In this fourth look at pubs which can be easily reached on The Overground, we travel to Canonbury, the penultimate stop on the line. From Sydenham station, you can be whisked there in air-conditioned comfort in only 35 minutes. For many (myself included) it’s an obscure area of London but it is full of attractive Victorian streets, impressive old houses and, of course, some fascinating old pubs.
However, if you are someone who likes to visit pubs at lunchtimes or in the afternoons, you should beware.The residents of Canonbury must be an odd lot because, during weekdays, the majority of the pubs do not open until 4pm or later. My visit extended from 1pm to 6pm so I was fortunately able to sample both the early and late openers. I give opening times below for all the pubs whose weekday opening times are later than 12pm.
Emerging from the station, look slightly to your left and across the road you will see The Snooty Fox (75 Grosvenor Avenue N5 2NN; weekday opening 4pm). This fine Victorian purpose-built pub has a grand curving frontage although the interior has all been modernised. A range of real ales is on offer as is some quality music on the juke box.
A few minutes walk northeast from here is The Edinburgh Cellars (125 Newington Green Road N1 4RA; weekday opening 4pm), and it’s well worth a visit. If you enjoy the vestiges of grand Victorian pub interiors, you will enjoy the
mosaic tiles announcing “Billiards & Saloon Bar”, a good patterned ceiling and also what is probably the largest skylight I have ever seen in a pub. What a shame about the ghastly turquoise “pub nouveau” decoration. Several real ales are offered and there’s some good food in here too.
Less than 10 minutes walk south of the station is the excellent Lord Clyde (340-342 Essex Road N1 3PB) which has the decency to open at a sensible hour. Of circa 1940s vintage, this pub treasures its heritage and still boasts some old
Charrington’s brewery signage behind the bar and some fine coloured, leaded windows. The beer from the Berkshire’s Loddon brewery was excellent, and a food menu is available.
If you prefer your pubs to be more traditional and less gastro, then two choices are The Weavers Arms (98 Newington Green Rd N1 4RG) and The Perseverance (194 Southgate Road N1 3HT). But they will leave lovers of real ale
and historical pub interiors disappointed.
The Canonbury (21 Canonbury Place) takes the wretched gastropub trend to an extreme: the bright décor and cocktail-bar furniture would make any self-respecting pub-goer feel quite bewildered and wondering where it had all gone wrong. No doubt the food is good, but at £4.10 for a pint of Fuller’s London Pride, who would blame the pub-goer if he headed straight for the exit? In fact, I sat in their large garden and pined for a proper old boozer.
Neil Pettigrew, Pub Preservation Officer
South East London CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale)