Thirty Something London

Bar Review – Public House, Islington N1

A New Place?

“Meet me at the Public House, Islington, N1, off Upper Street at 8.30pm” read the text from a friend.

“A new place?” I think to myself. “This is a new place that I’ve never been to and you want to meet there for a quick drink? Why couldn’t we just go our regular place? The place where everybody knows my name. Why somewhere new? A place called the “Public House”? It sounds like a stereotypical dive pub with a sticky carpet and fruit machines.” Needless to say I’m hardly over the moon with this choice that has been thrust upon me.

I realise I’m running early, but this gives me a chance to acclimatize to the new surroundings.I’m pleasantly surprised as I walk through the door of this mythical new bar. The perfect mix of effortlessly cool antique furniture, mood lighting and funky music instantly make me wonder why I’ve never been here before. I feel instantly at home.

Photo courtesy of @Public_HouseN1

Photo courtesy of @Public_HouseN1 on Twitter

I take a seat at one of the tables as I wait for my friend (now running late) only to be told incredibly politely that the table I have now taken over is reserved. The super courteous barman tells me I can wait there until the rightful owner of the table arrives. “What a nice barman” I think to myself. I look around and start to people watch. The majority of the crowd is made up of attractive women. Another reason why I can’t believe I hadn’t been here before. My friend finally arrives and sits down at my temporary table. I hassle our lovely barman for a cocktail menu. I don’t normally do cocktails, but it seems as though that’s what everybody’s drinking, plus my friend seems pretty hell-bent on having one as well. I scroll down the page and finally order an “ankle breaker” which was the only dark rum based cocktail I could see. The barman comes back with an enormous steel cocktail shaker filled with shaved ice and a straw sticking out the top. I just hoped there was some alcohol swimming around in there somewhere as he plonked it down on the table.

“It really is a great cocktail”, I say to my friend. “Not sure about the ankle breaker part though”. My friend takes a sip and nods in agreement whilst making a sound that can only mean some sort of pleasure. We are then told to move as the rightful owners of the table have just turned up. As we get up another table becomes free. Table karma – there’s no other way you can explain it.
We order another round of different cocktails this time, one infused with Campari another with maple syrup. They start to go down a treat when i finally get up to go to the toilet. I walk to the back of the bar and realise there’s a restaurant area at the back that is absolutely heaving with full tables and laughter from content eaters. Whilst passing through on my way back from the facilities I make a note that I must eat dinner here next time. I sit down, we finish our cocktails and ask for the bill. Most cocktails are around the £8 mark, so it came to my surprise when the “Ankle Breaker” ended up being a hefty £14. I easily could have bought a bottle of rum for that, but the overall service and great atmosphere was worth the extra money. I’ll definitely be coming back again.

Atmosphere 5
Staff 5
Value 4
Style 4
Originality 5
Overall rating: 92%



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