Location: Gospel Oak.
Previous incarnation: The Bluebell.
You what? It was better known as the Westport Inn for many, many years.
So it has a past then? Hell yes! Bare-knuckle fights in the basement. People falling over a bit as they left. That kind of thing.
To whom? A small indie pub group with boozers in places like Ally Pally and Muswell Hill.
OK. Don’t fret! It feels the same inside – ie. quite stylish, with a roaring fire – and is really busy on Sundays. Perhaps because there’s a 2-for-1 on roasts if you pre-book at 6pm or later.
What about the rest of the week? It was ticking over nicely on a Wednesday evening, with the winds and rains hammering outside. But it was a little quiet on Saturday night at about 7pm.
Is the scran much cop? Not as foodie as under the previous owners; let’s be honest. They’ve scrapped the rabbit rillettes and goat-three-ways in favour of basic gastropub classics.
Like? Fish and chips, which wasn’t bad on a recent visit, the cod’s flesh just opaque. Sausages and mash were a bit ‘meh’, while sea bass, its skin crisp, came pimped up with salty pancetta and samphire.
What else should I order? Try some bar snacks. We rated the hot scotch eggs, chorizo-packed with runny golden yolks. And the plate of beetroot-cured salmon was pretty as a picture, with its swirls and whorls.
Staff: friendly? Yes. Not quite in the slapping-you-on-the-back-like-a-local category, but helpful and they know their stuff.
Craft beer tick? Tick. There’s always been a good range of taps at the pub, including Hammerton, Beavertown and Camden. Plus lots of real ale.
Do say: “Mine’s a Weird Beard.”
Don’t say: “How about you turn the lighting down a bit?”