It’s not often that I discover a pub so good that I have to hurry back just a couple of days later. Tapping the Admiral might not be close enough to home to call it my local, but I may well end up there more often.
Beyond the bustle and noise of Camden’s many markets, past the annoying gaggles of tourists and frustratingly slow walkers, the roads quieten and you find yourself wandering streets lined with the full quality spectrum of council housebuilding. To your left, a glorious brick mansion block with the elegance of a 20th century cruise liner; to your right, a 60s block of flats with the elegance of a three-legged elephant; ahead, in the shadow of a viaduct arch, our destination.
Inside, Tapping the Admiral is a cacophony of naval memorabilia. There’s portraits of famous sailors, advertisements for guano shipping services, navigation instruments lining the walls and bar. Most importantly, there is a poster for the Oscar-nominated movie The Last Detail, starring Jack Nicholson as one of The Village People.
Under Jack’s watchful gaze, I order my first round. A pint for me, and a half for drinking companion Briony from the six or so on tap. The bill is a pleasant surprise, for once. The discount for CAMRA members certainly doesn’t hurt here.
As we return to our seats for our second round, a flash of movement crosses Briony’s vision. We notice the pub’s cat, Nelson, perched atop a bar stool near a toasty radiator. For the next twenty minutes, we warn pub patrons not to move the stool for fear of disturbing the sleepy kitten.
As mentioned, this first visit to the Admiral was not my last. For not only did Nelson the cat (of course the cat was called Nelson) occupy a whole bar stool to himself, he also told us of the poker game held there every Monday evening. A few days later, with cash withdrawn, I was at the Admiral once more.
Four of the six beers on tap have changed, albeit showcasing beers with similar themes. There’s a consistent balance of beers here, if not consistency of brewers or names. It’s perfect, in a way. There’s something there for stout stalwarts or amber afficionados, but enough variety to keep everyone coming back.
Whether I’ll return to let the gang of older French ladies take all my cash at the poker table again remains to be seen.
Not close enough to be my local, but I’m considering moving. 5/5