Dartmouth Arms to close on January 31

Show your support before it’s too late for a popular NW5 boozer.

This longstanding watering hole on York Rise recently became a “community asset”, which means that if anyone wishes to develop it, locals have the right to offer on the site and stop any work from happening.

So why is the Dartmouth Arms – currently on the market for £1.8million – closing its doors for a lengthy five months on Jan 31? With the builders arriving shortly after (to convert the upper floors into flats, rather than the pub itself)?

Roaring fires. Interior. Photo: Faucet Inns
Roaring fires.
Photo: Faucet Inns
It’s baffling, but not exactly a surprise. Faucet Inns, who also own Steeles on Haverstock Hill and Camden’s Black Cap (one of the capital’s last surviving neighbourhood gay pubs), have been running the place “into the ground”, say regulars, for months.

And rumours indeed abound. We’ve heard how staff haven’t been able to heat the pub, other than by the fireplaces in the main room, and how they’ve had to have showers elsewhere. We heard that the team had no budget to throw a proper New Year’s Eve bash to compete with other nearby pubs, either. And as for the former dining room? It’s been boarded off for ages. In short, this is not a mystery that requires the presence of Miss Marple.


And yet, in our January print issue we write how charmed we have been recently by the newish chef, Ainslie Evans, who’s done stints at L’Escargot and Grain Store in King’s Cross. In fact, over the last four months he’s been trying to bring the Dartmouth back to where it was half a decade ago, when it was a fantastic buzzy little local.

Slow-cooked beef and mash. Photo: LBTM
Slow-cooked beef and mash. Photo: LBTM
If you haven’t tried the menu recently, we recommend you do in the next fortnight – before it’s too late. Scotch eggs? Gloriously spicy, full-on meaty and with a perfect soft yolk centre: the best we’d tried for ages. A burger? Melt-in-the-mouth medium-rare, its brioche bun sturdy enough not to collapse. Fish pie? Packed with smoked haddock, kale suitably buttery. Slow-braised beef and mash (left)? Delicious.

But most importantly, if you think the Dartmouth Arms should remain open, show your support below in the comments section.

A teensy bit of good news to end on? Ace nearby establishments, the Southampton Arms and the Bull & Last, are both potentially interested. We’ll keep you posted.

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Find the Dartmouth Arms at 35 York Rise NW5 1SP. But be quick, it closes on Jan 31. For regular updates on what’s happening join the Save The Dartmouth Facebook page

  • Show Comments

  • Clare

    Faucet are a disgrace who have deliberately run down the once bustling Dartmouth. They’ve taken every wrong turn it’s possible to take for those running an actual pub business (as opposed to a property speculation firm), alienating custom with the idea of showing how unprofitable the pub was so that they convert the whole building, not just the top floors, into flats.

    Thankfully Camden Council will not allow change of use for the pub, but Faucet are chiselling as much money as they can out of the upper floors – whose planning permission was only allowed without change of use to the pub – before (hopefully) selling the ground floor on to someone who actually wants to run a pub rather than a property empire. That’s the best case scenario, but there are plenty of worse ones, given that Faucet are claiming the building work will take at least 5 months.

    Go to the ‘Save The Dartmouth Arms’ group on Facebook to learn more about what’s happening, and a campaign to buy and run the pub for the community.

  • Bashful

    Is this Faucett Inns a pub company or actually a property company? It seems like they purchase pubs to develop them. With their track record they should be called out.

    • kd

      Hopefully the Southhampton Arms or Bull & Last team can’t get involved…both have shown how to run a boozer or gastro pub properly…

  • Elena Patton

    Four generations of my family have been regulars at this lovely pub. It was my fathers favourite boozer (he died in the pub) – it hold lots of great memories for me and my family and friends and has been our ‘go to’ place for decades. Its a great great shame that it’s threatened like this. We need community places like the Dartmouth Arms – it has brought people together, and has always been a friendly and welcoming place.

    The company that have purposefully tried to run this pub Into the ground should be ashamed. They are trying to destroy a landmark of a place that once thrived. I have seen this pub grow and change through the 36 years I have been a local. I don’t want to lose this place. It’s an essential and important part of the area and has played a huge role in my life and my families lives. It makes the area, Dartmouth Park.

    We need a place where locals can meet and socialise – it’s essential to the community spirit of the area. Taking away the pub would really impact upon the community spirit that Dartmouth Park is known for. Certainly since we move there in the 70’s it’s been that way- I don’t want to see that destroyed.

  • Emma

    I know someone that works for Faucet Inns – from everything I’ve heard, the owner is not interested in his staff (which he treats appallingly – I’ve never known anything like it) or customers, but as others have said here, in a property empire. It’s very sad as local pubs and small chains should be treasured. I hope the pub is brought back to its former glory as soon as possible!

  • Laura

    This is awful news! Dartmouth Arms is such a great local which has never got too posh or swanky, always kept inclusive of long-standing locals but always served good food and drink in cosy, well-kept surroundings.

    Would be a HUGE shame if a nasty big developer ran a community asset into the ground 🙁 can’t be allowed!

