Gone are the days when Camden was the terrifying wasteland portrayed at the beginning of "Withnail and I". A combination of the sprawling market, whopping property prices and the persistent myth that Camden somehow has a happening music scene have transformed the area into a world temple for people who think they are groovily cutting edge, but who instead perpetually miss the last train to Hip Central. Kept alive by the crazed junkies, drugs dealers and prostitutes who prey off the tourists.
The Cobden Arms, 28-30 Camden High St, Camden, NW1 0JH
Staggeringly insubstantial. A television resembling Darth Vaders escape capsule (shiny, black) is perched above the toilets as an object of worship. Rod Stewart songs that sound like Tina Turner
Reviewed by Fred Flange, Dec 2001
Telephone: 020 7209 2472
The Crescent, 1 Camden High St, NW1 7JE
Right down at the bottom of Camden's colon lurks the Crescent, an unremarkable pub with a spectacularly sulky barmaid. It's tried to be all posh, with a combination of exposed brickwork and wooden surfaces, but the student/workie/tourist clientele give away its slightly downmarket but rather cheerful reality. Cheap, straightforward food complements the standard range of drinks, and the only annoyance was the plasma screens showing stunt German dirtbike heroes of 2005, which seemed to be somewhat missing the place's core audience.
Reviewed by Fred Flange, July 2007
Telephone: 020 7387 2749
Edinboro Castle, 57 Mornington Crescent, NW1 7RU
A lot of pubs that have gone gastro can get it badly wrong by neglecting the all important drink. The establishment is an exception. The delicious food is complemented by an interesting and varied selection of booze. There are carefully chosen wines, an excellent range of imported beers (with a few from the UK as well), and a choice of spirits that would be more at home in the cocktail bar of a top London hotel. Why have a plain gin and tonic when there is Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Plymouth or Sloe Gin to choose from? This is no surprise given the pub's location on the fringes of Primrose Hill and in the effort to please the local clientele some of the original character of the place has had to be sacrificed. Although some features of the original Victorian pub remain, much has changed. Floral paint effects abound and lights resembling objets d'arte dangle from the ceiling. If all this gets too much there is a superb beer garden outside.
Reviewed by Paul Melton, Jun 2005
Telephone: 020 7255 9651
The Elephant's Head, 224 Camden High Street, NW1 8QR
Telephone: 020 7485 3130
The Hawley Arms, 2 Castlehaven Rd, NW1 8QU
Used to be home to Amy Winehouse, various other celebs, hangers on and wannabees. Damaged in the Camden fire and now being renovated.
Reviewed by Doogal Bell, Mar 2008
Telephone: 020 7428 5979
The Hope and Anchor, 74 Crowndale Road, Camden, NW1 1TP
As we begin this review Nasser Hussein is wiping his bollocks with a cricket ball; this is highly unnecessary viewing, a large screen displaying Sky News looms unnecessarily over the pub, at the back tall blokes loom in a rude fashion over everything. Random music tends to blight the atmosphere of what is a fairly liveley pub, that is at least less poncy than most of its Camden counterparts
Reviewed by Fred Flange, Dec 2001
Telephone: 020 7387 9506
Quinn's, 65 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8NY
Nauseating exterior paintwork aside, this is a damn fine pub. A mind boggling range of Belgian and German beers is served by a friendly all knowing barman. The Rauchbier made from smoked malt is particularly interesting. The two plasma screens situated at high level for optimum viewing were muted allowing the conversation to bubble along nicely. Jazz flows soothingly from the speakers. The food, served all day in a bid to soak up the strong alcohol, is decent traditional fayre and will satisfy most needs. Recommended.
Reviewed by Paul Melton, May 2006
Telephone: 020 7267 8240
The Spread Eagle, 141 Albert St, NW1 7NB
Shortly before the Youngs brewery performed its Vulcan mind meld with Charles Wells, it had the bright idea of transforming many of its pubs in trendy areas from traditional-looking boozers to sub-Slug wooden hangouts for the hip and groovy things. In the case of the Spread Eagle, the process looks like it was started, and then stopped again, leaving a funny kind of pub-bar hybrid that might be interesting if it didnít also come across as so half-arsed. The semi-conservatory area is still a nice enough place to while away the hours in, watching the flotsam of Camdenís daily life groan and gurn outside, and some of the old-timers still prop up the bar, staring at the racing on the TV day in and day out, maintaining some sort of continuity with times gone past. Itís far enough away from the shiny baubles of the market to not attract too many of the Camden fashionistas, who anyway tend to sit on the benches outside smoking with all the gusto of a Beijing factory, and can be an enjoyable stopover on the way to somewhere else, but like so much else in the sorrowful recent history of Youngs, it really should have been so much better. What once was great, and could again have been, has instead become Just Another London Pub.
Reviewed by Fred Flange, July 2008
Telephone: 020 7267 1410
The Victoria, 2 Mornington Terrace, NW1 7RR
Really, really nice relaxed pub.
Reviewed by Fred Flange, Nov 2008
Telephone: 020 7387 3804
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