North London's Cultural Guide

Dartmouth Arms

10 surprising outdoor spaces and courtyards

From boozy record shop gardens to tiny pavement cocktail terraces, a selection of unexpected alfresco spots

As locals will know, the area is ludicrously well-served for alfresco drinking and dining. So while this short list across Kentish Town, Tufnell Park, Gospel Oak and Dartmouth Park is by no means comprehensive, we hope that there may be a quirky gem or two that you’ve forgotten about over the last endless year of lockdown. Oh, and it’s in no particular order. As every server everywhere says nowadays: enjoy.

The Dartmouth Arms and Truffles piazza
Last summer the cobbles between these two classic York Rise venues – one now a superior gastropub, the other a friendly licensed cafe and deli – was buzzing on warm days. It’s back from Monday (12th April) for more holiday feels in NW5. Costa Del Dartmouth, (main picture, above) anyone? @dartmoutharms / @truffles_deli

Anima e Cuore
The legendary Kentish Town Road fine-dining Italian BYO tripled their venue size last year, complete with much larger walled dining terrace, perfect for post-lockdown celebrating. @animaecuoreuk, More here.

Let It Roll Records
Lovely surprise courtyard at Let It Roll. Photo: Stephen Emms

Let It Roll
Lower Kentish Town Road’s cafes and restaurants have enviable rear courtyards, and just down from Anima, its excellent independent record-shop-cum-cafe is as charming as any. With brand new alcohol license in tow, from next Friday (16th April) the space, dominated by a vivid pink mural, will be an atmospheric outdoor bar, too. @letitrollrecords More here.


Gipsy Queen
This Malden Road boozer has a surprisingly magical – if rather narrow – rear garden, with booths, heaters, festoon lighting and tons of colour to suit its streetfood kitchen and vacation vibes. @gipsyqueennw5, More here. 

Colonel Fawcett: covered, heated garden. Photo: PR

Colonel Fawcett
NW1’s Randolph Street pub is so well-known for drinking on those street-facing benches – which catch the afternoon rays – that it’s easy to forget the exceedingly cute garden behind, freshly tarted up for pint-fuelled post-lockdown revelry. @colonelfawcett, More here.

Knowhere Special
Along with new neighbour the Rabbit Hole (read more about it here), the teeny pavement cocktail terrace next door is the definitive spot in Central Kentish Town to suck down a superior spritz or tinkle a negroni as you watch the sun set over the railway tracks, ignoring the traffic. @knowherespecial, More here.

Junction NW5 garden
Rebooted: The Junction. Photo: Own

The Junction
The ‘surprise’ here is how different the outdoor space is: the classic Fortess Road gastropub completely restyled their garden last summer – and it’s now a genuine NW5 outdoor destination: covered, heated wooden hut-like booths, mosaic tiling and citrus-coloured chairs. @junctiontavernnw5

Always roadblock even in the Before Times on a warm evening, this leafy courtyard adorned with street art and bare-bulb lighting is way bigger (and rowdier) than you’d imagine from the road. And BYO? Hellooooo. @bintang_restaurant, More here.

Rose & Crown
The subterranean courtyard, reached only by spiral staircase, has a quirky OMG-factor if it’s your first visit. But it’ll be particularly sheltered – and therefore cosy – if the weather ain’t clement. Worth bearing in mind, methinks. Oh, and the craft beer selection is the best in town. @roseandcrownnw5, More here.

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.