  • jon d

    It’s so sad. Before the change in management the Dartmooth Arms was a wonderfully lively bustling place, catering for all sorts – quietish room at the back, great place to watch football in the front, an onsite second-hand bookshop, film nights, quiz nights – an absolutely brilliant Local. What a waste.

  • nagamama

    More than a pity. There are enough gastro pubs in the neighbourhood like the Bull and Last where one is NOT welcome to have just a pint……What can we locals do to save the Dartmouth Arms from a similar fate…..the end of January is nigh!

    • Lisa

      This tragic sort of thing happening (increasingly!) is the result of the Govt. totally abandoning any planning rules re redevelopmnent (of anywhere you fancy) and turning places into “luxury flats” to rent/sell off at vast profits. It’s actually a crime in my book as it has changed so many much-loved and much needed places – specially all over London. Life will change forever as this continues and will never be able to be brought back to a warm, friendly, considerate way of living. And all for what? GREED, NO MATTER WHAT. The unthinkable has already been happening in these parts. It makes one despair. I can only hope that at least the pub part of this latest development will be taken over by someone who is human and does care.

  • Martin Besserman

    Monkey Business was very recently pushed out from The Sir Richard Steele without warning or reason after getting full houses there almost every week .This development happened after Faucet were refused planning permission by Camden to convert into flats,With our wonderful popular club no longer there ,they will of course reapply .There only interest in pubs is to ruin them ,and make them into flats by all accounts .

  • marc

    i’ve never seen a more obvious ‘run into the ground’, it changed overnight, amazingly rude staff, football on in the dining room while people eating, and a really cold atmosphere
    it used to do a good trade too from what i could see,
    I do like the Palmo, but they are now dishing £5 Pints out. Not good for the area.

  • Ann Haine

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything written here. I love the atmosphere and community feel of the pub; it is such a blow to the sense of our ‘home turf’ when there is such unfeeling destruction.

  • Feather

    Absolutely ridiculous! It’s very frustrating that this is happening and as someone further above mentioned, the pub company needs to be called out on their property feel developing ways.

    I am ashamed to say that I stopped going after the management change: everything from the moody staff to the cold atmosphere put me off. Don’t event get me started on that hideous wallpaper. The clientele changed with it. It’s depressing to walk in there now and a shame as I hear the food is great since the new chef took over.

    Oh for the days of Nick chucking oysters at the bar and Aussie Danny running the place. It was so, so ace. Anyone remember the beach themed NYE party there? So fun. So many people have so many memories there.

    Surely some loaded local(s) could drop drop a couple of mil without losing any sleep and save the place?!

    What if the Southy and the Bull joined forces on this and bought the pub together? Southy could do the bar, bull could do the food, and it would be the best pub in the land.

    If some brilliant new owners took over, I’m sure the whole community would rally and go there. As it stands, it’s a ghost of its former self and it’s so sad to see it dying.


    • Clare

      YES. Nick shucking oysters at the bar. Packed with a full mix of people. Spanish sharing boards before Spanish sharing boards were a thing. Even more packed for football. Arsenal v Tottenham, deafening but no trouble. The Stoke fans and their free oatcakes at half time. Nick’s quiz. The range of Cider and the wine specials. It was a wonderful pub. The bookshop. All the papers every day and the afternoon drinkers in to read them. Faucet stopped that as soon as they took over, the £5 cost too much to bear. Out went the fishtank. Out went the football. Out went the club sandwich, the best lunch in the manor. Out went the wood panels and the copper tables and the big corner booth by the window. Out went the toddlers getting their hair cut in the back room on Thursdays. Up went the wallpaper. Up went the prices. Out went the customers to the Southampton and the Palmerston and the Star. Faucet couldn’t have ruined that pub more if they’d tried, though they did try. I’m sure they’ll make some lovely flats.

      • Nigel Smith (@nigelcsmith)

        Nick is the best pub landlord I have ever encountered. I keep promising myself that I’ll visit his ‘new’ pub in Harwich where he does seem to have recreated all that was once wonderful about the Dartmouth Arms (the quiz night is even on a Tuesday http://www.almaharwich.co.uk/)

        • Kentishtowner

          We visited the Alma in Harwich late last year – it’s wonderfully atmospheric, friendly and with great food too.

          • Nigel Smith (@nigelcsmith)

            Another former DA regular I know has paid a few visits to Nick at the Alma. It does sound great.

      • Kentishtowner

        Hi Clare, we’ve tried to drop you a line but the email address bounced back. Is it correct? Perhaps you can email us: info@kentishtowner.co.uk – Thanks!

  • Bucky

    Great to see so much support, I’m a local, drank in there for the last 13 years, and the mood amongst the locals at the moment swings between despairing and mutinous. Faucet are not only a disgrace, they’re sly but devoid of actual business acumen or intelligence.

  • Allmanator

    This is terrible news. Chetwynd Road boy living in Oz now, but The Dartmouth is always 1st port of call & will always be my local. Hope it gets some kind of reprieve.

  • Feather

    News reaches this morning that the place is in the process of being sold. One of three prospective buyers….can anyone confirm?

  • Andrew

    It’s no surprise. They are doing the same to the Black Cap – upper floors converted into flats and the same with Comptons in Soho – upper floors converted into flats. Are they re-investing any of this into the pubs . NO. It’s a money making operation stripping community assets.