A great place, great staff. And good real ales in a very good condition. I’ll be back (2011)
chriso (713) London, England | September 12, 2012| Updated February 24, 2014
This is a great place with a great range of intersting cask ales and ciders but is something of a victim of its own success. The key is in picking the right time to visit. On weekend evenings it is often so packed that it’s difficult to get through the door. And the narrow shape of the place means it doesn’t cope too well with excessive crowds as, even once you’ve got a drink, there’s not really anywhere to stand away from the bar if all the seats are occupied. There is a garden out back hat can provide overspill space but they have to clear that well before the pub closes, so that can make things even worse. Go in the daytime during the week however and you may well have the place virtually to yourself. If you want to visit the Bull in Highgate, there’s a bus that goes from directly outside the Southampton.
A great little place up in North London that not only has some great beer but some of the best cider in London as well. during the day it is pretty quite with some locals and random’s hanging about but nights, especially Friday and Saturday night it can get pretty crowded. Luckily the vibe is great and so are the people that enjoy great brews there, also there is an outdoor seating area which once you get past the toilets and their smell is a nice place to sit relax and meet some new people as you have a drink or 4. The casks are all in fine form and service has always been better than most London pubs. Selection is not huge but plenty of cask lines and 2 (I think) draft lines serving local premium lager/pale ale. Food is all about pies, pasties and sausage rolls fresh from under the heat lamp. I don’t go there to eat, but they are just great after a session which will never be a quick one there for me! Value is great I think, maybe because it’s not in central London. . . either way I am a big fan! Any excuse to go and I am there.
I finally made it to the Southampton Arms after a couple years of neglect (I mean it is pretty far north...). Located a short walk from both Camden Brewery and BrewDog Camden, so why not hit them all in one trip? Traditional saloon-type bar interior. Conversely, the place is mostly full of the young trendy crowd (hence why I was here). Old-school vinyl music was a pleasant surprise. They focus on ale, cider and meat, so there was no chance this place was going to be bad. Lots of more obscure UK micros on cask, so this is obviously a tickers paradise. All the beers I had were in good condition. Only annoying thing was the woman who served me had pretty much zero beer knowledge.... Anyway a solid place for sure and if I lived nearby I would definitely frequent it.
The Southampton Arms is located in a rather awkward patch of north London, about 10 minutes walk from Kentish Town station. The pub has a great, relaxed, lived-in feeling. The wooden bar seems like its been around for ages, classic rock and jazz play softly from a record player behind the bar. The back garden is nice, with plenty of seating options. The crowd’s pretty hipster, it could be worse. The selection is small but pretty well curated. On my last visit I enjoyed pints from the likes of Otley, Marble, and By The Horns. I don’t think there’s a bottle selection. The food is basic pub snacks (pork pies), though it does look good. Overall, this is a great pub that I’d visit often if it was centrally located.
My son had just moved to this part of North London, so the wife and I decided we’d visit him and The Southampton Arms on the same weekend: the pub had been recommended to us by some London based friends and I knew it was within walking distance of his ‘squat’.
We arrived early afternoon on a winters Saturday and could hardly get through the door, the place was heaving with humanity: our party of seven struggled down the full length of the fairly long but thin, single roomed pub and settled by the piano, my wife getting the stool, the rest of us standing for our first two pints before a group near us departed, leaving a table and chairs available.
They don’t seem to have a chalkboard or beer list anywhere; you have to see the pump clips to know what’s on: difficult when the bar is three deep and the walkway between the bar and seating is blocked by customers also trying to see what is available at each end of the hand pulls. The ciders are easier to see, their taps being behind the servers and clearly visible the whole length of the bar.
The beers I had were all fine and some of my party had some ciders, which again were fine. The staff were good, polite, calm and helpful: on one occasion after squeezing my way to the bar I patiently waited while one lady tried 3 different samples of cider before buying the one she liked, held up my ordering but I suppose that’s how a customer who is unsure should be treated.
The actual pub is very basic in design and concept, no nonsense furniture and fittings along with no nonsense food and drink: meat or cheese, beer or cider, with only a very small choice of wine and spirits, this is a cask house foremost and last. The fame of the place grows and although well off the beaten track for most visiting tourists it is becoming a very popular meeting place for London drinkers and friends who know a thing or two about their drinks.
Hard to get to, but well worth the journey. Probably the freshest bunch of cask ales I’ve ever had in London. Specialises in small UK breweries and the choice was outstanding when I was in, including beers from Redemption, Marble Manchester, Camden and Otley. All served as fresh as a daisy. Pub itself is a cosy, warm place with a retro feel and nice beer garden. Food pairings are wonderful including slices of pork pie, pickled eggs, and other great british fare. Service is also very helpful and friendly. One of my fav pubs in London and hard to beat.
There is always a bit of a treck to get out to this pub on our fairly infrequent visits to London, but it’s always worthwhile, it has the advantage of the bus dropping you right outside the front door though. There is a calm, relaxed atmosphere, although you do have to push through the barfly’s to get to see what’s on offer. There has always been an eclectic range of beers available, for all tastes, and in our experience generally in very good condition. It has been my favourite London pub for a couple of years now and I would recommend a visit if you possibly can.
Really nice old pub that is unfortunately for me is not that easy to get to. Great characterful beer garden out back - it’s cosy though! Well kept beers and good service. All in all a very nice place to while away a few hours.