Archway

Archway brings to a close my Northern Line adventures for now. It first opened on 22nd June 1907 as Highgate, the terminus of the branch of the same name on the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway.  When the Northern Line was extended up to East Finchley and via a new stop also called Highgate, it was renamed Highgate(Archway) in 1939 then Archway(Highgate) in 1941 before gaining its present name in 1947.

The station building itself is sadly rather drab having been rebuilt in the 1970s. It’s now based under a bleak tower block dating from the same era. It had been rebuilt once before in the 1930s,when the original Leslie Green structure was replaced by a Charles Holden construction when escalators were installed at the station.

The Pub: St. Johns Tavern, 91 Junction Road, N19 5QU

St Johns Tavern is based a few minutes down the road from Archway station, on Junction Road. The pub is based in a typical Victorian townhouse esque building.

Inside, I got a distinctly European vibe to the place. The main area around the bar is decorated in a rather minimalist way with white/cream coloured walls, with little or no decoration on them. It’s also uncluttered with the wooden tables and chairs arranged in such a way the whole place place feels spacious. We propped up the bar during our time here. The dark coloured Venetian blinds add further to the continental feel of the place.

There was a decent selection of ales on offer when we visited here including Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Wandle. In keeping with some of the other North London pubs I’ve visited recently, St Johns food menu – displayed on a chalk board – is aimed towards the higher end gastro range with dishes such as ox liver and rare breed sausages. They’ve even added a refined twist to classic pub snacks, with posh pork scratchings and scotch eggs available as bar snacks. Someone near us got the scratchings and they looked pretty impressive!

Shortly before we left, I stumbled on the pub’s dining room to the rear of the bar. With its chandeliers and vibrant green walls decorated with a whole host of paintings and portraits, it serves as a real contrast to the stripped back vibe of the main bar.

Summing up, St. Johns Tavern is another fine Northern London boozer. There is something slightly classy and refined about the place, but at the same time they have a good range of ales and serve pork scratchings. What’s not to like?

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Tufnell Park

Tufnell Park marked the penultimate stop on my initial run of Northern Line stations. It first opened on 22nd June 1907 on the Highgate branch of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway.

Like others on the line, the station building was designed by Leslie Green and survives to this day in excellent condition, both externally and within the ticket hall area.

The Pub: The Lord Palmerston, 33 Dartmouth Park Hill, NW5 1HU

The Lord Palmerston is around 5minutes from the station, heading up Dartmouth Park Hill.  Heading up a Hill to a pub always makes me feel like I’ve earned a pint!

Inside, it’s a light and airy gastropub, with white-painted walls in the main room surrounding the bar. There was a roaring fire on our visit which certainly helped warm things up. The walls are decorated with a variety of prints, photos and paintings. These include sketches of what I assume are parliamentarians from Lord Palmerston’s day and horses. I’m not sure of the relevance of the latter!

The back area downstairs feels more laid out for those eating here. Like the Pineapple in Kentish Town, the Lord Palmerston has its fair share of chandeliers.  Talking of food, the menu is what I’d call high-end gastro with dishes like pork medallion and slow roasted duck leg both on the menu.There is also a beer garden at the front of the pub.  It was empty on our visit on account of the rainstorm going on at the time!  In addition, the pub also has an upstairs room available for private hire.

There were four solid ales on tap when we visited – Doombar, Youngs Best, Wandle and Trumans Runner. A number of Belgian bottled beers were also available, including strong offerings like Duvel. Have a few of those and you might fly down the hill!

The Lord Palmerston also has a weekly quiz as well as jazz nights too. It’s another solid North London pub and well worth a visit.

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Kentish Town

Kentish Town station first opened on the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway  on 22nd June 1907. The rail station here had been open since 1868, served by the Midland Railway. The tube station is another well preserved Leslie Green building, complete with trademark oxblood red tiles.

The two stations are linked via a sadly uncovered footbridge as I discovered to my cost on the rainy day we came here.  On a cheerier note, the tube ticket hall was decorated with a number of plants as I came through it, as you’ll see from the gallery.  I don’t know if this is a regular feature or if they had just been shifted in here from a nearby market stall to get them out of the heavy rain!

The Pub: The Pineapple, 51 Leverton Street, NW5 2NX

To reach The Pineapple, leave the station and head onto Leighton Road.  Turn up onto Leverton Street, where the pub nestles half way up a residential road of North London townhouses.

The Pineapple has a fairly traditional interior –  the old wooden bar being a prime example of this with its decorative cut-glass. There are also a number of old mirrors on the wall advertising Bass Pale Ale. The red ceilings give it a really cosy feel, as do the comfy leather backed seats.  The pub is divided into a series of rooms, all of which were suitably busy on our visit.  The lighting in some of them, in the shape of chandeliers, is very impressive.

On the beer front, it had a decent selection of ales with Trinity’s Redemption, Doombar and the local sounded N7 all on tap. Food-wise, The Pineapple is known for its comprehensive Thai-menu and plenty of the punters around us were tucking in.  The clientele here on our a visit was a mix of students/young professionals and those you feel have been coming here for years!

If things had been different, I may not have been able to visit The Pineapple at all.  In 2001, developers were angling to convert the whole building into housing.  Thankfully, a high profile campaign, including celebrities such as the late Roger Lloyd Pack and then London Mayor Ken Livingstone, saw the pub’s impressive interior Grade II listed and the threat was seen off.

The Pineapple is a cracking pub and definitely one of the best I’ve visited for the blog. My only regret is I should have come here years ago. It’s well worth coming to Kentish Town to visit this fine establishment!

