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The best pubs in Islington

With the sheer number of pubs in Islington, we’d imagine at least a few pints are poured every minute in this ale-glugging nook of north London. Come the weekend, whichever corner you turn on Islington’s bustling streets, you can practically guarantee you’ll find a long-standing traditional English pub pouring pints like their lives depend on it. Combine this with the hearty pub grub leaving Islington’s pub kitchens and suddenly it’s tricky to choose where to pull up a stool.

That’s why we’ve brought you a handy list of the best pubs in Islington, led by either their gastro menus, spacious beer gardens and exceptional Sunday roasts, and some a combination of all three – now that’s a trio we like the sound of.

Islington pubs with a beer garden

Earl of Essex

Take one look at the Earl of Essex from the outside and you know you’re about to step into a traditional British pub that knows a thing or two about pulling pints. Adorned with classic burgundy tiling and pretty flower beds, the Earl of Essex welcomes visitors to sip a local or international beer at a cosy wooden table indoors, or in the sun-trap beer garden (weather permitting, of course).

Casked, kegged or bottled, the range of beers and ciders to choose from is impressive, making an afternoon spent in the spacious, jungle-esque beer garden here one truly well spent. Order yourself a fish and chips or a bowl of brisket fries and you’re onto a winning afternoon.

The Earl of Essex also serves roasts on a Sunday, with beef pork and lamb, or nut and quinoa roasts to suit Islington’s vegan and vegetarian restaurant loving population. There’s no surprises that you’ll find this pub with its seats full on most days, so you’ll want to get in early doors to get yourself a good table out in the sun.

Average price of a pint: £5

Canonbury Tavern

This 19th century pub is a hub of social activity for beer and food lovers alike. This impressive space is not only a haven for a good pint, it’s also a popular spot for events including weddings and large parties.

As you can imagine, the atmosphere at the Canonbury is vibrant, fun and full of life – stretching all the way out to its stunning beer garden overlooked by trees older than the pub itself. The food menu here is quintessentially British, celebrating everything that’s great about delicious pub grub.

Start off with a duck Scotch egg with caramelised onion, followed by a hearty chicken and ham pie with sauteed kale and you’ll have had a lunch very well spent. If you have room for dessert, the sticky toffee pudding with caramel ice cream is always a winner. Drinks-wise, you can expect to enjoy an array of real ales, craft beers and seasonal cocktails.

Average price of a pint: £5-6

Gastropubs in Islington

The Drapers Arms

The Drapers Arms take just as much pride in their food as they do their barrels, making this an Islington gastropub worth visiting if you’re a hungry passerby. With humble interiors and even a spacious beer garden, there are plenty of seats to get settled into for your first pint of one of the Drapers carefully selected ales or lagers.

From the food menu, guests can look forward to classics such as baked camembert with pickles and toast to start, followed by the generous cheeseburger which proves to be a favourite with regulars for good reason.

Desserts include a cheese board with a range of Neal’s Yard cheeses, or an oozy chocolate fondant with clotted cream and honeycomb. This is gastropub food at its best, and Islington’s locals know it too.

Average price of a pint: £6

The Charles Lamb

This unassuming, friendly pub is what Britain’s gastropub scene is all about. The Charles Lamb is a freehouse named after a Georgian writer who lived around the corner from the pub’s location in a cosy corner of Angel. Offering a wide variety of ales, beers and ciders plus an extensive wine list to boot, The Charles Lamb is well and truly a typical ‘local’ that’s loved for all the right reasons.

Pick from one of the many board games stacked on the shelves and play a game while your food is prepared. The menu here is simple yet delicious, including dishes such as sausage and mash, chilli con carne and hunters chicken.

They’re also renowned for their generous burgers too which guests can customise with a broad choice of toppings and sides. Sunday roasts are also available between 12 and 5pm, including traditional roast beef and lamb shank served with all the trimmings.

Average price of a pint: £5

The best Sunday roasts in Islington

The Pig & Butcher

Placing strong emphasis on locally sourced ingredients to form its ever-changing menu that’s updated daily, The Pig & Butcher bring the best of British farms in the Lake District and the Scottish highlands, plus seafood caught on the Cornish coast to its diners.

The menu here is a celebration of British meats and there’s no better way to enjoy it than with The Pig & Butcher’s Sunday roast. Choose from braised Lyons Farm beef and bone marrow or Tamworth pork shoulder with Bramley apple sauce served with giant, fluffy Yorkshire puddings, beef dripping roast potatoes and fresh vegetables.

These are proper Sunday roasts meant to induce an afternoon nap once you’ve ambled home after close. And that’s without mentioning this pub’s fantastic choice of London-sourced pale ales and Belgian beers.

Average price of a pint: £5-6

The Old Queen’s Head

The Old Queen’s Head is a local pub with a difference. By day, guests can expect to enjoy delicious meals served generously, including Lucky Chip burgers, along with a fruity mix of cocktails such as a strawberry and basil bramble or a lychee martini.

When Sunday comes around, The Old Queen’s Head serves a mean roast from its kitchen, with options of roast corn-fed chicken, leg of lamb or 32 day aged beef with marrow gravy all served with honey glazed carrots and parsnips.

This Islington pub’s sunday roast menu must certainly come as a much-needed treat, as by night this pub turns into a wild dancefloor playing RnB and HipHop favourites for Islington’s party-loving locals to let their hair down to. There’s also two karaoke rooms here which can be booked if you prefer the sound of your own music.

Like the sound of The Old Queen’s Head’s cocktail menu? Take a look at our pick of the best cocktail and wine bars in Islington for more inspiration.

Average price of a drink: £9.50

Need a coffee to perk you up the next day? Our choice of the best brunch in Islington will point you in the right direction.

Keen to learn more about what Islington has to offer? Why not get in touch with one of our Islington estate agents to talk about the local area and its available properties.

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