - Landlord) and three guests; I drank a guest beer called "Jouster" which was on absolutely terrific form. The quiz was great fun and very well attended and I understand there's a league ranking of teams from week to week to benefit regular attenders. Friends reported the food was only average, but even so this is well worth a visit if you're in this area.
grecian - 20 Jan 2009 15:57
Not a bad pub in a rather dull spot of north London. It's got a pleasant front bar and a large area out the back which I imagine is good for functions etc. - some local old folk were enjoying a Christmas meal when I was there. Three or four interesting real ales and it looked like they make a bit of effort with the food as well. Not brilliant, but not at all bad.
grecian - 19 Dec 2008 11:29
Went here for my birthday recently and had a great night with my friends. Both the barman (who was gorgeous!) and the barmaid (who made fantastic cocktails!) were the BEST! My dad says the ales were great and he can be fussy! Most impressed at lined pints and tasters. I've lived in the crouch end area for a year now but only just found this place - wish it had been sooner! Thoroughly recommended.
jenny200 - 17 Sep 2008 22:25
was in there at weekend, tidy little place but kinda lacks a jukebox, couldnt hear it so wasted my money, staff wouldnt turn it up. Nice to see a pub supporting the fair trade too ! good on ya! will be back when next in area
stuffit - 9 May 2008 13:51
Am new to the area but have found somewhere to while away my evenings already! This pub is very friendly, serves good cask ales, has a good quiz (which is why I went in the first place) and serves reasonably priced food. I really pleased with myself for finding my new "local"!!
danio - 23 Apr 2008 18:37
Went back to this excellent pub on the night of their Carol concert.

They really do make an effort to make the place work for customers.

I can't praise it highly enough.
markbernard - 19 Jan 2008 07:49
Managed to pop in a couple of times over the Xmas period. Still a very good pub, juke box seems to have been switched up a bit. Beer very good including Red Squirrel London Porter which was very, very good. Bar staff very friendly and very efficient. Best pub in the area by far.
Alfnoax - 2 Jan 2008 13:13
not keen on this place bit too upmarket gastro style, lost all its character and has no atmosphere juke box so low you cant hear it. rowdy teachers make the place echo and hurt your ears apart
from that not bad food
hornseyite - 21 Dec 2007 09:08
Still love this pub! I was down there for the Ally Pally fireworks recently - a very busy night but I was served quickly and efficiently and with a smile. What more could you ask for?
earlydoors - 8 Nov 2007 00:18
Definitely the best pub in in the area. Beer, food and staff all great. They've seemly won lots of awards and deservedly so.
anonymous - 25 Jul 2007 00:17
I just don't get the 'rude staff' bit - I've been in loads of times and find them freindly and efficient. Beer is always good and good choice, decent relaxed atmosphere.
Alfnoax - 6 Jul 2007 16:38
As a regular customer of this pub, I have to strongly disagree with "binaroundtheblockabit". I think the staff are the friendliest I've ever come across (and I've come across a few). I've eaten there at the weekends and the food was excellent - strongly recommend the Sunday lunch - its reasonably priced and really good! As a non football fan I sit in the front when footy is on and wouldn't even know it was there (except for the cheers when a goal is scored).
The customers there are all friendly and welcoming too. Its a great place to go for a quiet drink and read of the newspaper or a good night out with my friends - a lot of whom I met there!
Its only fault for me is that its not closer to my home!
earlydoors - 28 Apr 2007 14:33
I have not been here for a while and this time was no better they still employ the rudest bar man and bar maid that i have ever met (and believe me i have met a few) football has taken over and the food is bland
binaroundtheblockabit - 17 Apr 2007 23:36
the music on Saturday afternoon/ early evening could not be described as unobtrusive.... when you have to walk out on early Roxy Music and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions due to the volume and leave beer behind...
elsiepop - 1 Apr 2007 22:14
best pub in the area - good ales (including regular guest beers), decent service, unobtrusive music.
fieldmarshall - 1 Apr 2007 19:19
I love this pub. Wish I lived a bit closer so it could be my local, but I've probably still made it about once every week since it reopened. Great beer, staff and food.
bertee - 23 Dec 2006 10:20
What a pleasant surprise and a lucky find! I opened my [new] Good Beer Guide 2007 in the North London page and spotted this pub last night. When I telephoned I spoke to a very friendly manager, and felt all the more reason to come and try out the pub before meeting friends nearby later on.

The pub is spacious, with a traditional interior and there were no less than SIX real ales on last night, namely Deuchars IPA, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Tring Colley's Dog, Rebellion Mutiny and Golden Arrow. Most of these beers are priced at Ł2.65 per pint. These are supported by a comprehensive winelist. I had a superb pint of Deuchars IPA.

Excellent, imaginative food menu, with last orders taken just before 2200 most evenings. Time restrictions meant I needed something quick, and the spaghetti bolognese was ideal. Full-flavoured, al-dente pasta in a generous portion with garlic bread on the side. The food arrived within an impressive 15 minutes given the pasta was cooked from fresh. There were excellent meat and fish specials on the blackboard, and I will definitely make another trip soon to explore the food and beer further.

lad_newton - 30 Nov 2006 10:33
best no smoking pub (partially) in the (o smoking) area big sign saying ... "if you can read this you are in a no smoking area" good unprentitious menu with daily specials and good real ale and if the food service is slow sit back and have another beer.....
or go to some of the "local chains" in crouch end
sometimes the music can be too loud
however it's in the good beer guide and deseveredly so
elsiepop - 8 Sep 2006 01:15
As someone who actually travels across London to go this pub, I can't say that I recognise the comments of 'anonymous'.

