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Where to Drink: Beer Gardens in North London

6 April 2019 | Billie Manning

The best sun traps for a pint or three across the northern end of the capital

Spotlight on: Faltering Fullback
The Faltering Fullback is something of a legend in North London. If you’ve ever lived remotely near Finsbury Park, it’s probably the place you flock to as soon as the sun's out, or when temperatures soar to a baking 15 degrees (after taking your top off, of course), and it’s all because of that beer garden. If you haven’t been, the beer garden you are imagining is not the beer garden of reality. Is there grass? No. Umbrellas? No. Can it even really be called a garden? Debatable.
 
That’s because when the owners first moved into the pub, they realised the only way to make the tiny space out back into a proper good place to drink in the summer, there was only one way they could go: up. What we have now is a lovely multi-level ‘garden’, with decking heading up into the clouds (well, nearly), potted plants and flowers, and heaters for wintertime.

But there’s more to the Fullback than just the beer garden. The outside is covered in bright floral displays, so hanging around outside or sitting on the steps is a just-about-alright substitute for a spot in the garden. Inside, the circular bar area creates several cosy corners for when the weather’s a bit more British outside. And then there’s yet another area where you can watch sports on several screens or chow down on some Thai food at long benches.

Alwyne Castle pub beer garden
© Alwyne Castle via Facebook

Best of the rest:
Crooked Billet
What? Buzzy pub
Where? Clapton, two steps from the station
Why? The garden is huge, with fairy lights, a ping-pong table and several seating areas including covered areas and heaters for cold evenings
 
Alwyne Castle
What? Pub with a conservatory and courtyard out front
Where? Just down from Highbury & Islington, towards Canonbury
Why? If you don’t want to ever forget you’re in the city, but you do want to share an evening with friends – the garden borders St Paul’s Road and you definitely won’t run out of space here
 
The Spaniards Inn
What? A country-style pub on the heath with a few ghost stories behind it
Where? Hampstead Heath
Why? Apart from its spoooooky backstory, the wood-panelled interior is characterful and cosy, and the garden is perfect for lazing about in after a walk on the Heath
 
The Edinboro Castle
What? Gastropub serving tapas
Where? Camden Town
Why? The bright and colourful interior, and the bright and colourful exterior. Plus, you’ll never feel more summery than eating tapas on their white-painted benches
 
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