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Tapping the Admiral, NW1

Pub added by Tris C
77 Castle Road

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

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Tris C left this review about Tapping the Admiral

This was originally the Trafalgar Tavern (never Castle) then Fuzzock & Firkin before becoming the scruffy Tavern in the Town. Being off the beaten track, the only people who visit tend to be those who are in the know. I first came here just after the reopening and complained that it was infested with riff-raff with the foulest language in all of Christendom. Perhaps management cleared them out as several visits later, they are no more. Boarded up for around four years, it just goes to show what can be done with a little imagination: now double winner of the CAMRA North London branch Pub of the Year (2013 and 2015) and currently on CAMRA’s shortlist for the Top 5 London pubs.
This is a lively boozer with much knick-knacks and a slightly nautical slant though hardly an annoying Jolly Jack Tar theme pub. There’s an old metal Truman’s sign and this being one of their former pubs, may once have been mounted outside. Beneath, there’s a real coal fire, next to which was an enormous black cat with white paws, looking for all the world like the Egyptian Bastet, reclining on his miniature chaise longue, oblivious to the mandolin folk band and people singing along. There are food menus on the tables offering quite adventurous fayre though this isn’t a gastropub, grub revolving around the humble though hand-made pie.
As with my last visit in October 2016, the barman asked if I had a CAMRA card; the pub also participates in the CAMRA LocAle scheme. Ales: 12 pumps (one double-clipped) so too many to record but my pint of Bermondsey Best was £3.90 which was very good and amazingly cheap for London.
With the added benefit of a midnight licence Wednesday to Saturday, this is a great pub.

On 17th February 2018 - rating: 9
[User has posted 953 recommendations about 939 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alan Winfield left this review about Tapping the Admiral

The Tapping the Admiral is a decent looking pub that is set in back streets,so not that easy to find.
Once inside the bar faces in an L shaped room that is bare boarded,there are pew seats and small stools to the front and a mid height drinking shelf to the left with stools,there are normal tables and chairs elsewhere.
There was a very good choice of real ales on the bar,i had a drink of New River Twin Spring,which was a really well kept beer,the other real ales i noted were Great Heck Navigator,Trumans Bow Bells and Southwark London Pale Ale.
There was decent background music playing.
I thought this was a top notch pub,one i could settle in.

Pub visited 2/6/2017

On 7th August 2017 - rating: 9
[User has posted 6113 recommendations about 6113 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Danny O'Revey left this review about Tapping the Admiral

Lovely traditional pub, high ceilings, well laid out with L-shaped bar. Good choice of real ales.

On 19th June 2017 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1276 recommendations about 1253 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about Tapping the Admiral

Off the beaten track ,a charming street corner local with quite a small interior but a very traditional feel.There are lots of references to Admiral Nelson and the story of how his dead body was stored in a vat of rum only for the sailors to tap it,and drink it dry.There are two legs either side of the L shaped bar with a lot of traditional furniture ,while there is a large covered courtyard out the back with space heaters which can accomodate a lot of folk.The clientele is very varied in the best pub tradition with building workers,students,hipsters and a few CAMRA regulars ,although some were bar blocking on stools infront of the handpumps,a slight fly in the ointment.
Service was excellent ,I was asked if I was a CAMRA member and the offered a discount without even producing my card,and the same courtesy was extended to my drinking colleagues throughout our long Friday night session.The pub is also well regarded for food ,and the pies looked and smelt good,and were according to my mate from Preston among the best he has ever tasted.Strangely few other people were eating,it had a very solid boozer atmosphere.
At the bar there are 10 handpumps ,with two double clipped offering 4 real ciders while on my visit the pub were featuring ales from West Berkshire Brewery namely Good Old Boy,Maggs Mild,Mr Swifts Pale Ale,Mr Chubbs Lunchtime Bitter and Dr Hexter's Healer.As Sir Humphrey Appleby would say,this was a very brave decision but at least there were two other options in ELB Quadrant Oatmeal Stout and Wadworth Horizon.All the ale we sampled was perfectly conditioned but with so many from a rather secondary brewer,I have to deduct at least one point from my rating.Maybe we were just unlucky but having tried most of the ale between us,we did slope off to find something more exciting at the Camden Town Brewery sad to say.
However it's a great pub with a wonderful atmosphere ,so I will be back but will check next time on their Twitter feed to avoid being blindsided by one of their "takeover " nights if I dont rate the brewer they are featuring.

