11 of the Best Beer Gardens in Islington

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). The Resident picks out 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, too cold to leave, decided to try out most of their impressive range of ales and lagers. We couldn’t even recall the pub garden – or anything, really – so we were pleasantly surprised when we returned again in the summer and soaked up some rays in the really rather glorious courtyard-style beer garden, which usually puts on a great BBQ come summer.
44 Barnsbury Street N1 1ER; thedrapersarms.com
Reopening 14 April

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, especially as it’s located on one Islington’s quietest roads. Its food menus have received a host of accolades over the years, with both The Guardian and the Daily Mail recognising it as one of the best pub gardens in the UK.
10 Thornhill Road N1 1HW; the-albion.co.uk
Reopening 12 April

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 – you can make eye contact with people sitting on top of a passing bus, or fix your gaze on 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 come the weekends, they serve brunch on the roof terrace, which is a big thumbs up in our book.
54 Pentonville Road N1 9HF; thecastleislington.co.uk
Reopening 12 April

4 The Alwyne Castle
From one castle to another, this entry to our round-up has one of the best outdoor spaces going in the area – especially now that’s had a lockdown refurb! 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
Reopening 12 April

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 (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).
25 Danbury Street N1 8LE; earlofessex.net
Reopening 12 April

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. Even George Orwell once sat writing his book 1984 here. Showcasing classic British pub food, hearty meals from the grill and, of course, a Sunday roast, everything’s a winner on Canonbury Tavern’s menu. No matter when you go, make sure you spend time in the back beer garden, which is one of the largest in London with the room to seat over 200 people.
21 Canonbury Place N1 2NS; thecanonbury.co.uk 
Reopening 12 April

7 The Engle Field
Formerly The Lord Clyde (where we vaguely remember a very boozy relaunch about six years ago), The Engle Field is a ‘good quality pub that serves delicious no-nonsense grub’. Run by the team behind The Hunter S on Southgate Road, the food is great (cooked in an open kitchen) and there’s a great selection of wines, spirits and cocktails. But it’s the sunken courtyard garden we love – a wonderfully secluded little oasis to while away an afternoon or evening. Bookings for weekend evenings and Sundays are strongly advised.
340-342 Essex Road N1 3PB; theenglefieldpub.co.uk
Reopening 12 April

8 The Camden Head
The Camden Head website sports a cracking quote from none other than Alan Sugar: ‘the pub with everything’. 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 big thing and a great beer garden that is rather hard to tear yourself away from, it’s all gravy at this hotspot near Angel tube station.
2 Camden Walk N1 8AY; camden-head.co.uk
Reopening 12 April

9 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
Reopening 12 April

10 The Vineyard
The Vineyard, which serves up great sourdough stone-baked pizzas, burgers and other substantial dishes to soak up the craft beer, classic cocktails and substantial gin collection. The roomy courtyard out front, furnished with planters, astroturf and a colourful collection of tables and chairs, offers covered areas and heaters, as well as sunny spots. This place has a late license and often hosts live music nights too.
179 Upper Street N1 1RG; craft-pubs.co.uk/vineyardislington
Reopening 12 April

11 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, burgers, stone-baked pizzas and even a party menu. 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; thealmaislington.com
Reopening 12 April