So I finally made it to the Southampton Arms. When the penny dropped I was so close there was no way that was going to slip through my fingers. Lovely lovely. Grub is limited to hunks of meat, pork pies etc. No silly reserved signs on tables. Great mixed up crowd which always works. Very like my other fave The Shakespeare in that respect – a good smattering of rockabillies. Everyone in here was seriously drunk but not in a horrible way: I thought that it was a legacy of a hot day near the heath but no – these guys are serious beer and cider tourists. ‘18 handpulls of cider and artisan beers’. So the clientele likes to work systematically from left to right along the bar. Live music during the week. Little yard out the back. Go. Best coupled with the Heath, a dip in the ponds another drink at The Junction on Fortess Rd with a huge pub garden and a trip to the SE Asian restaurant Bintang in Kentish Town after which also has a little slightly scruffy (rustic?) but amenable yard out the back.
Southampton Arms, 139 Highgate Road, London NW5 ILE
Transport: Kentish Town/Gospel Oak.