London’s Best Beer, Pubs and Bars updates
Central London: Islington (Angel)
Contemporary pub, specialist (Barworks)
25 Danbury Street N1 8LE
T 020 7424 5828 w www.earlofessex.net tw theearlofessex1
Open 1200 (1500 Mon-Wed)-2330 (0030 Fri-Sat, 2230 Sun). Children welcome.
Cask beer 5 (Earl’s, changing unusual often local guests), Other beer 13 keg, 30+ bottles, Also Real cider, a few specialist spirits.
Food Interesting good value gastroish menu, Wifi. Disabled toilet.
The area around the Angel was badly in need of a serious craft beer pub, and got one with a vengeance when the Earl of Essex reopened in July 2012 after its second refurbishment in a year. Tucked away in the pleasantly terraced back streets east of Upper Street and north of the canal, the pub recalls its past as a neighbourhood local with a vintage bar back topped with a Watney’s lightbox behind an island bar set in a clean and modern grey-green painted space. A further attraction is what feels like a secret walled garden at the back, delightfully verdant, surprisingly large and unsurprisingly popular.
Enterprising and beer friendly London pubco Barworks has a hand in this latest incarnation of the Essex but the beer offer ventures even deeper into specialist territory than the group’s other venues, with a selection that demonstrates manager Bryn has his finger on the pulse, enthusiastically promoted through online Beer of the Day listings. The plan is to install a house brewery making beers with unusual and local ingredients, but in the meantime small and keenly contemporary brewers like Bristol, Devilfish, Gadd’s, Harbour, Moor and Pinup supply the cask, alongside local names like East London and Redemption.
The extensive range of keg taps also regularly changes: Camden Town Hells and Ink are regulars, but otherwise expect to see British craft kegs from Brew Star, Ilkley or Moor, US imports from Left Hand, Odell, Rogue, Sierra Nevada or Stone, international geekery from De Molen or Nøgne-Ø, and the occasional Belgian or German classic. Some of the same names appear on the bottle labels, alongside Clown Shoes, Crate, Dogfish Head, Drake, Element and Mikkeller, including some rarities in big bottles.
An interesting seasonal menu comes complete with beer matching suggestions to dishes like duck leg sandwich, carrot gnocchi with peas and poached egg, or onglet steaks. Another place that will keep enthusiasts happy while also providing an inviting environment for a more general audience, this is definitely one to watch.
Underground Angel Cycling LCN+ 8 16, Regents Canal towpath Walking Jubilee Walkway, New River Path