A lunchtime visit was greeted by a full selection of Wadworth ales.The ethos here of giving over the entire ale selection to one brewer would really work if their choice of brewer was from a top division player. Although all ales were in top condition ,having travelled down from the Southampton Arms this was a relative disappointment.However the pie I ate was fantastic,so there's the dilemma.

On 23rd June 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2054 recommendations about 2054 pubs]

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Ian Mapp left this review about Tapping the Admiral

Possibly my favourite of the night.

Great interior decoration. Interesting ales - I went for a Mister Chubbs from the West Berkshire Brewery.

Would come back again - worth seeking out.

Some photos at my walking blog -

On 4th March 2016 - rating: 9
[User has posted 641 recommendations about 635 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about Tapping the Admiral

An excellent way to finish of a small crawl of Kentish Town and really isn’t that much of a detour from Kentish Town West overground station but far enough away from Chalk Farm Road and Kentish Town road to mean it has to be searched out by those in the know.
But well worth searching out it is with its seven ales and two ciders and very comfortable nautical themed decor and pleasant secluded outside drinking area. I managed to get a table on the far side of the bar and could have stayed here all evening. I was so comfortable I forgot to note the available beers except for the very respectable ELB Foundation Bitter I had.
Will definitely return

On 17th January 2016 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1699 recommendations about 1648 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about Tapping the Admiral

Even better than my previous visit 18 months ago, a real boozer and a must visit, upgraded to 9/10.
Dec 2013
A very good little boozer,tucked away down a side street and not particularly pretty to look at from the outside,but this adds to its charm for me and once inside it has a lived in feel about it and a natural good atmosphere that cant be manufactured. From memory there were seven Ales on handpump and one cider, these included Darkstar Hophead,an Adnams, Ghostship I think, I didn't note down all the beers,a couple of less common beers from sharps and couple more non usual suspects I Fail to remember. My London Fields Black Frost Stout at 6% was a little strong for only the third pub in of the day but was excellent and well worth it .There were a few customers scattered around but on a Saturday lunchtime with live football on you would expect it to be a little busier.Hidden gem is a phrase that irritates me for some unknown reason, but if ever there was one this is it, more than worth a return visit.

On 31st May 2015 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1325 recommendations about 1311 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about Tapping the Admiral

Excellent pub! So allow a bit of time for your visit here. The pub is traditional in décor and has a good relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We went for the Windsor and Eton Knight of the Garter, which was in great shape. The barman asked us if we were Camra members for discount, when one of the regular ale drinkers replied, 'I'm in here every week and you don't ask me if I'm a Camra member', so the initial humour was well received. Another regular here is the pub's cat named Nelson, who lies on a shelf over the radiator near the front door. Eight ales and two ciders to choose from on this visit.

On 4th February 2015 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2976 recommendations about 2976 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Tapping the Admiral

Quite close to Kentish Town West station, but hidden away in a side street and not the sort of place you would find by chance. Unremarkable façade, but the interior of the 'J'-shaped bar is comfortable with pleasingly traditional furniture and decor. Offers an excellent range of beers and ciders from ten handpumps, including a fine pint of Franklins Smoked Porter. Well worth seeking out.

On 22nd October 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 6000 recommendations about 6000 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Aqualung . left this review about Tapping The Admiral

This is an unspoilt back street boozer of the kind that has largely disappeared in London.
It's a small single bar corner pub with wooden floors right next to the North London Line viaduct. The surrounding area is a mix of gentrified terraces and newer council estates.
As has been said before, it was once the Trafalgar but I am unable to find which of the Big Six brewers originally owned it. The earliest reference I can find is of it selling GK IPA and Abbot, so it appears to have been a Greene King house for a time and was later part of the Firkin chain, both surprising as it IS off the beaten track.
On my visit seven of the eight pumps were in use with Dark Star Hophead, Adnam's Broadside, Redemption Felloship Porter, Twickenham Strange Brew, Windsor & Eton Canberra, London Fields Shoreditch Triangle and another London area brew that I failed to write down.

It was quiet on my early afternoon weekday visit but despite this the two beers I tried were in superb condition, the Fellowship and Shoreditch Triangle both at £3.50 (inclusive of the 30p discount). There were leaflets on the tables advertising a Thai lunch for a fiver, which seems very good value. This is a "must visit" pub in my book, especially given that most pubs of this ilk tend to open late on weekday afternoons. Be warned though, although it is geographically very close to Kentish Town West station, there does not seem to be a direct route between there and the pub.

On 10th October 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

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