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Knowhere Special Islington

Modesty’s never been our strong point.

Which is funny, because we have so many others.

Knowhere Special, on the other hand, is far more brilliant than its humble name would suggest. And in spite of its attempts to draw no attention to itself whatsoever, the hidden cocktail bar has achieved such a following in Kentish Town that it’s now spawned a sister site in Islington.

The space is considerably more expansive than the original, but they’ve managed to keep it feeling cosy with a couple of distinct areas. At the front, you’ll find candlelit tables for two and retro lounge chairs; further in is the dining room with tables for 4-6 overlooking the open kitchen, and a fuchsia pink grand piano. And further beyond that is the heated beer garden, furnished with an eclectic bunch of picnic benches, baroque mirrors and arts & crafts antique sideboards.

Like its forebear, Knowhere Special’s speciality is cocktails. And here you’ll find a remarkable line-up on the menu, each featuring some kind of liqueur, infusion or distillate crafted in-house (check out the library of home-brew bottles behind the bar). There’s the Pistachio & Apple, a moreish cloudy concoction capped with thick white foam and freeze-dried raspberry; the Prune & Walnut, stirring prune-infused bourbon, black walnut bitters and Amaro Montenegro; and the Pear & Cinnamon; a steaming hot toddy with spiced whisky and a sprinkling of nutmeg, served in a dimpled pint glass.

And what about that open kitchen, you ask? Good question. This is where they’re putting together an array of exceptionally good small plates, from pub classics like vegetarian Scotch eggs with house-made piccalilli; to an exquisite mushroom bhaji dish using four types of mushroom; crispy rabbit croquettes with plum and tarragon; and even larger plates of sirloin steak or slow-cooked brisket. And you can cap that off with a dessert from their daily specials board (the brownie’s too good to share).

knowhere special islington

This rare combination of top-shelf food and drink with a relaxed atmosphere is what makes the spot so winning. This is a neighbourhood bar at heart; with a laid-back vibe and warm service. There are DJs on Friday and Saturday nights. Dogs are encouraged, especially at weekends (when a string quartet provide a brunch soundtrack of classically reworked pop).

So next time you’re looking for a local that’s a cut above…

…you knowhere to go.


NOTE: Knowhere Special Islington is open daily from 8.30am (weekdays) and 12pm (weekends) till late (closing 6pm Mondays). You can find out more, and make a booking, HERE.

Knowhere Special Islington | 190 New North Road, Islington, N1 7BJ

Like neighbourhood cocktail bars? Check out Little Mercies in Crouch End…

The Nudge | The Definitive Insiders' Guide To London

Knowhere Special Islington

190 New North Road, Islington, N1 7BJ
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0203 627 7566

The Nudge | The Definitive Insiders' Guide To London

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The Nudge | The Definitive Insiders' Guide To London