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Bald Faced Stag, East Finchley, N2

69 High Road
N2 8AB
Phone: 02084421201

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Pub Type

Metropolitan Pub Co (Greene King)

Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about Bald Faced Stag

I can't add much to that below following my early evening visit yesterday, having passed the place on many an occasion over the decades.

Originally dating from the early 18th century and rebuilt in the 19th, this is essentially something of a compromise between a gastropub and fairly upmarket drinkery; no original Victorian features remain. As such, with its part t 'n' g panelling, pale wood bar top, bare brick walls, modern lighting and two-tone pastel colour scheme it is a little bit like a hotel bar, but at the better end of the scale; it's not like the awful Freemasons' Arms or Old Bull & Bush, both NW3. Furniture is standard enough, and there was a muted jazz-funk track playing. I spotted a TV which mercifully was turned off; I can't imagine sports being big here and indeed aren't mentioned on the pub's website. To the pub's rear, there's a separate restaurant area and nook which was quite pleasant. Lavatories offer extensive amenities and were clean and very modern.

My half of Triple FFF Brewery's Pressed Rat & Warthog (a 3.8% ABV dark mild) was interesting and well kept, though at £1.95 a half is a bit steep, especially for east Finchley. I counted around four other cask ales as well as keg offerings and premium lagers.

Despite the fact that this early in the evening the pub was almost empty, staff were a little too 'relaxed' for my liking. In all this is a decent civilised pub and I'd come here again if in the area, though there's virtually nothing else in N2 apart from the Old White Lion down the road, thereafter it's tired Oirish-themed bars.

On 19th June 2015 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1001 recommendations about 986 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Bald Faced Stag

The Bald Faced Stag is a large, street corner gastro pub just a short walk uphill from East Finchley station. The main bar area is a fairly open space with smart wooden flooring, a two tone colour scheme plus one bare brick wall. The servery is opposite the front door and has a rather bland bar back and a modern counter with a chunky wooden top. Padded banquettes run around the front right corner of the room with high tables and stools over to the left. Various pictures of stags and of the pub line the walls and a large set of antlers has pride of place behind the abr. To the rear right there is a comfier looking space that is partly screened from the rest of the room. Here you will find banquette and standard chair seating options under pictures of rural scenes and some more antlers. To the rear left is what appears to be a more formal, restaurant style space with set tables, but I didn't bother to explore, as I was only here for a quick pint. The menus were available from clipboards kept in holders on the walls and a quick look showed that the options were relatively upmarket and probably a bit pricier than in your average pub. A patio garden area can be found to the left of the pub with some sheltered areas for smokers. I didn't notice any TV screens but there was a jazz-centric soundtrack playing quietly throughout my visit.
The ale line up was refreshingly interesting, with house beer Bald Faced Stag brewed by Greene King alongside guests in the shape of Growler Bitter, Sambrooks Battersea Rye and something from the Twickenham Brewery. The chatty barman recommended the house ale, saying that he preferred it to any of the current guests, so I gave it a try and thought it was in very good shape, if not much to write home about taste wise.
There are plenty of gastro style pubs around North London, but this one at least works well as a drinker's pub as well. It was surprisingly easy to settle down in the comfortable front bar area and I enjoyed the good beer and friendly service. Well worth a look if you find yourself in the area.

On 19th October 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2546 recommendations about 2546 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Will Larter left this review about Bald Faced Stag

An interesting selection of ales on my recent visit: Thwaites Wainwright, Dark Star Hophead, Nethergate Lemonhead and Old Dairy Silver Top stout. With the other ales being on the light and hoppy end of the spectrum, I had the Silver Top, which was in good condition and very drinkable. I went into a small side room just away from the bar, which was pleasant and comfortable, with some well-reproduced photos of the local area in the 19th century on the walls. If I'm in the area again I think I'd prefer this to the Old White Lion or the Alexandra.

On 21st May 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2660 recommendations about 2507 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about Bald Faced Stag

Yes I will thoroughly concur with the reviewers below. If you are going to do a gastro make over on an old run down Victorian boozer to keep it alive as a pub/restaurant, this is the way to do it.
Like most I am very quick to moan and bitch when a traditional pub is lost by the Ikea internal designers moving in , ripping out all its character and turning it into a restaurant.
But the Bald Faced Stag is run by the Realpubs group who now own about 14 well positioned, mostly Victorian boozers in North and West London and they are doing a very good job at finding the balance between traditional pub and gastro restaurant in my honest opinion.
This one was taken over in May 2007 and the large internal space has been utilised very well. The front section remain the pub bar area with a decent standing area to the front but then large rustic seating to the left and right and to the wall edge. Yes its decor is minimalistic and modern but it’s bright and comfortable and as the bar staff focus on wet sales, usually no issue to get served promptly.
The large room at the back that once housed pool tables is now the Gastro restaurant with open plan kitchen with suitably expensive restaurant style menu to match. And then to the left is a sizeable external elevated garden area which can be accessed both from the bar and the restaurant.
The bar now supports three operating hand pumps and these were dispensing something more interesting that the usual London stock ales of Pride, OSH, IPA e.t.c. Last night the beers were Sambrook's Wandle, Alton Pride and Caledonian Nectar and the brews from the Alton and Caledonian brewery were well kept.
And another positive is that it has a late licence on a Saturday night so if you come out of the Phoenix Theatre opposite (the finest Cinema in London) post 11.00PM, you can still catch an after film pint.

On 26th June 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1713 recommendations about 1662 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alesonly . left this review about Bald Faced Stag

This place is not too bad for a modern food Type Pub. At least it don't feel like you drinking in a restaurant like some tend too do. The Ales on Tap when I went in recently were Black Sheep & Landlord both were in good condition. It Was mid afternoon on Thursday when I went and it was reasonably quiet so the service was good & quick

On 28th February 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 132 recommendations about 105 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about Bald Faced Stag

I was in here on Saturday afternoon for the first time in over a year and I think that it has vastly improved. The pool tables at the rear of the pub have gone and been replaced with a dining type area with an open kitchen and serving area. The old no smoking area is now a nice comfy room that has signs up advertising it for hire. Granted the pub has been given an uninspiring lick of paint, but at least the grotty old furniture has been replaced.

The drinks available on my visit were Tribute Ale and Otter Ale (also a spare pump not in use) alongside Becks Vier, Heineken and Kronenburg. I found the bar staff to be very friendly although the head on the pints was just on the limit of being too large and if I had not been in a good mood I would have had to ask for them to be topped up each time I went to the bar. All of the bar staff did this, so it must be a management directive to serve short pints… Disgraceful as each one costs £3.30. It also took a while to get served during the early afternoon as there was only one barman and he also had to sort out teas and coffees. A little later in the afternoon another two staff were behind the bar so there was no problem.

I'm not a big fan of pubs being ‘gastrofied' but in this case I think that it was well worth it.

On 12th May 2008 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3592 recommendations about 3571 pubs]