The Scolt Head
107A Culford Road London N1 4HT

A HOMELY pub which welcomes you into strangely surreal surroundings; with its pseudo-western touches here, football cheers pouring out of a huge function/TV room over there, and a quiet and civilised dining room over there, the pub feels like a warm salute to a calmer and more civilised Cerberus, the three-headed dog who, in this case, enjoins its victims to a good time rather than, as is traditional, escaping from hell.

The pub is a recently refurbished and re-launched gastro-pub, separated and into the afore-mentioned trio of large rooms for eating, drinking and, well, shouting at a TV screen.

Named after the beautiful island off the Norfolk coast where landlady Rosie spent her holiday (in case you were wondering), the Scolt Head features summertime barbecues, a huge beer garden at the front of the building, and a staff with impeccable musical taste. Its mixed patrons of young city types and older locals all combine to give the place a friendly, vibrant atmosphere as the evening hours slowly eviscerate the daylight and the warmth of the Scolt envelopes you. Let it in. 

The Duke Of Wellington
119 Balls Pond Road N1 4BL

This multimedia pub just off Dalston junction – formerly Wellington Bar & Lounge – harbours many charms within its walls.

They include a large and comfortable backroom that features big screen sports, as well as a weekly roster of live music, comedy and films; and a welcome commitment to a localised foodie agenda – it sells Battersea brewed Wandle ale, and serves meals and snacks made from locally-sourced ingredients where possible.

Opening its doors daily at noon, it offers a newly-launched lunchtime menu that encourages a relaxed coffee shop atmosphere – ideal to while away summer afternoons watching the long test match hours and the live cycling coverage. Landlord Ed Mason complements the Duke with the music label Bad Sneakers, featuring emerging local band, Wild Beasts.

With more entertainment constantly being added, a mini beer festival planned for the summer, and its laid back direction, the newly revamped Duke of Wellington is a pub for all seasons and moods.

The Talbot
109 Mortimer Road N1 4JY

The Talbot’s manager Jonathan Offord has a plan, and it involves turning around the image and the fortunes of his pub from an inn of ill repute and poor behaviour to an altogether more sedate and cosy offering. 

And the plan seems to be working – such was his relaxation in the Talbot, within an hour this reviewer nearly disappeared down the back of a comfy settee.

A charismatic pub, the Talbot racks the usual array of beers and lagers but gains Brownie points for Addlestones, a cloudy cider that floats down the gullet and does sensual things to your insides. Opening at 4.30pm each day, it offers a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights – a large, varied and mouth-watering array of meals and desserts.

The good folk frequenting the pub – fallout from Liverpool Street city overflow – appear to share the well-mannered sense of calm, speaking in hushed tones over bottles of wine under a canopy of peerless music.

 Upstairs is the pièce de résistance of the Talbot, the business end opening up into a wide, 30-seat balcony that positively glows in the London summertime.  After a murky and odd history, the Talbot is now a phoenix, rising up from the ashes of its past and transformed into a pub in renaissance.

The Perseverance
194 Southgate Road N1 3HT

The Perseverance is a no-nonsense but friendly pub buried deep within de Beauvoir. It has a mild raucousness that lies at the heart of its charm and character. 

The bright and airy L-shaped bar gives way to a spacious pool-room in which to procrastinate further, with more mushrooming wall-mounted TVs feeding a perennial diet of sport to the good natured bar-flies.

With curry nights in the future and very reasonable bar prices, the 200-year old Perseverance does exactly what it says on the tin, and that is just the way Hackney old boy and Perseverance landlord John Marriot likes it.