Islington is well known as a cultural hotspot. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find some of the best pubs and bars in Islington. Scattered among the victorian terraces and bustling high streets, you’ll find plenty of great places to enjoy a drink and relax.
It’s also home to countless theatres, venues and restaurants, so it’s impossible to become bored in Islington!
There are quirky cocktail bars, warm pubs, beer gardens and plenty more. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find some of the best places to drink in Islington.
You’ll also find some of the best pub food in Islington, with plenty of great Sunday roasts, top gastro pubs and comforting bar snacks.
New places are always springing up, so don’t be afraid to try somewhere you’ve never been before!
In this guide:
Best Bars & Pubs in Islington
The Old Queen’s Head
The Old Queen’s Head has been one of the best pubs in Islington for over 190 years. Set in a beautiful listed building, the pub opened in 1830 and is rarely seen without a crowd of people enjoying their evening. Its history goes even further back, with 16th Century fireplaces to keep pub-goers warm in the winter.
There’s more to this pub than a beautiful setting. They’re well-known for offering a range of events including stand-up comedy, trivia nights and live music throughout the week. They even have a karaoke room with a dress-up box for added fun!
At the weekend you can also enjoy a classic Sunday roast. The combination of a traditional English pub with a lively and varied events calendar make the Old Queen’s Head one of the best pubs in Islington.
Inspired by Irish hospitality, Homeboy Bar serves some of the best cocktails in London. The combination of a laid-back vibe, a world class cocktail menu and elevated traditional Irish food make it one of the best bars in Islington.
Its cocktail menu celebrates the versatility of Irish Whiskey, uses modern techniques to create innovative drinks, and includes a wide range of classic cocktails. They also proudly serve the best pint of Guinness in London! There’s something for everyone.
Come on a Wednesday to enjoy ‘Steak and Whiskey Wednesdays’, or on a Sunday to enjoy one of the best Sunday roasts in Islington. For a real treat, come on St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy a special drinks menu, live Irish music and celebrations all night!
Darts is a classic traditional British pub game, but Flight Club takes it to another level. You’ll be drawn in by the buzzing and electric atmosphere, and in no time you’ll be hooked on the exciting fast-paced games. Tasty cocktails and an innovative gaming experience make this one of the best bars in Islington.
Don’t know the rules to darts? Don’t worry! They’ve reinvented the game for the 21st century. It’s hard to go wrong with a combination of electronic boards, screens and lights to guide you through the different game modes.
Any experienced darts player will tell you that your skills improve after a couple of drinks. You can check out the expansive cocktail list to make sure you don’t get thirsty as you play. The cocktail slushies are especially welcome after a heated game!
Get your friends, embrace your competitive spirit and start throwing!
Just a short walk away from Angel station, The York is one of the most popular pubs for Islington locals. Its wide selection of traditional English ales and classic pub food make it one of the best pubs in Islington.
It’s hard to miss The York in the summer, with crowds spilling out onto the large outdoor terrace to enjoy a drink in the sun. You can enjoy traditional pub food such as bangers and mash, Sunday roasts, or even fish and chips battered in The York’s own ale.
There’s nothing like watching the big game at a proper pub. The York also screens all the major football and rugby fixtures, so you can follow the action while enjoying a drink.
Barrio aim to combine the spirit of community with vibrant street culture. Their Islington bar combines quirky decor, colourful cocktails and top DJs to become one of the best bars in Angel.
Barrio is influenced by South American culture, and upon entry you’ll be drawn into a festival of colour, light and sound. Their drinks menu is overflowing with classic cocktails with a twist, as well as innovative speciality cocktails.
You’ll soon be enjoying your drinks under instagrammable hanging umbrellas and leafy floral displays, then dancing the night away to some of the best DJs in town.
Be sure to visit on a weeknight too! They offer 2-4-1 cocktails, bottomless drinks deals, and special offers on tequila and tacos.
The Camden Head is one of the most famous and well-loved pubs in Islington. Not only is it one of the best places to drink in angel, it’s also widely known for its comedy nights.
