skip nav  
 


BITE user comments - Firky1

Comments by Firky1

St James Tavern, Piccadilly

Must disagree with some of the comments below. I went there for a late lunch with a few work colleagues today and thought it was great!

Lots of nice nooks and crannies to occupy without feeling too dingy and some reasonably priced (and tasting) pub grub fare. Drinks a bit on the pricey side but what can you expect from a bar in this neck of the woods?

Staff were very speedy and efficient and even brought the change over to our table when one of my dozy colleagues forgot to pick it up after buying a round.

All in all, one of the better pubs in this area and certainly no reservations about drinking here again, though can imagine it gets a bit rammed on football days or at the weekend.

31 Mar 2011 18:39

The Lion, Archway

LOL @ archwayboy

22 Mar 2011 20:09

The Old Ale Emporium, Harringay

How could I forget this place? came here for a works party and had a fantastic night. One of the guest ales was a "banana bread beer", which was one of the best things I've ever tasted. Also memorable was the excellent selection of 'old school' bar snacks (all types of nuts, bacon/scampi fries, twiglets, pork scratchings, posh crisps etc) which are becoming all too rare these days, and which I find preferable to forcing the humble drinker to order overpriced olives, 'posh crisps' flavoured with the wax of a Perigreen falcon's ear and the and other such nonsense.

The service was also so attentive that even on a crowded after work friday you could stand 5 rows back from the bar, wave a tenner in the air, and they will spot you and serve you as promptly as you could wish for. many of the bar staff in other bars around this city should be made to go to this place to see how it is done ie Professionally.

All in all a great pub and one I hope to return to at every opportunity I can find!

22 Mar 2011 02:25

The Archway Tavern, Archway

Had never drunk here before but now I have moved back to the area and was meeting a friend for a meal in the Italian I thought i'd pop in here to have a swift half.

Really wished I hadn't!

Even entering the place was mildly intimidating as had to almost barge past a group of heavy looking Eastern Europeans standing smoking at the door.

Inside it was dead. And i mean DEAD. There was noone in the place atall, apart from the group of Eastern Europeans when they re-entered. I noticed the TVs appeared to be set to Eastern European channels too so get the impression the bar is now catering to a largely Polish (?) clientele.

From the paintings of guitars on the facade it looks like some sort of student union and I saw a live listing on the wall so can only surmise they hold concerts somehwere else in the building. There is what looks like a real Phoenix Nights type club round the back where I had parked my car. Dread to think what that is like.

Incidentally, my friend who I met for the meal told me that the building features on the cover of a Kinks LP, so prhaps that is why it seems to be 'rock' themed. Can't think why else. With only one ale on as opposed to the pumps of fizzy yellow and no pub grub that I could see. I can't think of anything to tempt me back either.

21 Mar 2011 21:59

The Charlotte Despard, Archway

and, rather than irrelevant cut & paste odysseys from stooges who ADMIT THEY HAVE NEVER VISTED THE PUB OR EVEN NEIGHBOURHOOD here is a genuine review by someone who has done so on a number of occassions:

Mixed feelings about this place. It is a very nice space with beautiful pine furnishings and a fantastic selection of ales on tap and a great range of organic bottled ciders, probably making it one of the most inviting places to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon reading the papers. However, there are a few rather negative aspects which in fairness I must report.

On the last occassion I popped in I got rather grumpy service from the barmaid who appeared annoyed to be distracted from doing the crossword with her friend. Food prices are OK but , whilst generous portions, the food is most certainly not of the standard one would expect from any place promoting itself as a 'gastro-pub' which suggests a bit of an identity crisis for the bar. Is it trying to be a true 'gastro pub' . competing with the St John on Junction Road, or a 'locals bar' serving up filling fare for those too drunk to care? Furthermore, last time we were in, upon seeing that my companion hadn't eaten her chips and side-salad the chef/dishwasher who collected our plates became quite unnervingly hostile. All rather unexpected, tho I suspect drugs may have been a factor. Still, not the best ambassador for a bar.

