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Disappointment of the week with Tris39 on the Pub Forum

Be At One, N1

12 Upper Street
N1 0PQ
Phone: 02072263756

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Nag's Head

I’ve walked past this place hundreds of times and always assumed it was a grotty local’s pub, but a recent refurbishment saw the front opened out a little so that when I passed, I could see a smart gastro-style interior that looked like it might be worth taking a punt on. The pub has a long, narrow interior with bare floorboards, attractive full height wall panels and a lincrusta ceiling. The servery is down the right-hand side of the room and has a nice dark wood counter, broken by a white tiled pillar midway along, with a pleasant curved end. Modern shelving units on the bar back illuminated by angle poise lamps above are all in keeping with the pub’s fresh new look, although it can’t help but all feel a bit corporate and ‘seen-it-all-before’. There’s a particularly cosy looking padded bench booth under the front window, whilst high tables and stools run along the right-hand side and a long banquette with standard chairs serves the left side of the room. A high shelf has been decorated with typical pub décor such as old ceramic bottles and a TV screen was showing muted news coverage. The room narrows a little as it passes the bar, before opening out again into a rear space which looked like it was best suited to diners. There are plenty more tables and chairs back here with similar décor to the front half of the pub including another TV screen. The pub has a juke box and tunes from this were playing quietly in the background.
I was a little surprised to see four handpulls in operation, although the selection was hardly inspiring, with a choice of Watney’s pale, Wells Bombardier, Taylors Landlord and a house beer of unknown providence. I tried a pint of the Landlord, which I was shocked to be charged £5.60 for – it was in an acceptable condition but beyond the friendly service from the barmaid, there was nothing here that merited such a premium.
I’m a bit torn on this place – it’s nice to see it has been done up and looks a lot more inviting than it used to but it doesn’t have a great deal of character and seems content to charge a premium just because it’s close to the tube station and can probably get away with stinging a few unwise passers-by, like me. It has its plus-points but there are a number of far better options in the backstreets around here, so I can’t see me making a return.

On 2nd April 2020 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2697 recommendations about 2697 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about The Nag's Head

This pub was better than I expected, as I never expect much from Stonegate pubs (other than the 50p off a pint of real ale with a CAMRA voucher). But they had on Doom Bar, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Rockin' Rudolph, Watney's Pale Ale, and Nag's Head Ale (brewed by Caledonian). The Watney's Pale was undrinkable, but readily exchanged for the Nag's Head Ale, which was in fine shape. They were doing hot food on the Wednesday lunchtime I visited, but I didn't see a menu.

The layout is much as described previously. The mosaic flooring is still there on the floor leading from the door on the left, quite likely leading to a billiards room at the rear. There is some nice old floor to ceiling wooden panelling, including interspersed mirrored panels, on the walls. Hard to date - could be inter-war. Furnishings seemed to be traditional and comfortable.

This is a surprisingly good pub. There are plenty of drinking establishments in Upper Street, but not that many good pubs.

On 21st January 2020 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2593 recommendations about 2507 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Nags Head

With its two entrance doors separated by a picture window, this was once a common type of terraced London pub, but finding both doors still in use is quite rare nowadays. Anyway, one inside (by whatever route), you find a narrow wood-panelled rectangular bar with a two-part counter and two rooflights in the gloomy rear section which help a bit (although lighting levels are low throughout). Also has a couple of small tables out front, and a standard Stonegate menu. Three of five handpumps in use, offering the 'house' Angel Ale (4.1%, and brewed with five malts and whole flower hops apparently, £5.05), Bombardier and Landlord, with Adnams Mosaic and Watneys Pale Ale 'coming soon'.

On 14th April 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6687 recommendations about 6687 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about The Nags Head

Until the other night I hadn't been in here since the late 1980s, so can't really remember it. It's well described below and is worth of the description 'pub', nothing more, nothing less.

The barman was very friendly and enthusiastic. Ales up: Fuller's London Pride, St. Austell's Tribute, Deuchars IPA and Flying Scotsman and Adnam's Ghost Ship which was on form and at £3.90 a pint, is good value for the area.

Worth a visit in passing, but there are much better pubs off either side of the Upper Street strip.

On 24th March 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1361 recommendations about 1339 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Roger Button left this review about The Nags Head

A regular(ish) haunt of mine until few years ago, I always seem to find my self drawn to the Nags Head on my now sporadic Islington ventures.

The exterior is quite enticing with its usually impressive flower basket display and twin entrances with their mosaic tiled floor. The pub is very narrow which begs the question of why there are 2 doorways in the first place and one can only wonder how small the interior may have been at one stage when it was presumably divided into 2 bars. These days the interior is all knocked into one and extends quite a way back with the bar running down the right hand side. It has a robust feel with bare floors and solid furnishings although much of the old jumble and bric-a-brac has been recently removed. A few reproduction posters of local hangings and pigs for sale adorn the walls alongside old photos of the area. The rear section doubles as a local art and photography gallery. The 3 TV’s and a big screen cover the usual sporting events.

There are 3 hand pumps with Pride, Black Sheep Best and Caledonian 80/- being the options on my latest visit although prices are a bit steep with the latter at £3.35. Food appeared to be quite reasonable with main courses between £5 and £8.

The pub can be quite packed at peak times and always seems to be quite vibrant with a fairly mixed customer base. I have never experienced any problems although getting served can sometimes be a bit on the slow side. I was surprised to discover that it is actually part of the Barracuda chain, not one of my favourite pub entities but this is certainly one of their better efforts.

On 22nd December 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about The Nags Head

I was in here very late on Saturday night and found it surprisingly friendly and relaxed for a high street pub. There were a few drunken people in attendance, but there wasn’t any hint of trouble – maybe it was the Police songs coming out of the speakers that mellowed everyone. There are a few plasma screens dotted about this long and thin pub and Sky Sports is available for showing Premiership football etc. The staff were friendly and although the three hand pumps were all off I did enjoy a decent couple of pints of Guinness from the standard draught selection available.

There is plenty of seating at the rear of the pub and there are a couple of tables on the path out front. I didn’t see anyone eating, but there were lots of signs advertising food and the kitchen is open until 22:00 every night. The bar hours are a little later as the pub shuts at midnight every night and 1am on Saturdays.

I don’t think that this is a destination pub, but I was glad to find it on an unplanned traipse through Angel.

On 28th September 2010 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3633 recommendations about 3612 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve of N21 left this review about The Nags Head

The Nags Head is located close to Angel Tube on the opposite side of Upper Street opposite the York. A Single bar pub which is long and thin and stretches quite some way back from the street entrance. The decor is heavy on wood, with a wooden floor and wood panelling on every wall. This is broken up by the use of several mirrors and quite a few black and white historical prints to try and give the place a bit of character.
The large bar area covers a significant amount of the right hand side and the left has a selection of bench type seating and tables and chairs. This then leaves quite a narrow space for vertical drinking if you can’t get a seat. And there’s a couple of external tables out front which can accommodate a few people at the most.
The beers on during my visit were London Pride, Caledonian Deuchars IPA and 80/-.
The pub was quieter than other nearby establishments on my mid week evening visit, so I was able to get a place to sit.
It’s an OK place and decent enough for a quick beer, especially as it had 80 bob on , which is not so common in London, but it’s not the type of place I’d consider to spend all evening.

On 18th July 2010 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1779 recommendations about 1721 pubs]