Archway has a number of pubs which date from the late Victorian period, when a change in licensing laws and the expansion of population in the area led to the building of ‘watering holes’ over a period of about 25 years up to 1899. So there is a range of architecture and internal design from the utilitarian tile and wood of the 1870s St Johns Tavern to the grand Art Nouveau style displayed by the Boston Arms.
This is just a sample of the area’s watering holes. You can discover plenty more nearby if you want a longer pub crawl.
The Archway Tavern
The Archway Tavern has existed here in some form since around 1816, shortly after the arch over the eponymous road was replaced in 1812 with John Nash’s bridge.The present Archway Tavern was built in 1888, the third public house on this site in the course of three centuries. Following several changes of use over the past couple of decades, and then a five-year closure, the tavern reopened in November 2019 and now sits on the refurbished Navigator Square. You can see the pub’s old bar on the cover of the Kinks’ album Muswell Hillbillies. A strong Irish element among the pub’s clientele meant that the pub was a centre of Irish republican sentiment in the 1960s and 70s. Of particular note is the Guinness advertising clock on the west of the pub exterior.
The Boston Arms
At the other end of Junction Road from the Archway Tavern, the address is also sometimes given as Dartmouth Park Hill (and as York Road in 1856, prior to street renaming). It is listed in directories as the Boston Hotel by 1896 and later, though it has since returned to the earlier name, the Boston Arms. This pub was rebuilt in its present form in 1899. Architecturally this very commanding junction landmark with its distinctive clock tower and cupola is visible far and wide. The Boston Arms is grade 2 listed and has a large dance hall associated with the main building which has been the scene of some momentous gigs in the past, particularly in the first flowering of Punk rock.
The Oak & Pastor
The origins of this building on Junction Road can be traced back to the 19th century; the first record being a public house in 1889 when it was unimaginatively christened the Junction Arms. During the World War II this building was damaged by bombing though it only suffered minor damage to the exterior. In 1964 the Junction Arms became the Drum and Monkey, the tenant instigated the story behind this unusual name, at the time owning an ornament depicting a drum and monkey. It was renamed The Oak & Pastor in 2011. Fine Smith Garrett’s glazed tiling is exposed in the interior and still on display.
The St Johns Tavern
This renovated Victorian pub, also on Junction Road, now has a good reputation for its food and the interesting portraiture inside. At its Edwardian peak the advertising on the outside of the pub, still evident, advertising Bass & Co’s Pale & Burton Ales and Watney’s Imperial Stout and Pimlico Ales suggest what was popular in North London at the time.
For more on Pubs in Archway, please contact Phil Markham who wrote this blog post.