When it’s cold, rainy, and miserable outside, The Drapers Arms will give you a big, warm hug.
This Islington pub and restaurant has to be one of the finest spots for a roast in London. And while the roaring fireplaces make it an excellent go-to on a cold winter’s day, it’s just as resplendent in summer when punters spill into the secluded back garden (with big umbrellas for rain or shine).
You’ll find it tucked away on a side street about halfway between Angel and Highbury & Islington stations, housed in a genteel, powder-blue Georgian building. Downstairs is the rambunctious pub element of the equation, with battered tables and chairs orbiting a bright green central bar. Here you’ll find a solid selection of beers and ales on tap, with a regularly changing line-up of guest brews. Upstairs is a more serene dining space with soaring ceilings, candelabras and a chequerboard floor; a private hire room that’s worth knowing about.
And so: the food. This is a quintessential gastropub, so we’re talking (mostly) British cooking given some serious spruce. Start out with roasted Jerusalem artichokes with goat’s cheese and honey; salmon cured in gin and beetroot; or charcuterie platters to share, laden with meats, celeriac remoulade and toast. Mains come hefty as you like, with roasted root veg & pearl barley risotto; an old-school suet crust chicken & leek pie and beef forerib with chips all worth investigating. Tables are hardest to come by on Sundays, though, when the mother of all roasts is served alongside giant, puffed-up Yorkshire puds and top-tier roasties.
Should you have any room left for dessert, you can plug the gaps with classic puds from Guinness cake and fruit crumbles to a Neal’s Yard cheeseboard with ale chutneys. And to wash it all down, there’s a faintly glorious list of mostly old-world wines that come in generous half-litre carafes.
Perfect for when you need to sit out a rainstorm.
NOTE: The Drapers Arms is open daily for drinks, lunch and dinner. Booking ahead is definitely advised – you can do that, and find out more, HERE.
The Drapers Arms | 44 Barnsbury Street, Islington, London, N1 1ER
Love pubs with good grub? Check out The Marksman.