Southampton Arms, NW5

The Southampton Arms is one of those pubs I’ve been meaning to get along to for ages. It’s not particularly hard to get to but isn’t really in any of my normal haunts so it took an extra special cycling trip to get me over there.

Multi-modal outside the arms

The Southampton Arms, NW5

Located on Highgate Road, NW5 a short walk from Gospel Oak station it has a small unassuming entrance. Inside you find a wooden bar, a fairly traditional décor and a lot of choice.

Many pumps

Many pumps

We counted 10 ales and 8 ciders, with two keg taps hidden on the right serve Camden brewery’s lager and red for those who prefer their beer pasteurised. It was reasonably quiet at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon, but it isn’t a gastropub meal place – so it isn’t going attract the hordes of families looking for a Sunday roast.  I was certainly happy to grab some pie with my pint though!

Pie and Pint

Pie and Pint - a specialism!

I chose Truman’s Runner to accompany my pie. It was in really good condition, but I still haven’t clicked with the runner. Not sure what it is but it doesn’t grab me.  The Buntingford brewery ‘spalt select‘ was rather nice.  Warm weather isn’t far away (at least I hope not), so now is a good time for dark beers to give way for light.  Given the large number and variety of cider on offer I’m sure I’ll be back later in the year for some appley goodness.  The Southampton Arms is a must visit if you happen to be in NW5 – or maybe if you’ve just been to the top of Parliament Hill and back.

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Mason & Taylor, E1

Mason & Taylor

Mason & Taylor - Bethnal Green Road, E1

Mason & Taylor is East London’s newest bar. Located just up Bethnal Green road from Shoreditch High St station in a former restaurant building, it is just into the east proper.

Mason & Taylor

Interior

Fittingly for the times, the interior is quite austere,  with wooden chairs that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1950s school.  Neither is there a false ceiling, with all the building elements exposed inside it gives a very simple pleasing atmosphere. Of course, the real focus is the beer.

Beer

Beer - Darkstar Hophead

The house beer is Darkstar Hophead (£3.20 per pint) and for the opening the Thornstar hybrid along with a Pictish beer appeared on the remaining 2 or the 3 handpumps.  To compliment the ales, there are 8 keg taps ranging from Bitburger German Pils to the local Camden brewery’s Helles beer (unavailable on Friday). Lastly a vast range of bottled beers are on offer – 40 featuring British Ales, Belgian, German, Dutch, American… Several London breweries are featuring including Camden, Kernel, Brodies and Meantime. Interestingly within the beer menu beers are not categorised by type but by style and taste – this could be a very good move for the less adventurous as the bitters and lagers are all mixed in together.

Beer Menu

The Beer Menu

Prices range from £3.20 pp to £4.80 pp depending on the beer, with most bottles priced around £4. There is also a food menu…

Mason and Taylor opens on Monday 13 December.

Date of visit 10/12/2010