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Disappearing and 'in peril' breweries with london calling on the Pub Forum

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton, N1

26 Wenlock Road
N1
N1 7TA
Phone: 02076083406

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


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Tris C left this review about The Wenlock Arms

Taking its name from the adjacent Wenlock Basin, this was the tap for the eponymous brewery, long closed and demolished. CAMRA's North London Pub of the Year 2017, my first visit to this Georgian - just - pub was made about eight years ago when it was inexplicably out of the GBG from 2010 until 2015, though in my opinion the beer was great. What wasn't so great was the appalling grot: a pot shelf where glasses hadn't been cleaned since the pub was built and the terrible lavatories; the barmaid, who I think was a co-landlord, wasn't the most welcoming of people either; the old custodians having long moved on.
A third return visit and of course there's more real ale, real cider and perry and keg options than you can shake a stick at, which of course is what makes this pub so well-known in what is an otherwise rather dreary N1 Hackney/Islington hinterland. This is still a place that attracts an extremely mixed and at some times boisterous crowd presided over by friendly staff. What baffles the most is the ultra-modern men's lavatories. As mentioned below, two urinals and a basin in what is in effect a cupboard under the stairs; where is the gent's cubicle?
Music played at a sensible level and a dartboard was on display; hot bar snacks though not conventional food was available. My half of Purity's Longhorn IPA was naturally on excellent form and at £2.10 a half, good value for the area.
This is of course a drinker's Mecca (forgive the obvious contradiction), and is worth a substantial detour to get here.

On 17th August 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 952 recommendations about 938 pubs]


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john gray left this review about The Wenlock Arms

Not quite as basic as it used to be and now nicely done up.Still seems to be quiet on my visits.Good selection of cask beers.Salopian -choir porter was good.New micro brewery in the basement so worth a return visit.

On 27th December 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 933 recommendations about 920 pubs]


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hondo . left this review about The Wenlock Arms

Quite a basic pub but it does it's job serving good beer. 10 real ales and "craft keg" served. Real fire was a bonus on a cold night.

On 20th November 2016 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2673 recommendations about 2616 pubs]


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Thuck Phat left this review about The Wenlock Arms

Very well reviewed so I'll only add opinion and list the beers on when we visited.
This felt to me like a very comfortable, street corner local which are rare enough in Central London but I was astonished by it given the location five minutes to both the City and the Regents Canal. I'm not sure how I've missed this before and am very disappointed to have done so.
Beers on were: Dark Star Hophead, The Original and APA, Green Jack Lurcher Stout, Great Heck Apocalypse Brau, Salopian Hop Twister, Vale Red Kite and Sambrooks Pumphouse Pale Ale and Junction. One handpump was unused. That's a very good selection and the only beers I'd have been less than enthusiastic about would have been the Sambrooks. As it was, all that we tried was good and I'd have happily spent the evening here trying the rest.
My favourite London pub currently.

On 7th October 2016 - rating: 10
[User has posted 670 recommendations about 669 pubs]


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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Wenlock Arms

A decent corner street boozer, that attracts a mixed clientele seeking out a good and reasonably priced pint of ale. We called on a Friday eve and London temperatures were on the hot side to say the least, so I presumed I would be sinking down a refreshing golden ale or an IPA, only to find the majority of their beers across the ten handpumps were all dark or brown. We did manage to spot Redemption Hopspur, which sufficed. Maybe on a winter visit, I might find some refreshing light summer beers.

On 15th August 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2957 recommendations about 2957 pubs]


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Moby Duck left this review about The Wenlock Arms

Update
Still very much alive and kicking,it was buzzing Saturday evening and I enjoyed two very good beers,ELB Orchid and Sirencraft Broken Dream,upgraded to 9/10.
16 June 2013
As Will intimates below the Wenlock is alive and extremely well.Much brighter and cleaner than before, this for me has taken away a little of its charm, I'm sure there are some who disagree with this though. It has however not lost an ounce of its atmosphere and was buzzing early Saturday evening, all ten pumps were on and all being well used.My two choices of ale were both in good health and both enjoyable, Portabello Market Porter and Franklins Grumpy Governor. The fact the Wenlock is thriving is a great boost to the local ale scene.I see many more visits in the future.