Tucked away in Islington’s picturesque Camden Passage, the Victorian-era pub offers classic pub food and a great selection of drinks. It is a rare example of a classic ‘gin palace’ – a type of early 19th Century bar that predates the modern pub.
It’s home to the famous Angel Comedy Club, which offers free stand-up shows every night of the week. In addition to the nightly shows from the best up-and-coming comedians, they also host cheap shows by some of the biggest comedians in the UK. Make sure to arrive early if you want a seat!
The Bar With No Name
The Bar with No Name is located a short walk away from Angel station, and is known to serve the best experimental cocktails in the area. Its combination of high quality mixology and regular live music make it one of the best bars in Islington.
The cocktails on offer are all unique and innovative, and tend to change with the seasons to take advantage of the best ingredients. In addition to top quality live music, they also offer regular cocktail masterclasses so you can perfect the classics.
They also host take-over nights, inviting guest mixologists to stir up their own brand of inventive cocktails. The bar is small, intimate and very popular, so make sure to book well in advance!
The Canonbury Tavern
The Canonbury Tavern proudly boasts one of the best beer gardens in Islington, as well as top quality food and drink. Locals know it as one of the best gastro pubs in Highbury, and appreciate it as a country-style oasis in the middle of the bustling urban area.
Their bar is well stocked, providing a wide range of traditional English ales and craft beers as well as classic cocktails. An open log fire will keep visitors warm during the winter months, and the sunny garden is perfect for the summer.
They also provide one of the best Sunday roasts in Islington, using local produce to create classic British dishes. Stay after the roast and take part in the weekly Sunday pub quiz to put your knowledge to the test!
The Lounge at John Salt
Whatever the time of day and whatever you fancy, The Lounge at the John Salt is one of the best bars in Islington. Situated a short walk away from Angel Station, this bar offers something for everyone.
By day, it’s known as one of the best gastropubs in Islington. They offer top quality small plates and classic big plates, as well as comforting burgers and bottomless wings from the Burger Shack. The Lounge collaborates with Two Tribes, a local London craft brewery, to offer the freshest beer. Enjoy the sun in the secret beer garden, or watch the world of Islington go by on the street terrace.
Fancy escaping the home office? You can also take advantage of their office setup, with free Wi-Fi, a choice of juice, unlimited tea and coffee and a brunch plate included. You can also catch all the major sports fixtures on the bar’s big screens.
By night, the bar transforms into a discotheque. You can dance the night away to the live DJ while sipping unique cocktails. Don’t forget to take advantage of their happy hour deals!
Tucked a short walk away from the busy Upper Street, the Albion is a beautiful Georgian-era pub serving seasonal traditional food and a large selection of beer and wines. It is well-loved by countless locals and is one of the best pubs in Islington.
Inside, you’ll find real log fires, wood-panelled walls and rickety floors. It is also home to a picturesque walled garden filled with dripping wisteria, so you can enjoy your drinks in a classic English country garden.
They are famous for serving one of the best Sunday roasts not only in Islington, but in the whole country! They have won numerous national awards for having the best Sunday roasts, so you can be sure you’re eating at one of the best gastro pubs.
Final Thoughts on the Best Pubs and Bars in Islington
Islington is an area rich in culture, history and entertainment, and this is reflected in its selection of top pubs. Whether you’re looking for a place to study, great entertainment or somewhere to dance the night away, Islington has some of the best pubs for you.
Whether you’re into classic ales or experimental cocktails, you’ll have no problem finding the perfect bar in Islington. You’ll also find some of the best food at Islington’s top gastro pubs, or at many other of the area’s best restaurants. Islington is a great place to start your day too, with some of the best brunch spots around.
Islington should be on everyone’s London Bucket List, with plenty of hidden gems to see. You can enjoy one of the best walks in London down Regent’s Canal, and make the most of the best Instagrammable spots. Islington is one of the most beautiful places in London, and its many tube stations make it one of the best places to stay.
Looking for more things to do in London? Check out these guides:
- London 1 Day Itinerary
- 15 Most Instagrammable Restaurants in London
- 33 Free Things to Do in London
- 20 Best Views in London
- 20 Iconic London Landmarks
Enjoyed reading about the best Islington pubs and bars? Pin it!