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Golders Green

Golders Green first opened on 22nd June 1907 as the terminus of the Hampstead branch of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway. It remained the end of the line until November 1923 when the extension to Hendon Central opened.

It’s the first station I’ve encountered so far on the Northern Line above ground. The traditional platform canopies look very similar to those I saw at earlier stops like Westbourne Park and could well date back to when it first opened. The walkways through to the ticket-hall have tiling in keeping with the style seen on other Northern Line platforms.

Golders Green is also served by a National Express Coach Stop outside the tube station, used by both TfL services and coaches heading to Stansted Airport or southbound to Victoria.

The Pub: The Refectory, 911 Finchley Road, NW11 7PE

When you get off the tube at Golders Green, there are no pubs or bars that immediately catch your eye. Indeed it all looked a bit barren on the Tuesday evening we stopped by. The Refectory is very close to the station,  down Finchley Road just before you come to the railway bridge.

It feels a bit like a pre-club venue here with TVs showing music channels and offers on shots like Jagermeister. There are no ales available here but there are decent lagers in the shape of Peroni and the Czech Beer Krusovice. It serves food with a menu made up of standard pub dishes as well as baguettes and jacket potatoes. It also has a Sky Sports Licence, which seems slightly less obvious for a place like this!

The garden/patio area here is quite funky with an array of colourful lights illuminating the plants as well as some water features too.   In short, The Refectory was perfectly fine to have a quick pint in. However I don’t think there is too much here that warrants making the trip up here to visit it.

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Hampstead

As far as tube stations go, they don’t get more Underground than Hampstead. The platforms are located 192 feet below ground level, the deepest on the entire network. It probably comes as no surprise the station is served by lifts, rather than escalators. The staircase has 320 steps – that’s more than the Monument! I’ve never attempted this and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone try it either.

The station first opened on 22nd June 1907 on the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway. The station was originally to be called Heath Street – this name remains on the tiling of the southbound platform. The heritage features of the station are well preserved with the green ticket booths still in situ inside and the Leslie Green station frontage in fine condition.

The Pub: The Holly Bush, 22 Hollymount, NW3 6SG

The Hollybush is slightly hidden away from the main stretch in Hampstead  – if you head North up Heath Street until you reach the Holly Mount steps on the left side of the road(the one without shops on). Take these up to a narrow and quintessentially Hampstead street where you’ll find the Holly Bush.

The pub is over 200 years old and you get a real feeling for the history of the place in the wood panelled front room with its impressive etched glass windows. The lighting, coming in the form of suitably traditional lamps,  adds to this. The Holly Bush is divided into a series of rooms with names like the Lady Hamilton and Romney, named after the painter George Romney whose house once stood in that spot! I rather liked the comfy red-coloured leather backed seating which felt strangely reminiscent of the House of Lords for some reason. Then again, I’m sure plenty of Lords live round here!  Maps of old Hampstead adorn the walls.

It’s a Fullers pub so their standard range of ales were on offer – Pride, ESB, Seafarers and the like.  The pub’s back room is primarily for those eating here – the menu is made up for hearty traditional English dishes like beef pie and rump of lamp. They have a different menu for lunch and dinner. If you do pop in during the day,  I thoroughly recommend their sausage roll. It’s very filling and the perfect snack for a cold day!

The Holly Bush feels like a cosy country pub. Overall, it’s a charming pub and well worth the trip to Hampstead. If this place is ever my local, then I’ll know I’ve made it. A guy can dream…

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Belsize Park

Belsize Park first opened on 22nd June 1907 on the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway. It’s another well preserved Leslie Green station, both within and outside the station building.  The name Belsize actually comes from the French word ‘Bel Assis’ which means perfectly situated.  Being between  the hustle and bustle of Camden and the rural delights of Hampstead Heath,  that still seems very apt today!

Belsize Park is a very well heeled area,something that becomes clear as soon as you leave the station. I was very lucky to live in the area for a year.  It also meets with the approval of the extremely well travelled Michael Palin, who I saw at the station during my time here and who I understand lives locally.

Like Goodge Street, there was also a deep-level air raid shelter constructed under the station during World War Two. The entrance building, which is the same design as the Goodge Street one,  is located a few minutes down Haverstock Hill.

The Pub: The Roebuck,15 Pond Street, NW3 2PN

The Roebuck is about a 5minute walk from the station. Head up Haverstock Hill until you reach the Royal Free Hospital and Pond Street – the pub is a few minutes down this road. It’s based in a very grand building so I’m sure you won’t miss it. It looks particularly striking at night when lit up.

The pub is divided into a number of areas. By the bar, there is a high ceiling and the area is lit by chandeliers. The area slightly further back has a more cozy feel, the roaring fire certainly helped with that on our visit. Finally there is a small, conservatory-esque back room that looks out over the garden.  Talking of the garden, it’s fairly spacious and has a number of covered alcoves for smokers as we head towards the colder, winter months.   There are some impressive panoramic photographs  of the view from Hampstead Heath decorating the walls.

It’s a Youngs pub – always a pleasure to see these North of the River – so you know you’ll get a good pint. In addition to their standard offering of Youngs Special/Best and Bombardier, there was also Swordfish, a Raisin flavoured beer.  Sadly none of us felt adventurous enough to try it mind you.  On the food front,  you can choose from solid traditional fare like Bangers and Mash, Haddock and Chips and of course, Burgers!  The pub also has a Sky/BT Sports Licence, a bonus for all sports fans.

On balance, The Roebuck is a very homely pub. Well worth a visit if you’re in this salubrious part of North London!

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