London’s Best Beer, Pubs and Bars updates
North London: Highgate and Archway
Brewpub, gastropub, specialist (Independent)
13 North Hill N6 4BX
T (020) 8341 0510 W thebullhighgate.co.uk f The-Bull-Highgate tw Bull_Highgate
Open 1200-2330 (2400 Fri-Sat, 2300 Sun). Children welcome until 2030.
Cask beers 6 (London Brewing), Other beers 7 keg, 50 bottles, Also 2 real ciders/perries, 35 wines.
Food Gastro menu, sandwiches, bar snacks, Outdoor Front terrace, Wifi. Disabled toilet.
Mon fortnightly beer school, food and drink events and promotions, seasonal events, functions.
The Bull is another example of a neglected and derelict London pub regenerated with great beer at its heart. Though clearly built as a pub beside what was once the Great North Road, it housed five different restaurants over 15 years then spent almost two years closed and squatted before reopening in its present form in August 2011 under the stewardship of Dan Fox. Dan has good form, having managed one of the capital’s most famous beer venues, the White Horse (p225). The Bull has the advantage of being a completely free house — not to mention equipped with its own microbrewery, its attractive wood-clad vessels just visible in one side of the kitchen if you look through the gap at the end of the bar.
Like the White Horse, and as you’d expect given its location a short walk from Highgate village, the pub is a well appointed, rather upmarket place with a food offer that’s better than ordinary too. The interior is decked out in tasteful maroon and cream, with open fires and solid wood furniture, signalling its beery focus with advertising enamels on the walls and hops draped from the ceiling. The moderately sized space downstairs is duplicated upstairs with two other very attractive rooms that can also be booked for functions — shades again of the White Horse. Food ranges from sandwiches and bar snacks like fish tacos, tempura vegetables and well reputed chicken wings to imaginative, but slightly pricey, main dishes like venison loin with potato gratin, pineapple and jalapeño pulled pork and pappardelle with dried tomato and courgette.
Each dish has a beer matching suggestion drawn from an impressive range. This starts with the house cask beers, which have rapidly become best sellers under the London Brewing brand. Six are normally available, including the distinctive Beer Street Best Bitter, Galena Red, a golden ale, specials and seasonals. The likes of Veltins, Blue Moon and Brooklyn are on keg, with guests kegs coming from US brewers like Sierra Nevada (including seasonals) and Flying Dog or British ones like Camden Town. A fine range of packaged beers also heavily features Americans — Anchor, Goose Island, Green Flash, Odell, Port/Lost Abbey and Southern Tier, with Caldera and Maui in cans — plus a few reliable Belgian and German stalwarts. A collection of large bottles invites sharing with a meal, and includes some rare stuff from excellent Somerset brewer Moor.
There are numerous beer-themed events including a popular Monday night tasting under the name “Beer School.” Some other London venues may have more extensive lists of rare beers, but the Bull does a great job of showcasing fine beer as a quality, artisanal product, while also featuring it as a perfect match for great food in a civilised environment. One bull to take by the horns.
Underground Highgate Bus Hillcrest Estate (143 Archway, East Finchley) Cycling LCN+ 6A, 80 Walking Link to Capital Ring