On 15th November 2015 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1308 recommendations about 1295 pubs]


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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Wenlock Arms

ORIGINAL REVIEW Sept 2010
This pub is the subject of many posts on another website that should remain nameless,with dire warnings of it's demise ,so I thought a revisit was called for.Glad to report that it's still a great boozer with a fine selection of ale.Nine handpumps with Crouch Vale Brewers Gold always on,together with Twickenham Brewery Pale Beauty and Naked Ladies,Abbey Choirester,Adnams Extra Special Bitter,Downton India Pale Ale,Titanic Chocolate Vanilla Stout , Rebellion MILD and a real cider featured on my trip.Ales rotate as barrels run out,and invariably they are drawn from microbreweries ,some local others from far afield.Four of us went through the card and found all pints to be in top condition with prices around £3,very fair.
The pub itself is a Victorian street corner boozer with a central bar and the handpumps facing you as you enter the front door.Seating around the walls either on settles or small stools.There is a hard floor,no carpet and the decor is basic but this is it's essential charm.The handpumps look well worn ,and there isnt much gleaming brass but taste the ale quality and be thankful.Similarly the lager taps are basic but who wants a flash array of keg dispensers to spoil the atmosphere?The loos are basic but functional.The pub is in the middle of an estate and when quiet the pub is very much a local for residents but it's not intimidating and there are usually a few CAMRA types dotted about.As the evening wears on,the young professionals and students pitch up ,creating a very wide mix of customers.The bar service is excellent even when busy and basic pub grub like doorstep sandwiches and sausage rolls are available until 9pm.Every Friday a three piece dixieland jazz ensemble play,at other times music is piped at low volume.Drinking is the order of the day ,and if that's the atmosphere you enjoy this is one of London's finest.Worth investing some time here ,to sample the wide array of ales and enjoy a good session.Very surprised to discover it's lost it's GBG entry for 2011.

UPDATE
My first visit since the change of guard and reopening,and like other recent reviewers I was relieved that the feel of the pub hasn't changed,it's just been tidied up.The interior is a bit larger with the former lavs now a rear section with square stand alone tables but without windows so a bit dark.The toilets have been moved to the cellar but comprise three cubicles,2 for the gents and 1 for the ladies.No urinal causes queues to build up,and the door locks were close to failure ,I prefered the old very basic facilities compared with this current mess.
The 10 handpumps were drawing a wide range of styles such as MILD(GK XX),Strong IPA's (Saltaire Le IPA,Burning Sky Aurora ),Pale Ale (Five Towns,West Berkshire Mr Swift's),APA (Dark Star),session bitters (DS Hophead,Burning Sky Plateau),Best Bitter (Hobsons) and a Porter I failed to note or drink.There is now a line of craft keg taps with a menu in the back section but the real ale was proving much more popular given it's very fine condition.The cider selection is wide,there were six boxes at the end of the bar on my visit.
A darts board has been reinstated to the left side ,and the only missing element was the Friday night dixieland jazz and I could see not indication that live music is now part of the scene.However there is still a wide mix of customers,it's firmly a boozer with a great selection of well kept real ale .
The Wenlock is back on form,back in the GBG,and will get my regular custom when in the area.Very close to the Regents Canal.

