Finchley Road Station opened on the same day as West Hampstead, 30th June 1879, on the Metropolitan Railway. It joined the Bakerloo Line in November 1939 when new tunnels were added to that line to deal with congestion on the Met. These services then became part of the Jubilee Line when it launched in 1979. The station building itself dates from 1914, and is incorporated into a small parade of shops. Finchley Road Station offers you the chance to interchange between the (stopping) Jubilee Line services and the (fast…well quite fast!) Metropolitan Line services.
Arriving at the station, you immediately see the back end of the large O2 centre. Leaving the station takes you straight onto the busy Finchley Road. It seems to be on some of the main bus routes into airports like Luton and Stansted, so you see plenty of gaudily decorated coaches going past, bringing back memories to all of us of heading off for budget flights at the crack of dawn…
The Pub: ‘Wetherspoons’, First Floor, O2 Centre, 255 Finchley Road, NW3 6LU
Unfortunately because of its thoroughfare status, there aren’t really any pubs round there. This led me to a first on this journey, a trip to a Wetherspoons! I think I’ve done well, being as I’m 43 stations in now! It’s inside the O2 centre, which is basically a small mall with a cinema and restaurants on the first floor. It also has one of the few remaining Habitat’s in the country, if you fancy getting an interesting lighting display.
The pub itself is simply called ‘the Wetherspoon’. It’s quite spacious as these places often are. It has big glass windows looking over Finchley Road itself, giving good views of all the passing traffic. Opinion is divided on Wetherspoons, some people see it as a good place to get a cheap drink that also does a good selection of ales, others as soulless places with microwaved food – see the rather cutting Will Self review…
In truth, as ‘spoons go, this is fairly standard. We went for the Beer and Burger option and the food was alright. They are obviously trying to go upmarket as it arrived on a block of wood. This ‘spoons seemed to have a music licence(most don’t) but the music was quite Vodka Revolution, which didn’t really match with the subdued mood of most people here.
I may be wrong but I don’t think there is anywhere else to drink round here so if you’ve got time to kill before your film, it’s your only option. That said, it’s far from the worst place I’ve been for a drink before.