To conclude, I do like the Charlotte Despard and would certainly go there again. It is probably the closest the area has to a 'family-friendly' bar North of Highgate (I have seen a number of children and even a baby in a pram there) Also, it is well worth visiting just for the atrocious painting on the side of the building which looks like Jimmy Nail! It will be interesting to see how it developes. I feel it needs to find it's own 'identity' and character as at present it does feel like a bit of a cross between an All Bar One and a Weatherspoons.

Oh, and keep the junkie in the kitchen!

21 Mar 2011 21:37

The Charlotte Despard, Archway

@[email protected] Priceless! You suddenly pop up and leave a 'review' of a pub but claim "fortunately I've never had the misfortune to be in that part of the world" ergo you are 'reviewing' a pub you have never visited?

Could you clarify please?

21 Mar 2011 21:28

The Charlotte Despard, Archway

Still, interesting to know that the bar has been named after a Sinn Fein activist. Definately no desire to put money into the till of such an establishment in future so thanks for the heads up on that.

20 Mar 2011 18:26

The Mother Red Cap, Archway

Not really my kind of place but it was busy on the couple of occassions I have popped in to watch a Liverpool game on the big screen. As is to be expected the clientele is mostly male and comprised of the Irish labouring fraternity so I suppose if that describes you you'll love it, but I couldn't help feeling that with my Home Counties accent I stuck out like a sore thumb when ordering a drink.

20 Mar 2011 18:22

The Hill, Primrose Hill

Another fine pub i've been pleased to find in the area. Spacious and unpretentious. Had a great Sunday Dinner drink-up there today and in fact I still feel so woozy I think i shall cut this review short and catch a siesta...................................................

20 Mar 2011 18:14

The Sir Richard Steele, Belsize Park

Excellent pub. A fine selection of drinks, not too busy and lovely & snug in the book-lined back-rooms. Could have spent all afternoon and night in here then curled up to sleep in the armchair till next day!

20 Mar 2011 18:11

The Engineer, Primrose Hill

Horrible place. We went there today to have Sunday dinner and a few drinks but had to wait so long while the staff talked amongst themselves and to the SUV drivers propping up the bar we ended up leaving for refreshment further afield. Never again.

20 Mar 2011 18:08

The Charlotte Despard, Archway

@[email protected] posting up a Wikipedia cut & paste to deflect from the (slight) criticism below of your or your friend's bar only makes you look desperate and duplicitous. And my opinion of your/your friend's establishment go down.

20 Mar 2011 18:05

Bradleys, Fitzrovia

fantastic bar only let down by my being charged 2.80 for a glass of soda water and lime cordial one night when I was drivin!! IT's almost enough to turn you to drink!. However, this shabby looking building is home to some of the nicest food you'll ever taste. The name Bradley's doesn't exactly shout out 'Viva Espana', but the authentic paella and gorgeous tapas wouldn't be out of place in a traditional backstreet cafe in Valencia.

Great juke-box too. All in all a very 'special' feeling pub (like something you only ever discover on your very last night whilst holidaying in a town abroad) but they really must sort out their soft drinks prices. Anything over 1.20 for a spirit glass of soft drink or cordial is simply unacceptable.

19 Mar 2011 21:06

The Blue Posts, Soho

Fantastic pub. By far the best in Soho if not one of the best in London.

I almost didn't recognise it at first from the photo above (when was that taken??) but i can strongly advise anyone looking for a drink in a pefect, traditional unpretentious pub to go in there and they are guaranteed not to be disapointed.

Probably for this very reason it attracts the most interesting clientele of any London pub I can think of. last time I was in there on a Friday both Phil Jupitus AND Paul Weller were drinking on seperate sides of the bar!

Only criticism is that sometimes (especially Friday / saturday nights) it does get too busy at the bar when one is trying to order a drink so surely it wouldn't cut into the bar-take too much to hire another helping hand?