On 27th September 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2049 recommendations about 2049 pubs]


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Aqualung . left this review about The Wenlock Arms

This was my first visit here since attending a dart match some 15 years ago. I'm sure everyone knows the story and history behind the last twenty years of this pub. I would add that it was originally opened as the brewery tap for the nearby Wenlock Brewery which was taken over by Bass in 1961 before their merger with Charrington. One of the advantages for ex Wenlock pubs in the 1970s was if they still sold a real ale it tended to be Bass, which in those days was much sought after, still a decent drink and vastly superior to the ubiquitous Charrington's IPA. I have to say I don't recall this being a real ale outlet at that time.
The tatty decor, hole in the carpet where you could look into the cellar and dart board have gone but it still retains a traditional pub feel. The hell hole Gents toilet has been replaced with a walk-in wardrobe containing two urinals and a tiny sink.
On the bar all ten pumps were in use with Hackney Nelson Sauvin and Best, Dark Star Seville and American Pale, Mighty Oak Maldon Gold and Oscar Wilde Mild, ELB Quadrant Oatmeal Stout, Whitstable Renaissance Ruby Mild, Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold and RAW Pacific Ghost IPA.
I went for the local Nelson Sauvin which was in good but not outstanding condition.
In an area that seems to be just one large building site, it's good to see this place surviving.

On 15th March 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2147 recommendations about 2142 pubs]


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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Wenlock Arms

The brief note from my last visit in April 2008 read: "I wish that this pub was my local - decent beer, friendly atmosphere, no London gastropub bulls**t or hideous pubco makeover..." Thankfully, the place survived its near demise; and, apart from being tidied up somewhat, I don't think I have any cause to change my previous view. Excellent selection from the 10 handpumps, opting for a splendid pint of Abbeydale Black Knight porter (£3.40, less a 10% Camra discount). Also had six real ciders / perries available, plus a rather discreet array of 10 keg taps on each side of the bar-back behind the compact 'U'-shaped counter. Long may it thrive!

On 5th March 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 5968 recommendations about 5968 pubs]


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Quinno _ left this review about Wenlock Arms

First visit to the revamped Wenlock which was still shrouded in scaffolding as work continues upstairs. The bar itself is seemingly unaltered whilst the room has had a deep clean, lick of paint, seats have been re-upholstered and there’s new downstairs loos (the gents is ridiculously tight though). 10 ales on with an impressive selection alongside some craft kegs and real cider. Beer-wise, my Clarence & Fredericks Strong Mild was in decent nick with the Tiny Rebel IPA perhaps a little under-par. Enjoyably eclectic music (Swing and Big Bands through to Simon & Garfunkel and Cure in 30 minutes). If there was a 10% CAMRA discount, no mention of it was made to me and I didn’t see it advertised. Maybe the staff should be a bit more pro-active pushing it. Note to the blackboard scribe: it’s “Sambrooks” not “Sam Brooks”…anyway a decent start.

March 2012
Bade this place a farewell last night. The Brewers Gold, Acorn Porter and St Peters Mild were on great form. We are assured that the pub will re-open imminently with the same ethos but with a general clean-up and upgrades. We shall see. Rating 8

November 2010
A renowned ale pub in a frankly odd location (must've been the only bit the Luftwaffe didn't hit judging by the less-than-salubrious surroundings you need to trudge through to get here), this a classic Victorian corner local standing proud in a sea of redevelopment and poorly-constructed 1960’s flats. A large selection (9, is it?) of well-kept ales from a variety of microbreweries are on offer, along with a real cider. The quality is usually pretty good, though they have been known serve the odd poor one and been less than helpful when you politely tell them. The range of previously served ales is evident by the collection old pump clips festooned around the bar. Prices are very competitive given the postcode. Basic pub grub is available - the doorstep wedge sarnies are very good. Music is quietly piped and there’s live Jazz on a Friday evening.

The interior is the weak point – it’s small and cramped (OK, not much you can do there) and often feels quite grubby and dingy; indeed the gents loos are little more than a smelly wall to go against. The brewery mirrors add a little extra light, but frankly higher wattage light bulbs would be just as useful. Service too can sometimes be rather brusque. The pub’s clientèle is generally quite mixed; students, office workers, posties and CAMRA stereotypes all mingle at the bar, generating a good atmosphere inside. Beware that the regulars can be very vociferous at times.

As stated elsewhere, this place is under threat of closure and demolition in the very near future, so get down there while you can. Overall, a classic ale pub that demands a visit but it’s not without fault. Rating 8

On 30th June 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3969 recommendations about 3957 pubs]

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