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The Charles Lamb, N1

16 Elia Street
N1 8DE

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 8 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about The Charles Lamb

Traditional corner pub in very nice residential area just down from the mayhem of angel, towards the Regents Canal.

Central bar, surrounded by high bar stools. Traditional furniture setup discreetly for dining.

Beer was an below average XT 4 from XT brewing.

On 14th November 2018 - rating: 6
[User has posted 989 recommendations about 981 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about The Charles Lamb

Originally The Prince Albert, this is an early Victorian corner pub (1839) renamed by the new owners in 2005 in honour of Charles Lamb, the 18th/19th century English essayist who lived in nearby Colebrooke Row and who gave his name to this street, 'Elia' being his pen name when contributing to The London Magazine; green banded leaded lights are a clear indication that this was once a Charrington's house.
Off the beaten track, this place is very popular with the more moneyed Islingtonians, rather than the hipsters who infest The Earl of Essex across the way. Well described below, this is really quite cramped and is big on food - the pub is listed in Les Routiers guide. There seems to be a rotating policy with regard to the four ales on offer so naming them wouldn't serve a great purpose, but they are of the better variety (no GK IPA and the like) and are all well kept but are at the pricier end of the scale; this isn't a cheap area.
The added bonus is the new landlord from South Carolina who was an excellent and engaging host; this is a must-visit if in the area.

On 8th September 2017 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1532 recommendations about 1510 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Charles Lamb

Tucked away on a side street the pub has quite a characterful exterior/interior. The L shaped main bar area serves 4 real ales with a room at the side that looks more foodie.

On 20th November 2016 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2833 recommendations about 2774 pubs]

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john gray left this review about The Charles Lamb

Small but busy corner locals pub. Only 2 cask beers on Hophead and Hobsons -best.I tried the new London brewer 40FTbrewery-pale on keg. Decent beer decent price.

On 25th September 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 965 recommendations about 951 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The Charles Lamb

Backstreet pub just over a couple of minutes walk from Angel through a nice, leafy residential area (though it overlooks some less-than-stellar 1960’s flats). Neat looking exterior with some old brown glazed tiling. Fairly small inside with an l-shaped bar and a separate dining area to the right. Light colour scheme, with white walls and turquoise-painted quarter length wood panelling. Some dried hops hanging from the ceiling and a map of old London on the wall, as well as a few lines about Charles Lambe on a blackboard at the rear. Dark wooden bar back has an attractive inlaid clock. Shut the Box and selection of board games available (pieces missing). A female member of the party joyously reported that there were free tampons available in the ladies loo. A GBG pub in recent years, there were four pumps at the bar, with chalked slates in place of the normal pump clips which made for a bit of an issue deciphering some of the more scrawly writing. After a good squint it turned out that there was W&E Windsor Knot, Dark Star Hophead, Red Willow Headless and the amusingly-titled ‘Abigail’s Party’ by Jones the Brewer. A good selection there but the issue I found, trying three of the four ales, was that all of them were too warm. The condition was there, but any form of line/cellar cooling was either broken or non-existent (I resorted to plopping an errant ice cube in mine). There is mention elsewhere of CAMRA discount but I saw no signs advertising it on my visit, so I’d be a bit grouchy if it turns out I could have saved a pound as well. In addition to the ales, there was also a real cider (Slack Alice) a pretty decent keg selection and Luscombe softies. Food offered, gastropubesque around the £9-12 mark which we tried and were quite happy with. There’s a lot to like here but I’d be reticent to revisit any time when it’s remotely warm because of the lack of ale cooling.

On 27th May 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 4423 recommendations about 4408 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Charles Lamb

Much busier than I was expecting on a Tuesday night, making it quite difficult to navigate around the compact bar and small side room. Faux-basic furniture and decor inside the plain but attractive façade. Four interesting beers on handpump, with my pint of Alchemy Ritual costing £3.50 - less than I was expecting for the area - and with the tasty pork pies coming in at the same price. Overall, pretty good I thought.

On 5th March 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 7108 recommendations about 7108 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about The Charles Lamb

I liked this pub very much when I visited some six or seven years ago, back then I recall there being only a couple of hand pulls ,there are now four,my pint of Windsor and Eton Knott was in good shape. This manages to maintain a lively atmosphere whatever the level of custom, there were a few in attendence on this visit. Very much a pub and yet there is almost a continental cafe feel as well and both combine perfectly to make a unique and interesting place . I like it a lot.

