There are a few hidden gems in London for a few beverages, some great places to party and of course plenty of chances to meet the locals. I’ve short-listed some of my personal favourites for this Post – Party With a Local in London.
Aces and Eights
I visited this place on a whim on a cold winter’s night not knowing what to expect. And I must admit, it wasn’t the most welcoming place from the outside. Inside however was another story and this is why it’s undoubtedly North London’s best kept secret. Picture this: Walls decorated with 50s – 70s rock posters (Doors, Hendrix) and pylons sporting vintage Playboy magazine cover decor! Nice range of beers on tap and the smell of pizza firing up from behind in the kitchen. The range of patrons were very diverse and from all all age groups, from your all-in-black punk rockers all the way through to uber-geeks. The DJ, in her mid-forties played anything from The Clash to Talking Heads on vinyl, mixing with an old telephone! A great London pub with a bit of character. Definitely worth a look for something a little different.
The Junction Tavern
If you are into your London ales and a good ol’ yarn with the locals then the Junction Tavern is the place to be. This is probably the friendliest and liveliest little pub in the area and every time I have been there I’ve felt right at home. The bar staff are always extremely friendly and the regulars are always up for a chat. In fact, you will generally see the same old faces every time you walk in to the place, which is something I find quite comforting. The Junction regularly holds fine ale festivals too and people from all over the UK flock there to get in on the action. And boy is the beer is worth it! I must say that of all the little pubs going around in North London, this is my favourite.
Another North London pub worth mentioning is The Shafestbury. A nice, quiet pub in Archway with some lively locals. Great place for watching for footy too. Recently renovated with Victorian style finishings it now sports a fantastic large room out back for a decent function or perhaps just a few cheeky ones with some mates. You can have a decent yarn with the old boys sitting at the bar too. I’d say this pub would be perfect for nursing a hangover, throwing a few back before a big night or tackling a Sunday Roast (all of which can be done in one day, if you’re up for it!). After a decent session I have moved on to something a little more lively, such as our next entry: the Electric Ballroom.
For true party-goers with a soft-spot for a bit of ‘cheese’ you can’t go past the Electric Ballroom. This is a much larger venue with a decent Saturday night crowd. The venue also plays host to quite a few gigs here and there with names as big as Deadmau5 having graced it! This place has been rocking since the 70s and shows no sign of slowing down. It sports two dance floors, but the ground floor is where you want to be as later in the night you can reminisce with hits of the 80s and 90s. And did I mention cheese? There are many energetic locals to party with and everyone is usually in a great mood and always up for a chat in amongst singalongs.
Being an Aussie myself, I felt it was my duty to include one of these. The best way to describe a Walkabouts pub is a ‘home away from home’. Being an Australian-themed pub, many of the patrons are local Aussies living in the UK but the pub also attracts many travellers and a lot of Brits too. If you are one for a bit of acoustic music and plenty of familiar ballads, you can’t go past these pubs. Cheap drinks (a large range of Aussie beer), cheap meals and one of the only places you can get a chicken parmigiana in London (as far as I am aware). Great place to meet people too as everyone is always happy and cheerful (especially on a Friday night after work!). Hitting a place like this solo is not a worry because by the end of the night you are bound to have met some new mates whether they be true Londoners or ex-pats.
By Ed McMahon