Kings Head Theatre Pub, Islington

24 March 2008

115 Upper Street, London N1 1QN

Oh my word. Theatre pubs are usually quirky, full of thespians, luvvies, you know the kind of thing. You walk in and the smell of the greasepaint hits you. In the Kings Head, the smell of the dirty floor hits you. And if you’re not careful, the barmaid might hit you. This is a really bad pub.

Good pubs pour nearly a pint of Guinness and let it stand for two minutes, after which they top it up. Bad pubs pour your pint in one hit. Really bad pubs, and this is a really bad pub, pour your pint in three hits. It takes forever and it tastes like it has been sitting in the barrel forever. The price of two pints? “Six pounds and eighteen shillings, please”. No really, I’m not making this up, she actually said that. The till she used was one of the old ones that you see on show in very poncy places, with buttons you have to push really hard down on and the price popping up like a little flag above the buttons. The difference is that in most places with such tills, they are there for effect and have an EPOS system sitting behind them. In the Kings Head, they would think EPOS was some kind of disease (which frankly, you could probably catch in their toilets).

Oh God, the toilets. Last cleaned when shillings were legal tender in the UK, they epitomised this delight of a pub. Was I taking part in some Pinteresque take on the paucity of the pub trade in the UK? Nah, it was just some shitty pub. Avoid.

2 Responses to “Kings Head Theatre Pub, Islington”

  1. J Says:

    Dear Caroline. I think that if one writes the review, the author of the review should take more than just two (and negative) aspects in mind and write a balanced piece that would reflect the reality – not only the subjective opinions of the writer. I, personally spoke to quite a high number of The King’s Head Pub visitors and they were fully satisfied, willing to travel miles to come back some other day. They have also noses to smell the old pub floor but they were also capable to enjoy the great live music entertainment, the cosmopolitan audience as well as the service with spirit and “the human touch”. The usage of pre-decimal currency is for example very popular attraction for hundreds of visitors of the premises… To conclude – the bar was not the greatest I ever had a drink in but it has a huge amount of the spirit and friendly atmosphere that you never mentioned. If one opens their mind, learn how to chill out, it often allows him or her to enjoy many more things and moments. Not everybody sees things he way you do…

  2. arsenehollis Says:

    I was in the pub on my last visit to london, what a souless place.
    I used to enjoy it for its outdated quirks, shitty shitters, and gruff service – its a pub, so booze the rest is periphary.
    Now all that is gone, including the classic till and live music. The punters are drab islington chumps, all very depressing.
    Caroline you sound like you have sand in your vagina, oddly in this case that is the appropriate response, although for none of the reasons you labour in such humourless fashion.
    Lastly, anyone who moans about there guiness south of liverpool is generally a boring twerp who if they knew what truely good guiness was would complain everywhere. This review tells us more about you than the pub, but it is a shit venue, although i imagine you fit in well.

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