Islington may have a reputation for being a bit bourgeois, but this London neighbourhood has something for every drinker. From unusual after-work cocktails to a quiet Sunday afternoon pint, Culture Trip’s list of Islington’s bars and pubs has the pick of the best.
The Island Queen
Gastropub, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Situated away from the hustle and bustle of Angel on a quiet residential street, The Island Queen has fast become a neighbourhood institution. Known for its Tuesday quiz night, ‘The Queen’ is a traditional pub with tropical touches, offering a relaxing, homely environment for anyone who steps through its doors.
‘The Bar With No Name’ has long since shed its mysterious reputation, and the tiny space is now packed out every night with punters wanting to sample Tony Conigliaro’s expertly crafted cocktails. Make a booking to avoid disappointment, and enjoy the deliciously Italian interior that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a film noir.
For those looking for a slice of LA in London, Slim Jim’s is a sure bet. It has an authentic dive bar feel that manages to avoid kitsch and specialises in whiskey. Sip on some bourbon, and put a ’50s song on the jukebox. Then enjoy the seedy but sweet atmosphere.
This history-themed watering hole is perfect for those fed up with chains and predictable gastropubs. Set in what was once a brothel, The Four Sisters Bar captures the atmosphere of London from a bygone era and is full of dark, candlelit corners perfect for sipping on the bar’s home-brewed syrupy concoctions. A particular highlight is the Negroni, which can either be poured straight from aged oak barrels or decanted into a takeaway glass bottle.
A unique, opulently decorated bar, Hoxley & Porter takes its inspiration from colonial explorers, and the bar is brimming with ferns, fans and filigree gold leaf. Take a seat at one of its booths, which can be reserved for up to 12 people, and be transported back in time as you sip on fun themed cocktails.
Moments away from Angel tube station, The Winchester is a perfect, cosy spot to head to for casual drinks. On weekends, its resident DJ and small dance floor make it an ideal venue for those who’d rather avoid big nightclubs but still want to dance. Head here on a Sunday for its delicious roast, which will restore you to health in no time.
Enjoy a huge selection of real ales at The Bull without the stained carpet trappings of the traditional old man’s pub. Fairy lights and dark woods create an intimate atmosphere, and punters will feel welcomed by the spacious interior, friendly staff and classic pub grub.
The only pub in Islington directly on Regent’s Canal, The Narrowboat is a charming, modern British pub. Naturally, you’ll want to grab a spot on one of the two balconies overlooking the canal, but you’ll be hard-pushed to get a seat there during the summer. Instead, grab a pint from the bar and join the crowds standing along the edge of the canal.