It's a very friendly community pub; it is the opposite of elitist. It serves working people and city flyers equally.

A lovely pub.
markbernard - 31 Jul 2006 18:25
Community pub that seems to think the local community should all live in the new river development. Food service slow with erratic quality. Never any sign of management and an incredibly rude barman. Had really good potential but how long before the big screen takes over and the louts move in.
anonymous - 9 Jun 2006 01:29
Have been going to the Three Compasses regularly over the last year or so - it's a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon, or an evening, for a quick drink or a long night, just one of those very adaptable places.

The staff are all very friendly; the sofas are really comfortable; it's deceptively large; big screen is well placed for sport; the quiz night is good; the selection of ales (and wines, I'm told) is excellent; food is great; prices are all standard for London - but cheaper than poncey chain bars. And you get individuality and character thrown in too.

Right, I'm going to stop there because this is starting to sound like an advert. And I don't want *everyone* turning up and crowding the place out... But I do really love this pub.

If I had any complaints, would be that the food service is usually pretty slow (so don't expect to be in and out quickly if you're eating) and while the menu is interesting - so great the first few times you eat there - it's not that extensive for variety on regular visits.
n10_n17 - 8 Jun 2006 18:34
Disagree about the friendliness of this place. They have always seemed friendly to me. This pub pretty much get everything else right too - good, and imaginative food, excellent beer, always changing. Pool and Sky Sports out the back, which you can avoid if you wish by sitting in the other section. Something for everyone.
darlofan - 7 Apr 2006 12:44
nice quiet local - good food and friendly staff
vodkaqueen - 16 Mar 2006 10:42
A fantastic selection of ales. Very comfortable pub - something for everyone. Barman was a bit grumpy, but what's new in London. Well worth a visit - if just to look at the pub interior.
keep_it_green - 14 Mar 2006 16:31
I enjoy the selection of games behind the counter although have had to put in a request for backgammon. My housemate had gueinia fowl for sunday roast most unusual. I reckon its the best pub around in Wood Green, Hornsey & Turnpike area by far.
lildeviljo - 13 Sep 2005 09:42
oh, and they've just started a quiz too, on monday nights. not been yet, but I fully intend to. spoke to one of the staff about it and he said they got three questions right in the first three rounds. sounds like my kind of quiz!
mrlogic - 8 Sep 2005 13:03
This used to be my local but I've recently moved nearer Muswell Hill. However, I still prefer it to all the pubs in my new area and am happy to walk that little bit further to get there. Always a friendly atmosphere there. Guinness is good. Food is a bit on the pretentious side but not stupidly expensive (Sunday Roasts are usually excellent, even if you don't get that much compared to other pubs). Staff are always friendly and up for a laugh. I've also found a few of my fellow geordies will pop in if the toon are playing.
mrlogic - 8 Sep 2005 12:57
father pierre will be very pleased to hear that the bar person is long gone. The pub is my local and i'm very happy with it. it is the best pub in N8 by a suburban mile!
markbernard - 7 Sep 2005 17:50
I am really impressed with this pub its a good older crowd, comfy couches & not all that smokey. The pool table is in excellent condition & the bar staff are very friendly. The bar staff take the challenge to prepare you a drink if you're a bit indecisive.
lildeviljo - 27 Jul 2005 14:51
Alsation?? It's the cleanest place I've ever been! Wizzard must be confusing it with somewhere else!
markbernard - 21 Jun 2005 11:27
Smells of Alsatian.
wizzard - 8 Apr 2005 15:48
This place is one of my locals and I must say it's improved so much since it opened.

The food's pretty good (poor choice menu), the beer's always well kept and not overly pricey and the mix of poeple it attracts is excellent.

It has picked up trade since it opened and is well worth a visit as it's always clean and apparently trouble-free.

Other than the bar man who refuses to speak (even a thank you, a please and just nods at the price on the til when you ask how much - he needs to be sacked!) the staff are all very good.

It would get a 9 but loses a mark because of the idiot who sometimes works there!
fatherpierre - 29 Mar 2005 21:06
This is my favourite pub in the area. I used to live a few doors away but have sadly have to move further away. It is always clean, staff are friendly, good juke box (though pricey) and a good wine list. What more could you want?

Would definitely recommend.
pheebus - 22 Mar 2005 14:35
Well, for Hornsey, I must say I was impressed. It has changed a lot since I was last here - completely refurbished. It looks like a chain pub but it wasn't. Food was very good. Two bar areas - one sporty, showing rugby on a big screen, while in other bar people were just chatting.

Good mix of males and females of all age groups.

markbernard - 2 Mar 2005 18:25
the pub was good wen sean had it but now it has gone downhill.
drumandmonkeyfan - 23 Feb 2005 10:24
A bit soulless and the service can be slow even when the place is empty.

On the plus side it's very clean with an excellent range of beer and wine. The food's pretty good, too and they have a no smoking area - even though it's often ignored and not enforced by the staff.
Peter - 30 Oct 2004 14:35
Great pub. Friendly atmosphere, good beer, clean attractive decor and not a chain pub.
Clare - 15 Oct 2004 17:34
we used to play pool all day for 20p a game and drink pints of pilsner larger for 50p, and that was only 3 years ago, but now its changed and not realy worth going to!
tom - [email protected] - 29 Jul 2004 14:34

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