Kentish Town: the best pubs in London?

Kentish Town is spear-heading London’s oh-so-current real ale revival. And it’s not just us saying this – we would, of …

Kentish Town is spear-heading London’s oh-so-current real ale revival. And it’s not just us saying this – we would, of course – but other London sites are enthusing too, like here and here.

So can we cobble together a chronology to all this? First, we think, came the Pineapple, a perfect real pub, ales and all. But it was the stripped-back charms of the world-conquering Southampton (CAMRA’s Best London pub), with its seven rotating ales and ciders, that stirred up wider attention. Then, this year The Junction wisely popped five or so changing casks in its dark-panelled pub section, and, nearby Lord Palmerston upped its ale quotient too.

New kid on the block (and sister pub to The Pineapple) Tapping The Admiral , which opened last month near Kentish Town West overground, looks like it’s shaping up nicely (we enjoyed our pint of Bethnal Green ale the other day); and now comes the news that NW5’s very own Camden Town Brewery are finally set to launch their own onsite bar, hopefully in December – “but,” warns Head Brewer Mark, “it’s not definite as we’ve got lots of work to do in the brewery still.” However, he has promised Kentishtowner readers a “preview peek” the minute it’s all ready to go.


And if anyone’s in any doubt about the health of Kentish Town’s pub scene, let’s not forget that last month the Bull & Last picked up Observer Food Monthly’s Best Sunday Lunch award. But they don’t need any more press, so here’s a pic of Tapping The Admiral’s cosy interior instead.

So, people, what ales should we all be drinking – and where, dammit, where?


  • Show Comments

  • David Jenkins

    Totally agree about all your pubs listed, though to be honest, I wouldn’t ever just pop into the Bull and Last for a pint, it’s more of a restaurant. This all makes me wonder why the boozers actually on KT high street are so poor in comparison. The Oxford is okay, but not up to the likes of the Southampton of The Pineapple. And the less said about O’Reilly’s and Annies the better.

    Also, don’t forget the Lion and Unicorn on Gaisford St. While the food is okay to reasonable, it’s a lovely pub for a couple of pints of ale.

  • Kentishtowner

    We really like The Oxford, although it’s more of a people-watching kinda place than an alehouse of course…the Lion & Unicorn hasn’t, alas, quite won us over yet. But it has a nice location & garden.

  • David Jenkins

    Were you ever in the boozer it replaced? It’s a quantum leap in terms of ambience and quality.

  • Nick Harding

    Yes, Tapping the Admiral is really good news.

    Clicking on the link gives the alarming message that it is a malitious site – if others get the same result, they need to be told.

    Another welcome development, albeit just outside KT, is the change at the pub opposite the Rounds House. Was the Bartock (previously the Steam Engine and before that the Belmont). It is now Joe’s Place and sell real ale – only one choice but so far they have been good. It seems to be settling in as it no longer seems to be open during the day. It sells hot dogs which I find a welcome snack if you want something between crisps and a meal. Tapping the Admirsal now has Thai food.


  • Kentishtowner

    Agreed – Joe’s bar is brilliant. All 1940’s tin cups and a good jukebox. And last week they showcased Showboat, the more-ish new ale from camden brewery.

  • lewi

    BrewDog are opening a bar in Camden – they have the license sorted and are currently working on the interior. Pretty good beers apparently – open in the next month or so.

    • Kentishtowner

      Interesting… Do you know where?

      • Rebecca

        113 Bayham Street. Opens mid-December

  • Tom

    “head brewer mark”citation needed…. The brewers are Rob, James, Renn and Pete

  • Chris

    I am going to throw in a vote for Quinn’s…. it’s weird, old-fashioned, not very clean, but has a fridge full of rare belgium beers for ridiculously low prices…

  • Fiona

    And as far as I know, the only place to get a nice glass of Chartreuse in the vicinity. To my mind, this makes that all-pervading smell of toilet just about bearable.

  • Jim Saunders

    The fact that there is a lot of good traditional pubs in kentish town, this makes it a remarkable place to drink and eat. I have tried a few placed but the one particular place that made me want to go again was the junction tavern in Fortess Road. Friendly staff banta with a nice assortment of ales.