Monday, 16 January 2012

The Walk from My Flat to the Pub

The walk from the York Way Estate, where I live to the Admiral Mann, where I drink is not the prettiest stroll in London but one I have come to realise one brimming with traditional London businesses and brilliant shops.  You meet interesting local characters and find beneath the veneer of what many might call a scruffy area, is a working class neighbourhood that in many ways embodies true London life. The following is by no means all of what's on offer, but a slice of what stands out for me.

We start our journey at the estate I call home, the York Way Estate N7. Built on a former cattle market the land is owned by the Corporation of London and it is they who built the housing in 1969 in what is now the London Borough of Islington.

 Turning right, and crossing the road I am now in the London Borough of Camden, living as I do on the border between these esteemed local authority divisions.  At number 3 Camden Park Road, NW1 is Andrew's barber shop, so I shall pop in here for my usual number one clipper job all over.  Andrew, originally from Cyprus opened this shop on 1st of May 1969 and is a stalwart of the area. He is a true gent and legendary figure.  His charismatic son also is often on duty.  A place to come for banter, wisecracks, and outspoken opinions.  More about Andrew's on here:

Following the joys of a fresh haircut, my walk takes a rather sad turn, as further down the road an old laundrette is on it's last day of business.  A typical example of an un-refurbished classic business of a dying breed. The signs. machines, and furnishings all look very old. I thought I'd grab some photos of the place by way of some quick historical document. I don't know a lot about the shop, as we have our own washing machine at home, but no doubt this has been a feature of the area since the 1960's or beyond and indeed the propriator tells me some fashion and film shoots were done inside due to the period decor:
Back across the road now and onto Kris's beer shop, at 394 York Way N7, to get a bottle of beer for later. Kris is a Sri Lankan Tamil and another true gentleman.  He start the shop in 2001 as a regular off licence, but since that market is so competitive he had the brilliant idea to specialise in obscure, imported, and traditional beers.  On one shelf from floor to ceiling is German lagers, another Belgium Trappist beers, another still British bottled ale. Pretty much anything you want Kris has it. Also all kinds of wine, ciders, and spirits. True paradise for a CAMRA member like me to have this in the neighbourhood.  Their official website here:
Next is Austin Flowers at 396 York Way, a proper London grocers. The guys who run this place are salt of the earth geezers who certainly know their onions! They sell high quality fruit and veg at very good prices, driven in each morning from the New Covent Garden market south of the river. They also drink at the pub I will end up at so they are always up for a chat or to exchange cookery tips.
 And finally, after crossing Camden Road and onto Brecknock Road, I turn left and find the Admiral Mann at 9 Hargrave Place, N7 0BP.  A backstreet boozer, one of the few traditional ones left, I was delighted to find this place since they serve my favourite beer, McMullen's Country Bitter.  Very friendly staff and regulars, and a very fat pub cat called Smokey, this is by far the best pub anywhere near this area.  So time for a refreshing pint. 

The review on here is spot on:,_9_Hargrave_Place&Pub=175

Above: notice Smokey the cat on his favourite stool.
Chris and I have a game of darts.
Peyvand wonders if somebody spiked her drink (they hadn't).


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a wonderful tour of your home-world.