It’s been a fun two years, Finsbury Park. But after spending any serious length of time in one place, I start getting restless. Face it. We both need to move on.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with you, Finny P. We’ve had a lot of fun times together, what with me living in you all this time. You remember the first time I showed up to look round what would eventually be my home, and I wasn’t freaked out that it had a creepy sex basement? Or when I used to catch a train to visit the pub because I was too nervous to try out the venues just outside the station? How things have changed.
How could I ever have missed the Blackstock? It sits right on the corner of Blackstock Road, overlooking me as I begin my trudge back from Lidl laden with bags full of underripe bananas and tinned tuna. Perhaps it’s not the most inviting of venues – the grey/black colour scheme works well for prison guard uniforms, less well for pubs – but after a few trips past I popped in to give it a try.
The Blackstock suffers from what I like to call the Cocktail Party Problem. The bar has music playing – Queen’s Greatest Hits, in this particular instance. People in the bar struggle to hear each other over the music, so they talk louder. But that means whoever’s in charge of the sound system can’t hear the music, so they turn up the volume. Long story short, my my eardrums were shattered by Fat-Bottomed Girls (and not in the fun way).
My eardrums safely perforated, I was now free to enjoy my beer in peace. There’s not a lot of variety on offer – the standard duo of London Pride and Doom Bar on this visit – but the Pride was served well and wasn’t mind-blowingly expensive. Sitting on an old leather armchair in the back corner, the experience was almost pleasant. 3/5
The World’s End
If nothing else, this pub is better than the last film in the Cornetto Trilogy.
Back when I first moved to Finsbury Park, The World’s End was the first pub I came across that served good ale. It still does, fortunately, though not as many as it once did – they’re down to two ales on tap most days, with only occasional offerings on the other two taps on the side bar. Still, they mix a mean Bloody Mary, perfect for when you’ve not yet hit your five fruit and veg that day.
The World’s End has a warm, bustling atmosphere and the staff are friendly, at least when they’re not rushed off their feet. The food is good too, if you like gigantic, dirty burgers with massive portions of chips. But the real star of the show is in the back room, hiding above the stage and the mismatched old classroom chairs scattered about the room.
The ceiling may now be painted silver, but it’s still lovely. Add a band playing on the stage (there’s live acts most weekends) and you’ve got yourself a decent night out. 4/5
The Twelve Pins, The Auld Triangle, The King’s Head
My experience in each of these pubs can be summed up with the same exchange I had in each one:
“Hi! What ales do you have on?”
*the whistling pop as I disappear from existence, never to be seen in that establishment again*
The Faltering Fullback
I’ve gushed enough about the Fullback already, so I’ll keep this brief. The Faltering Fullback is a wonderful pub. Not just because they change their beers regularly and serve them well; not just because they have a multi-tier, labyrinthine terrace; not even because they let you order in pizza when the Thai kitchen downstairs isn’t open. It’s because all these things work so seamlessly together to create a wonderfully unique experience. I’ll be making the trip back to drink here again.
All in all? If you’re in the area anyway, there’s a couple of decent places around Finsbury Park to go for a pint. But with the exception of the Fullback, I wouldn’t recommend making a trip here specially – even though the World’s End is nice, it’s best used as a place to grab a swift half before walking the extra two and a half minutes to that lovely terrace garden.
Thank you, Finsbury Park. Even if your pubs were mostly disappointing and ale-free, it’s still been fun living in you.