The Hobgoblin / Devonshire Arms – Camden

9 11 2010

 

The Hobgoblin in Camden holds the distinction of being the longest surving “Goth” pub in London, both in it’s current guise as the Hobgoblin and under it’s previous name “The Devonshire Arms”.

 I say previous name but the sign for the Devonshire still hangs on the wall and most regulars and locals still refer to it as the Dev’

It’s close proximity to Slimelight has probably played no small part in the longevity of the pub as it ideally situated for having a few drinks before going on to the club.

As previously mentioned The Hobgoblin is primarily a Goth pub and it’s decor reflects this with black being the pre-eminent colour inside the 3 storey mock Tudor building. The walls are liberally covered in posters and flyers for various goth and metal bands and there are the odd pieces of gothic paraphenalia; gargoyles and the like.

I don’t know if it is still the case now but last time I was in The Hobgoblin/Dev the tables had been covered over with various “calling cards” and clippings from porno mags, perhaps not the most child friendly or PC of coverings but woudl you really be in here with your kids or your nan? Probably not.

The toilets in here are and have always been vile, they smell as if a tramp and his friends have taken up permanent residence and they don’t look much better. It is probably for the best that there is no food offering here as I wouldn’t like to think that the hands that touched my sandwich had been in these loos.

The music in here is always good playing a nice mix of classic rock and punk in amongst the heavier metal tracks and there is often a DJ playing of an evening.

There used to be a dress code up until a few years back but that was more to deter trouble makes then to be a pain, now there isn’t officially a dress code as such but you do stand out if you are wearing anything much brighter then black… the admittance policy is now far shorter and to the point – No Wankers.  A policy that I wish far more pubs would operate by.

The quality of the beer can be a little hit and miss but the selection is normally good, last time I was in there were a couple of Wychwood ales on tap along with London Pride.

All in all the Hobgoblin/Dev is alright, the music is good, the decor is interesting and most of the staff and customers are friendly enough.

On the downside the beer can be less then stellar, the hygiene is from the dark ages (cant say I’m overly bothered though) and there are occasionally some overly agressive old dossers in there trying to mooch drinks.

But don’t let that put you off, there are far worse places to have a drink – the world’s end springs to mind and really no trip to Camden would be complete without a pint or two here.

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The Kings Ford – Chingford E4

22 10 2010
The King’s Ford
250-252 Chingford Mount Road
Chingford
E4 8JL
Phone
020 8523 9365

The Kings Ford is part of the JD Wetherspoon chain of pubs and as always with Wetherspoon pubs you mostly know whar you are gonig to get before you even enter the door.

There is the usual cheap, cheerful and filling pub grub there are the same specials nights and same offers that you see scrawled on chalk boards the length and breadth of the country.

There is also the same bittersweet feeling that accompanies all Wetherspoon venues; I always feel a pang of dissapointment that the pub in question is part of a chain and isn’t an independant local free from the whims of big busines. However at the same time this is always offset by the fact that if Wetherspoons weren’t around there would be even fewer pubs then there now are and far fewer pubs would serve real ale

All that aside the King’s Ford isn’t a bad little pub; certainly it is one of the few options if you want to drink well kept real ales at a pub in Waltham Forest and that alone makes it worth a mention.

You certainly wouldn’t visit the King’s Ford for the decor, it is dark and dingy inside and looks like it is overdue a spot of renovation, but then I guess Wetherspoon have bigger fish to fry then the wallpaper of a pub in Chingford.

The atmosphere in the pub is nice enough during the day and in early evenings when it is mostly old men passing the day away enjoying a cheap pint or 5. Over the weekend it does get busy, the cheap price of drinks makes it a popular place for people to start the night off before heading on elswe as such there can be a distinct lack of seating from about 8.30 onwards.

Service is normally good and the pub seems really well run, the current management are strict on checking ID which seems to deter a lot of the underage kids that often make a Wetherspoon pub their home from home.

There are usually at least 5 ales on tap and the selection is good, even by Wetherspoon standards. Last time I was in the King’s Ford they had Abbot Ale, Greene King IPA, Rudgate Ruby Mild and two beers from the Brentwood Brewery – Chockwork Orange and Hope & Glory.

I can really recommend the Chockwork Orange, it is a beautifully complex dark ale coming in at a pleasant 6.5%.

As well as the real ales on tap they also had a cider that managed to fall outside of the usual strongbow or magners selection  in this case it was Weston’s Marcle Hill.

If you are looking for a traditional English pub full of character then the King’s Ford probably isn’t the pub for you, but if you are looking for a good selection of real ales at a great price and happen to be in the area then give it a go.








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