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Halifax Crawl - 21 June 2024 with Tris39 on the Pub Forum

Wenlock & Essex, Islington, N1

Suncourt House, 18-26 Essex Road
N1 8LN

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 5 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Wenlock & Essex

Blessed with a pretty good location on the main Essex Road, this is an interesting modernisation of a traditional pub, to create a contemporary craft beer bar. You enter through a revolving door, which is a rare feature for pubs these days and felt like it might itself become extinct were I to push too hard. You’re taken into an L-shaped main bar with the servery to the rear left. The bar has a green painted wooden counter with a chunky top and metal frame bar back. Large sliding front windows open out to the pavement, where a few benches have been arranged for those who enjoy a lungful of exhaust fumes with their beer. Scruffy wooden tables and chairs run along the front of the room, offering a bright spot for those wanting to read, work or do a bit of people-watching. A similar row runs through the centre of the room, whilst some padded banquettes can be found to the left under some pretty naff wallpaper decorated with Victorian-era portraits. The right-hand side of the room has some button backed sofas and more tables and chairs arranged in a space that seems to run a fair way back, past some large side windows that provide some much-needed natural light. To the left of the bar, there is a spacious carpeted area with more banquette booths around all of the walls and a door with a neon sign above reading ‘Satan’s Circus’, which presumably leads through to some sort of performance space, although I didn’t venture through myself. The ceiling throughout the pub is very attractive thanks to its decorative lintels, roses and feature panels, making it perhaps the pub’s standout feature.
The pub seems to have gone for a craft-keg only approach, as there are no handpulls on the bar, so after a quick look through the interesting keg range I plumped for a pint of the Beavertown Neck Oil, which came in at an eye-watering £5.50. The bar staff were very nice and displayed zen-like patience when their card machine decided to conk out on one of the few occasions I had no cash on me.
I thought this place was an interesting example of how to convert a traditional pub into a modern craft beer bar without totally destroying all the features that made it interesting in the first place. The fine ceiling is perhaps the best example of this, but the creation of different seating areas, the ‘proper’ pub service and the quirky revolving door set the place apart from other such ventures. Sadly, the lack of ale and the prohibitive prices mean I’m unlikely to return, but I’m glad I at least managed the one visit.

On 30th September 2019 - rating: 5
[User has posted 3150 recommendations about 3150 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

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

Housed in a dull-looking block and featuring an open-plan layout with lighting and red moulded ceiling that suggests that it was converted from an 'all you can eat' Chinese buffet with the minimum of thought or effort... Not crammed with furniture, thankfully, but the mix of plain wooden tables, a few low booths and a small lounge area hardly inspires (although there is also a row of wooden picnic benches out on the pavement under awnings). The real ale has vanished since my last visit nearly seven years ago, so there is now just a selection of craft beers and a couple of ciders from the pair of seven-tap founts (from which I went for the Camden Gentleman's Wit, £5.00).

On 8th September 2018 - rating: 5
[User has posted 8164 recommendations about 8164 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about Wenlock & Essex

I wouldn't ordinarily go into a venue like this as it has never been a purpose-built pub, but the name appealed as Essex takes its name from the address and Wenlock is the name of the canal basin just to the south which gave its name to the long demolished Wenlock Brewery whose tap - The Wenlock Arms - is a favoured watering hole.
It's clear that this must have been some sort of small 1930s' department store with its rather grand revolving corner door; it reminds me of the Hoxton Electricity Showroom bar.
Inside, it's very spacious with a bare floor, some exposed brick and partially exposed concrete structural columns. It also features an ornate coffered ceiling, painted scarlet with gilded details. The bar's to the rear and features a tubular steel shelf/bar back supporting an extensive array of spirits and liqueurs. Lighting is a bit dim, coming from candle sconce lights. Furniture is either basic old school tables and chairs with some leatherette booth/settles to the rear periphery where décor comprises some period prints to the walls. I didn't spot any TVs but there was a retracted projector screen which may appeal to some. Music played at a fairly sensible level and lavatories are well above average.
A friendly barman and no real ale of course, just three from Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned former craft outlet Camden Town Brewery, with a half of their Pale coming in at a fairly reasonable £2.40.
Overall it's clear that this place is geared towards the trendy younger drinker, but I was surprised that it was better than expected. However, there are far superior real pubs close to Essex Road so a return visit is not predicted, but the Monday to Thursday midnight and Friday and Saturday 2.00 am licences are a mild inducement for a night out.

On 23rd July 2018 - rating: 4
[User has posted 2033 recommendations about 1998 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

custodian 42 left this review about Wenlock & Essex

No real ale on my visit and little else on offer. Not returning to this one.

On 19th January 2017 - rating: 3
[User has posted 1693 recommendations about 1691 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

john gray left this review about Wenlock & Essex

Nice enough large pub with 4 beers on handpump and a few decent keg beers.My Redemption -easy rider was good. Amazing red bling ceiling with lights best viewed at night and a revolving door at the entrance. Wow a revolving door first pub I have seen this in so 3 times round I went. Cool or what. Miss -matched wooden tables and chairs probably salvaged from a primary school were not very comfy.Very friendly bar staff.

On 22nd June 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1023 recommendations about 1009 pubs]