East Finchley

East Finchley first opened on the Northern Line on 3rd July 1939.  Mainline rail services originally started here in 1867, operated by the Great Northern Railway. It found itself transferred to London Underground and the Northern Line as part of the ultimately abortive ‘Northern Heights’ plan, which I briefly touched on when visiting Finsbury Park.

It was rebuilt to mark the arrival of the Northern Line by Charles Holden,  the tall station building is another fine example of art-deco design, while at the same time being distinctive from his other stations of the same period.  I particularly liked the Underground roundel at the centre of the three long windows in the ticket office. This looks impressive when the interior of the hall is illuminated!  There is also an ‘Archer’ statue, by Eric Aumonier on the station roof – sadly I couldn’t catch it in my photos but here it is in all its glory!

Pub: The Bald Faced Stag, 69 High Road, N2 8AB

This was my first trip to Finchley – the area around the station is very nice and the buildings reminded me a little of Hampstead. The pub is a couple of minutes up the road, simply head out of the station onto the High Street and head up the hill and you’ll see it.

Inside its a very smart gastropub with very clean, white walls. There are comfy, red-leather backed seats in a mixture of low and high tables.  As well as the main area around the bar, there is a slightly more cosy room towards the back of the pub called the ‘Thomas Grub’ room where there is board games. As you might expect from the name, there are some antlers on the wall! There is also a pleasant dining room at the back of The Stag in a conservatory type building. It also has a sizeable garden with a large tree at the centre of it, illuminating the garden with lights hanging from it.

On the beer front, there were solid ales available on tap including TEA from Hogs Back,  Old Dairy IPA and St. Austell’s Proper Job. The food menu is divided between a pub menu including burgers and fish and chips,  and the ‘Restaurant and Vinery’ menu with more restaurant type dishes such as Wild Duck. I went for the burger and it was excellent, very filling and fully justifying a £12.50 price tag!  They also have an open kitchen, if you like that kind of thing.

It was fairly busy on the Wednesday evening we visited and the pub was showing highlights from an earlier Rugby World Cup game. A pub quiz was also about to start as we were leaving, indeed a woman in the pub seemed slightly affronted when I said we weren’t doing it – I’m not even sure she was the quizmaster so I admired the dedication to the cause!

The Bald Faced Stag is a top pub. Another example of how to do a gastropub well. Its certainly worth staying on the Northern Line for a few stops after Camden to pop up here.

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