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Picture of The Starting Gate
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Submitted on Sunday, 15th September 2019
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The Starting Gate, N22

Pub added by elizabeth mcgraw
Station Road
N22 7SS
Phone: 02088899436
Correct details

Reviews of The Starting Gate (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Steve of N21 left this review about The Starting Gate

This is another pub I have utilised on many occasions over the years but somehow amazingly never got round to reviewing it on Pubs Galore. It’s a fine Victorian corner pub, both inside and outside, as described by others below. For those of us who live on the Moorgate to Hertford North line it is ideally placed opposite Alexandra Palace train station and when I mistime the walk down the hill from the Palace and just miss a train (which I do frequently), it’s a great spot to enjoy a pint whilst waiting for the next half hourly service.
Originally built in 1875, at the same time as the opening of the second Alexandra Palace (the first one opened in 1873 and completely burnt down 16 days after opening), it was originally the Palace Café before becoming a pub in 1896, when it became known as the Alexandra Palace Hotel. When the Great Eastern Railway station opposite opened in 1906 it became the Alexandra Palace and Railway Hotel, subsequently known as the Railway Hotel.
In my position as a guide for both the Park and the Palace I feel I need to correct the mistake below that the pub then changed its name to the Starting Gate in 1958 when the Horse racing track originally opened. This is not true, and you should be careful what you blindly copy form WhatPub as CAMRA do not always get their facts correct. The Horse Racing track in the park originally opened on Tuesday 30th June 1868, even before the original Palace was built and had been running for some 87 years before the pub changed its name. The course started putting on floodlit evening meetings in 1955 and the pub was probably renamed sometime after to try and attract the pre and post evening meet crowds. When the track was finally closed in 1970 at some point the pub became known just as the Gate before sensibly reverting to the original name a few years ago.
It has retained several interesting and original internal features (as correctly described on CAMRA’s Heritage Interiors listing) but the multi room set up has now gone and it is possible to walk completely around the central bar.
Pre Covid it was beginning to get a bit of a local reputation for interesting ale options, but unfortunately post covid it hasn’t really got its act together and like the reviewer below I too have suffered several false starts (see what it did there!) on recent visits. For example, my early evening visit last Wednesday got me originally excited when I walked in to all four pumps badged with Dark star Skylab, Sharp’s Solar Wave, Hogs Back Surrey Nirvana and Birmingham Brewing Company Blonde Brummie. Well, I was excited until I spotted the dreaded “Coming Soon” tag on the latter two. Oh well still two decent beers to choose from. But then the conversation went thus:-
Me: “A pint of Skylab please”
Barmaid: “Sorry that is off”
Me: “Really?, OK I’ll try the Solar Wave Please”
Pump splutters and finally there is something in the glass…
Barmaid: “Er Please try it, It might be gone as well”
Me: “Ughh, no you are right that’s not good. Anyway I am in no hurry I’ll wait until you put a new barrel on of either of those”
Barmaid: “No sorry, only the manager changes the barrels and he won’t be in till tomorrow”
Now I do not agree with Tris on many things, but I will certainly agree with him that is not the type of behaviour that gets you in the GBG.
I would still recommend a visit to look at what is a splendid example of Victorian Pub architecture and just hope you time your visit to when the current manager could be arsed to put a barrel of ale on.

On 18th August 2023 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2156 recommendations about 2028 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about The Starting Gate

Sporting two Taylor Walker sign frames, this dates from 1875 when neighbouring Alexandra Palace was built and was originally a café – the Palace Hotel – which had become a pub by 1896, the current interior – CAMRA inventory considered to be Regionally Historic – dating from an 1899 refit, grade II-listed, the current name dating from 1958 with the arrival of the former racecourse.
The partitioned interior with its snob screens, cut and etched glass and mirrors is indeed very fine, with photos and description on CAMRA’s site; furniture is traditional with some oxblood banquettes, but with what appears to be a modern extension to the rear. There’s little in the way of décor – the pub doesn’t really need it – other than vases of cut flowers, then little posies in glass bottles to tables. Customers were few in number for a Friday, mixed in age and surely all local.
The ale front initially appeared to be fairly enticing, with Salopian Shropshire Gold, Pride, Vocation Heart & Soul and Willy Crafty Fox. However, they all had a ‘Coming Soon’ tag on each pump. And on a Friday. Really? Is this pub so incompetent that it can’t get a single cask ale up and running on what is frequently the busiest day of the week? Or is it that the pub doesn’t in fact actually do real ale anymore. In fact, I’ve since learnt that this policy has cost the pub consideration for inclusion in the GBG 2024. Reluctantly, I had to settle for a half of Camden Pale (a painful £3.15), served by an instantly forgettable member of staff.
This place is worth a look for the heritage factor, but it’s a faff to reach and the lack of cask is a disincentive.

On 7th February 2023 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2014 recommendations about 1980 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Bucking Fastard left this review about The Starting Gate

A classic Victoria London boozer,with an island bar,buttoned back leather bench seating ,traditional furniture ,a solid dark wooden floor and tiled fireplace with a wood framed mirror above,all split into different sections by wooden dividers with etched glass.It has a traditional feel and care has been taken with decorations to maintain an authentic interior.To one side there is a more modern corridor with exposed brickwork and seating booths opposite which in turn leads to a small external terrace with wicker furniture.
There were real flowers at each table,and a short menu of sandwiches and pub grub but food doesn't dominate while the muzak was well chosen and not too loud.
Although there were 5 handpumps ,only two were working on my Friday afternoon visit with an enjoyable Harviestoun Summer Legends (at a ridiculous £4.25 for a 3.5% ABV) and Doom Bar together with a few standard kegs.
With a Monday quiz,and a friendly welcome I expect this is well used by local people and I thought the interior was worth inspecting.Opposite Ally Pally station and worth using if you are going to an event.

On 11th August 2017 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2756 recommendations about 2756 pubs]

View more reviews of The Starting Gate (7)
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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Steve C
Alexandra Palace, 0.04 miles, 0 min walk (show)
Bowes Park, 0.85 miles, 16 min walk (show)
Hornsey, 1.22 miles, 23 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Starting Gate, N22
18th Aug 2023, 14:08
Review submitted by Steve of N21 amended by Steve of N21
15th Aug 2023, 16:08
Review submitted by Steve of N21 amended by Steve of N21

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Accommodation : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Beer Garden : Yes last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • CAMRA Discount : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Car Park : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Darts : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 25 October 2012 by hondo .
  • Jukebox : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Karaoke : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Live Music : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Live TV Sports : Yes - Selective. - last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Micropub : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Pinball : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Pool Table : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Quiz Night : No - Monday night - last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Real Ale : No - In theory yes, in practice no. - last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Real Cider : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • Wheelchair Access : Yes - Disabled WC. - last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
  • WiFi : No last updated 07 February 2023 by Tris C
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