Party Earth Review Rumor has it that Queen Elizabeth I granted the pub’s liquor license to none other than Sir Walter Raleigh – but incredible history aside, The Old Queen’s Head has certainly kept up with the times, playing host to up-and... ... read full review
44 Essex Road
Islington, London N1 8LN
Northern Line: Angel
020 7354 9993
M–W, Su noon–midnight, Th noon–1am, F–Sa noon–2am
Kitchen usually closes at 10pm, 9pm on Sundays
Camden Town / Islington, London –
Rumor has it that Queen Elizabeth I granted the pub’s liquor license to none other than Sir Walter Raleigh – but incredible history aside, The Old Queen’s Head has certainly kept up with the times, playing host to up-and-coming DJs and bands and holding lots of hedonistic parties.
The main bar area is classically British, with an historic 17th-century fireplace, stag’s head, and antler light fixtures creating a rugged vibe.
Rocker-chic Londoners take over the leather sofas and worn wooden tables to warm up with mojitos and daiquiris or sample the curated selection of beer and wine – though most are waiting for a small neon sign to declare the “Upstairs Is Open.” When it does, the up-for-it crowd beelines for the stairs, swarming into the second floor room with its peeling walls and aged paintings to await the night’s act.
The performers’ music styles usually get louder as the weekend approaches, with promoter-led nights involving indie, rock, and electro bands, as well as big name DJs.
Pub quizzes and comedy nights make the historic-meets-hipster-cool space attractive even to the less musically inclined, while wannabe singers can book the private karaoke room, complete with a “booze button” for when the liquor runs dry and the singing gets painful.
A long-standing institution that manages to keep things fresh without losing its centuries of style, The Old Queen’s Head has London’s musical pulse…squarely on its shoulders.
Hip party people, live music and DJ fans, dance-happy groups, and in-the-know undergrounders, 20s to 30s.
Live music or DJs nightly on the second floor.
Riotous Pub Quiz on Tuesdays includes dance-offs, face painting, free shots, and cash prizes; Thursdays feature the freshest up-and-coming indie and electro bands; and Sunday Social offers a lively end-of-week roast that runs all day.
Private karaoke room available for rent for up to fifteen people.
Full menu of traditional fare including burgers, steak sandwiches, mac and cheese, and vegetarian platters. Saturday brunch and proper British roast on Sundays.
Outside seating on benches out front and in a small backyard garden.
Cover charge £0–£5 (ground floor always free except Fridays and Saturdays after 8pm). Brunch £3.50–£8.75, Sunday roast £7–£19.50, bar snacks £3.50–£5.50, entrées £7–£15, desserts £4.50.
Beer £4, wine and champagne £4–£8/glass or £15–£45+/bottle, cocktails £7.50–£8.50. Karaoke room £20–£40/hour, free on Sundays.
Hipster casual to rocker chic: graphic t-shirts, vintage-wear, stylish club dresses, funky trainers, jeans.
Mondays for 2-for-1 cocktails, Tuesdays for quiz night, Thursdays for indie and electro music, Fridays and Saturdays for the largest crowds and longest lines, and Sundays for Sunday Social.
Best night depends on the scheduled act, and due to the varied lineup, any night can draw a line out the door by 9 or 10pm.
Barrio North (45 Essex Road) is a lively Latino bar with a chaotic mishmash of graffiti art and reclaimed furnishings including a vintage caravan, lots of DJ-infused house music, and a long list of tequila-based cocktails.