Is there anything better than supping on a pint or enjoying a glass of wine in a beautiful pub garden? Luckily Islington locals have plenty of choice to enjoy the great outdoors (with a tipple) and here are 11 of the best
Lead image: The Albion (image provided courtesy of venue)
1 The Drapers Arms
The first time we went to The Drapers Arms was in the middle of winter and we ended up having an ‘indoor pub crawl’ by trying out most (but we couldn’t quite manage all) of their impressive range of ales and lagers. We couldn’t even recall the pub garden – or most things – so were pleasantly surprised when we returned again in the summer and soaked up some rays along with the beer. Book 4 July in the diary right now and celebrate American Independence Day with their popular BBQ event, where you can enjoy meat rubbed, smoked, or pulled.
44 Barnsbury Street N1 1ER; thedrapersarms.com
2 The Albion
It’s rather apt that The Albion is a Georgian gem left over from a time when Islington was all fields and farmland as it boasts arguably the prettiest pub garden in the area. The wisteria-covered façade is the perfect place to sit back and relax, being located as it is on one Islington’s quietest roads. Its food menus have received a host of accolades over the years, and The Guardian recognised it as one of the best pubs in the UK – and we love the fact you can hire out the entire place including the garden. Summer party, here we come.
10 Thornhill Road N1 1HW; the-albion.co.uk
3 The Castle
You certainly feel like a king or queen when settling down on the fantastic roof terrace at The Castle. The views are eclectic – from making eye contact with people sitting on top of a passing bus, to looking over the City in the distance – but it’s the company that makes The Castle such a top choice in our book. We haven’t had a bad night (or afternoon) there, and special mention for their entertaining and competitive quiz night. We haven’t won yet, which suggests how good the competition is.
54 Pentonville Road N1 9HF; thecastleislington.co.uk
4 The Alwyne Castle
From one castle to another, this entry to our round-up had a recent spruce up, but the garden remains one of the best outdoor spaces going in the area. The beer garden at The Alwyne Castle has space for 300 of your closest friends, with a BBQ and plenty of tables and chairs to enjoy a refreshing alfresco pint from the outdoor bar. And if the British summer doesn’t live up to its billing? There are heaters to combat that late night chill.
St Paul’s Road N1 2LY; thealwynecastleislington.co.uk
5 The Earl of Essex
At time when it seems faceless chains of pubs are taking over London, places like The Earl of Essex reaffirm our love of the great old British boozer. This was Islington’s first brew pub, home to Earls Brewery, and has a rather large beer garden to enjoy the creations. We love the choice of bar snacks, with matching drinks too: we say take your pick from crispy courgette with devilish egg (served with Earls Pale Ale XV), beef and pigeon scotch egg (served with Earls Saison VI), or brisket chilli cheese fries (served with Earls IPA VI Black Rye), all tried and tested by yours truly.
25 Danbury Street N1 8LE; earlofessex.net
6 The Canonbury Tavern
Since the early 1700s, Canonbury Tavern has been providing Londoners with the perfect spot to drink, eat and laugh with friends. Showcasing classic British pub food, hearty meals from the grill and, of course, a Sunday roast, you’re bound to enjoy everything you order from Canonbury Tavern’s menu. No matter when you go, make sure you spend time in the back beer garden (one of the largest in London with the room to seat over 200 people), and spend time in the same vicinity where George Orwell once sat writing his book 1984.
21 Canonbury Place N1 2NS; thecanonbury.co.uk
7 The Lord Clyde
We remember, somehow, a relaunch for The Lord Clyde a few years back when it unveiled a new lick of paint. It’s a cracking venue, set back on the ever trendy Essex Road, but despite the refurb, we were instantly drawn to the sunken courtyard garden, which is a wonderfully secluded little oasis. Time has moved on, but our love for The Lord Clyde’s pub garden hasn’t, particularly when they are hosting one of their fabulous summer BBQs. A great food menu too, from pan-friend marinated octopus and chorizo, to the irresistible spice barbecued duck.
340-342 Essex Road N1 3PB; thelordclyde.com
8 The Camden Head
The website to this Camden Passage favourite opens with the quote ‘the pub with everything’ from none other than Alan Sugar. He hasn’t been there on the many times we have frequented, but he is spot on: from the terrific selection of beers on tap, to the regular comedy nights where you can discover the next LOL thing, a good night is always guaranteed. The Camden Head also has the honour of being the location for the last time this writer overdid it in the sun whilst drinking – their beer garden is so cosily set out, it’s difficult to prise yourself away.
2 Camden Walk N1 8AY; camden-head.co.uk
9 Craft Beer Co
This is one story that just keeps on giving. Since Craft Beer Co opened its first pub in Clerkenwell in 2012 – still a favourite of ours – the awards have come rolling in as the pubs have been rolled out. Islington got its very own version in 2013, and today is home to a whole host of events that have certainly kept us entertained. Oh, and did we mention the super garden too? Pub heaven.
55 White Lion Street N1 9PP; thecraftbeerco.com
10 The Alma
What’s better than beer, movies and puppies? A pub that provides you with all three. The Alma has movie paraphernalia covering its walls and bringing a little sprinkling of Hollywood glamour to the Islington area. They serve traditional British cooking, a delicious Sunday roast (do make sure to book in advance) and stone baked pizza (served Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). Remember that pup I mentioned above? Buster the Alma Dog has been apart of the Alma family since 2015 and since then can always be seen running around looking for cuddles and pets.
59 Newington Green Road N1 4QU; thealmapubn1.com
11 The Narrowboat
Tucked away on the Regent’s Canal lies the Narrowboat. As its set above the hustle and bustle of the busy streets, the Narrowboat is the perfect place to sit back and relax with family and friends. Enjoy a cold ale or craft beer from a wide selection of choices or lounge around sipping a fine wine or refreshing cocktail, all while enjoying the views from the Narrowboat’s balcony overlooking Regent’s Canal.
119 St Peter’s Street N1 8PZ; thenarrowboatpub.com