19 Mar 2011 20:59

The Sun and 13 Cantons, Soho

Another bar I have mixed feelings about. It is a regular haunt, being just round the corner from work and I have never experienced any of the unpleasantness others below have evidently experienced but I can see why people do not like it, especially after office hours as it is a bit 'City boy in Soho' which is never a good thing. Or that welcoming if , like me, you aren't cut of that cloth.

19 Mar 2011 20:54

The Worlds End, Camden

Utterly hideous place. Overpriced drinks. Weary looking staff. Food that looks like it is Christmas dinner leftovers reheated since December and relentless loud heavy metal music. Funnily enough, it reminded me of a 'rock' version of a the Australian backpacker's pubs of my youth. Not a good thing!

Only stopped off here for a drink after work with some colleagues once and will never set foot in again if I can help it.

19 Mar 2011 20:50

The Charlotte Despard, Archway

Mixed feelings about this place. It is a very nice space with beautiful pine furnishings and a fantastic selection of ales on tap and a great range of organic bottled ciders, probably making it one of the most inviting places to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon reading the papers. However, there are a few rather strange aspects to it which did not exist prior to the new management take-over when it was called, The Settleinn.

It does seem a bit cliquey and , not being a real regular myself, I got rather grumpy service from the barmaid who appeared annoyed to be distracted from doing the crossword with her friend. Food prices are OK but , whilst generous portions, the food is most certainly not of the standard one would expect from any place promoting itself as a 'gastro-pub' which suggests a bit of an identity crisis for the bar. Is it trying to be a true 'gastro pub' . competing with the St John on Junction Road, or a 'locals bar' serving up filling fare for those too drunk to care? Furthermore, last time we were in, upon seeing that my companion hadn't eaten her chips and side-salad the chef/dishwasher who collected our plates became quite unnervingly hostile. All rather unexpected, tho I suspect drugs may have been a factor. Still, not the best ambassador for a bar.

To conclude, I do like the Charlotte Despard and would certainly go there again. It is probably the closest the area has to a 'family-friendly' bar North of Highgate (I have seen a number of children and even a baby in a pram there) Also, it is well worth visiting just for the atrocious painting on the side of the building which looks like Jimmy Nail! It will be interesting to see how it developes. I feel it needs to find it's own 'identity' and character as at present it does feel like a bit of a cross between an All Bar One and a Weatherspoons.

Oh, and keep the junkie in the kitchen!

19 Mar 2011 20:46

The Woodman, Highgate

Agreed about the food not being up to par but i've never encountered any moodiness from the staff myself . The 'drinks service' IS very annoying . And pointless. I doubt it will remain for long as one can bet their bar takings have decreased since it was introduced. There's no greater testament to the 'if it's not broken - don't fix it' ethos than the exchange of money for drink over a bar!

19 Mar 2011 01:08

The Flask, Highgate

A very nice and snug pub with some very friendly and helpful bar staff which is unfortunately rather let down by a number of boorish rugby types who have adopted it as their regular over recent years. Perhaps it's because of an influx of such customers that the prices seem to have increased proportionally.

That said, still a great plce to have a meal, read the papers and spend a Sunday afternoon.

19 Mar 2011 00:56

The St Johns Tavern, Archway

Been going to the St John for a number of years myself and must say I tend to agree with some of the more recent comments.

Some members of staff CAN be a bit up themselves (yes, in particular The Pirate!) as can some of the clientele the place has been attracting lately but I suppose that just goes part & parcel with a place becoming a focal point for the more aspirational types in the area.

I have had some fantastic meals in there. In fact have had birthday dinners there with groups of friends over the past few years and have never had any problems with the food tho perhaps the menu COULD do with a make-over.

The 'bar snacks' are quite absurdly over-priced tho. have never understood why places do this when they would sell infinitely more were thir prices more reasonable. I for one, would not pay pounds for a small handful of olives when I know I can but a pound or two of the very same for a fraction of the price just down the road in Kentish Town!

But all said and done, it is still my regular hostelry and certainly the best 'gastro pub' in the area so my grumbles are only minor and certainly won't put me off drinking and eating there.

19 Mar 2011 00:39

Back to Firky1's profile