Stepping inside The Old Queen’s Head is akin to entering the sitting room of an old eccentric.
Grand chandeliers hang from the ornate 17th century ceilings, taxidermy adorns the walls and antique curios line the shelves. There’s a roaring open fire and leather sofas to sink into. The opulent backlit bar could have easily been transplanted from one of Jay Gatsby’s legendary shindigs.
Minimalism? Never heard of it, mate.
This is the sort of place you could innocently pop into for a quiet pint, only to stumble out of hours later, having worked your way through the entire cocktail list and danced your heart out on the pulsing dance floor upstairs (and it is pulsating). There’s a strong lineup of weekly events, boasting everything from a pub quiz (Tuesday nights, FYI) to comedy gigs, live music and life drawing. If you’re planning a party, book out the playroom (and, to be clear, it does need to be booked) complete with a karaoke system (which has made it top pick for karaoke bars in London), vintage foosball table, and arcade games. Or just belt out some bangers in the privacy of a 15-person karaoke room.
Don’t expect fine wines or craft beer: in some regards The Old Queen’s is still an old-fashioned pub, and it serves old-fashioned pub drinks. You’ll find all the standard brews on tap, plus a list of classic cocktails that are a fiver all night long on Wednesdays. It’d be rude not to.
Food is just as straightforward. A kitchen takeover by much-loved purveyors of greasy goodness Lucky Chip means classic American-style cheeseburgers (including two veggie options), with sides like buffalo hot wings, meatballs and cauli tacos. On Sundays, come for a hangover-curing roast with all the trimmings.
Amidst a proliferation of pared-back wine bars and polished gastropubs, this beloved watering hole remains stuck in its gloriously unaffected ways.
God save The Old Queen’s Head.
NOTE: The Old Queen’s Head is open every day from noon (till 2am Fri, and 3am Sat). You can make a booking, and find out more right HERE.
The Old Queen’s Head | 44 Essex Road, N1 8LN
While you’re in the neighbourhood… here’s our run-down of the best bars in Islington