North London Food & Culture


The Constitution, Camden: take a peek inside the renovation

With the relaunch of the iconic canalside watering hole looming, we get a hard-hat tour of what's going on

Founded 165 years ago in 1858, The Constitution – otherwise known as The Conny – is perched on the banks of the Regent’s Canal, somewhere between Camden and King’s Cross. If you’ve been knocking round these parts for a while, you’ll know how treasured it is as a local watering hole.

It’s certainly a joint we frequented, especially the infamous Folk In The Cellar nights. We’ve even hosted a few Christmas parties there ourselves.

General Manager Gen Wood and Ops Director Nicola Byrne, The Constitution. Photo: SE

Shut since just before Covid in 2020, this year it was rescued by new owners Young’s – the team behind Kentish Town’s Lion & Unicorn and Bull & Gate, as well as Tufnell Park’s lofty Palmerston pub.

With the whole building ensconced in scaffolding, so far they have spent months restoring its interior, along with a rebuild of the extension at the back, as well as new toilets, kitchen – and even a rooftop terrace (more of which below). The pub will finally reopen in February 2024.


Reclaimed bar panelling, The Constitution. Photo: SE

What is it about this precious waterside spot that’s so important to locals? “I think it’s community,” says general manager Gen Wood, who will bring experience of running many successful pubs across the capital to this venture. “It’s somewhere you go for a good old knees-up. There’s no pretence. There was always a lot of fun going on in the downstairs bar with all the music events. People naturally get worried that things get taken from the community but that’s not that’s not what we’re about. And that’s not what I’m about. We want to return it to the community.”

As dozens of builders beavered away in each area, on a freezing day last week Gen and operations manager Nicola showed me round the space.

1. The original bar

The original entrance, Constitution. Photo: SE

Customers will step inside through the original corner entrance, pictured above, into the former main bar area, leading to an extension whose larger curved bar will be lined with reclaimed panelling (see top pic). “The new bar will be facing out onto the canal,” says Gen. “So, a much better view.” There will be no formal dining area, with the emphasis firmly on all things pub. “As well as our extensive list of local ales, craft beers, wines and spirits you’ll be able to order food in any part of the pub; there’ll be no definition of space in that way.”

2. The beer garden terrace

Lovely original arched brick intact? Tick. Photo: SE

The spacious rear garden terrace was always one of the pub’s most popular features – and don’t worry, it ain’t going nowhere. It will be the largest outdoor space (of two), with as much emphasis on outdoor pints as pub grub. The arched brick wall is happily still in tact, its elevated oasis feel remaining – and yet with the refurb this walled space will be connected more easily to the main bar than in its former incarnation.

3. Lower-level canalside bar

Restoring the canalside bar, Constitution. Photo: SE

This red-walled dimly-lit space was arguably the most loved spot in the whole pub (read about it here). When The Constitution relaunches the canalside bar will be a little bigger as it’s being extended into some of the former cellar space. By day, it will catch the footfall from the towpath, but in the evening it will come into its own, with a more secret, bohemian feel. “We’ll be hosting all sorts of events from live music to poetry, quizzes spoken word and craft workshops,” says Gen. “I’d like to do a monthly book club, and just try different things to engage with people. Get in touch if you have an idea you think might work.”

4. New rooftop terrace

Gen looks out from the rooftop terrace, The Constitution. Photo: SE

“One of the most exciting aspects is the brand new rooftop terrace,” says Gen. “It will have a retractable roof, so we can use it all year round: in the summer obviously the rooftop will be off, and it’s an amazing suntrap – you can actually see the water – while in winter it will be very cosy. Up here, if you want to eat steak on the bar top, that’s absolutely fine. But if you’d rather have a glass of wine and watch the sunset, that’s cool too.”

Conny Camden
What a location: The Conny. Photo: SE

5. The food

“Our head chef Jay Bond will serve pub classics with a twist. We’re going to retain those dishes that everyone expects like fish and chips, and burgers, but he also wants to include sharing pies and fish platters for groups of friends and families.”

Elevated pub grub:  ox cheek croquettes, bone marrow mayonnaise. Photo: PR

“Small plates might include scorched mackerel with a beetroot carpaccio, roasted squash on hummus, homemade gnocchi on a beetroot puree, or pork loin with hispi cabbage. And lots of mussels. It helps that the fish suppliers, Direct Seafood, are just around the corner. Ultimately, we just want to reflect what people enjoy eating these days, which is less emphasis on meat, and more on vegetarian, vegan and fish options.”

The Constitution reopens mid-February 2024. Sign up for updates and more info here. Look out for the graffiti competition on social media. We’ll be keeping you up to date with every development in this iconic pub.

This is a sponsored post in association with Young’s. If you are a local or London-wide business who would like to speak directly to thousands of readers, please email:

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