On 21st September 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1586 recommendations about 1567 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about The Charles Lamb

This pub had a very lively atmosphere when I visited late afternoon on a warm sunny Friday afternoon. People were spilling out on to the pavement and all seemed in high spirits. The interior remains as described previously, except on this occasion the ale for me was the superb Clarence and Frederick (a South London micro-brewery) Best Bitter. This is another pub well worth the walk from the main drag of Islington.

On 6th June 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about The Charles Lamb

This cosy back street corner pub has somehow eluded me until now despite tha fact that I used to work a few hundred yards away and was certainly no stranger to area’s hostelries. The pub dates from 1839 and was originally called the Prince Albert, the name being changed as recently as 2006 to honour the English Essayist who lived nearby.

The interior is split into an L-shaped main bar and a separate room to one side that appears to be more for dining. The décor has been given a modern touch but it has been done quite tastefully and the pub retains a good degree of its character and a few of its original features. There is a large picture of the pub in the main bar and a display of maps in the dining area as well as a large cockerel in the corner, possibly an old Courage remnant. A clock crowns the large bar back laden with bottles of wine. The paintwork is all light shades that normally announce “gastro pub” but it felt as much a drinker’s pub as a diner’s pub and clearly has a wide range of appeal given that the customer base consisted of groups of men heading for the ale pumps and women gossiping over a bottle of red.

There were plenty of homely touches including a selection of board games and a well stocked hatrack, in fact there were probably more hats and bags than people in the pub. Sadly Mascha the pub dog who even had its own MySpace page is no longer around but the signs asking for her not to be fed remain behind as a kind of memorial.

The pub was a 2011 CAMRA North London Pub of the Year finalist so you can expect a decent pint and there was a good selection on my recent vist that included St Peters Ruby Red, Dark Star Hophead, Brodies London Field and Triple FFF Alton Pride. Prices were also pretty reasonable with the St Peters at £3.30. The food appears to change daily with the menu listed on blackboards. Prices were around £9-£13 for main courses.

This little backwater has a few decent pubs that are generally overlooked by people heading for the hustle and bustle of Upper Street or the Green and the Charles Lamb is certainly one to go out of the way for.

On 19th November 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Charles Lamb

This is a very smart looking, two room pub located down a quiet backstreet a short walk from Angel tube station. The pub has something of a gastro feel to it upon entering, with bare floorboards, light green wood panelling and lots of windows making the main room feel light and airy, when the reality is that the bench seating and bar stools leave just a small gangway for people to pass through what is actually quite a small room. Whilst there is certainly a gastro element to this pub, evidenced by a rather fancy looking menu of dishes not normally associated with pub dining, the main room retains enough charm and character for drinkers to feel perfectly comfortable. In fact, a number of drinkers were deeply engrossed in the various board games which are available, including a mammoth game of Monopoly on the table next to me. A smaller second room is set up more with diners in mind, with more of a standard seating arrangement, and there appeared to be a fair few people eating in there on my recent visit. The room has a rather cosy feel to it with a fireplace on one wall and a rather prominent old map of London on display.
I timed my visit to coincide with a showcase of London beers the pub had put on for the weekend, and I was pleased to see the four handpulls offering local ales in the shape of Windsor & Eton Knight of the Garter (£3.10), Redemption Trinity, Fullers 1845 and something called Charles Lamb Elias Muse, brewed especially for this pub (I noted from the wine list that the pub also offers a Charles Lamb wine). Three more beers, all from Brodies, were set up on the bar counter and poured straight from the cask - Amarillo, Citra and California. Keg beers included offerings from Meantime and drinks were served by a friendly team of staff who were keen to offer tasters to those unsure of what to order.
This pub seems to have pitched itself just about perfectly for the area it serves and should have a broad appeal thanks to its inclusive approach. I rather regretted not spending a bit longer in here, especially as it started pouring down on my way to the next pub, so I imagine a return visit will be highly likely the next time I'm in this part of town.

On 24th June 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2816 recommendations about 2816 pubs]

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