An unusual but successful combination of an all-American rock ‘n’ roll dive bar and traditional Italian pizza restaurant.
Who would have thought Tufnell Park would have a venue like this? More suited to the backstreets of Camden, Aces and Eights is dark, grimy and uninviting from the outside. It’s right opposite the tube though, so an easy find and convenient to drop into on your way home.
It’s a pleasant surprise when you walk inside, as you are transported to another time and place. It’s a dive bar to the core, with high red-rimmed stools, wooden saloon-style booths and red candles complementing red velvet curtains that completely cover the large windows. It’s dim, seductive and undoubtedly cool. Not at all out of place is a large Mexican Day of the Dead skull painting that fills up the right-hand wall, while vintage gig posters cover every inch of the remaining brickwork. A long bar runs across the right side of the room with a free jukebox in the corner, very popular with customers.
Laid-back and local is the vibe here. The music is what you expect it to be – rock classics that remind you of a simpler time. David Bowie, The Doors and Led Zeppelin hum out of overhead speakers. It’s a place where you can easily spend a low key night. Having said that, Aces and Eights is open 'til 3am on the weekends, when it’s bound to get a little more raucous and you’ll find live music and DJs in the upstairs bar.
Aces and Eights is famous for its pizza, and it is definitely not all hype. There is a small selection of antipasta starters to tuck into. The grilled vegetables and goat’s cheese at £6.50 is spot on; the presentation is excellent, the cheese is gooey in the middle and the vegetables are nicely warmed to complement the cheese. The garlic bread is not your run of the mill starter either. It’s fresh and crispy with real tomato sauce and fresh garlic, and there is more than enough for two to share.
The pizza selection is fairly vast with prices ranging from £6-£9. The pizzas have thin crust Italian-style bases, which are fresh, crispy but soft in the middle, while the sauce tastes like a homemade recipe that certainly gives Pizza Express a run for their money. Not only are the pizzas huge, but toppings are generous too, making them very good value for money. The Pancetta is delicious, as is the Quattro Stagioni, which is full of spicy pepperoni, mushrooms and ham. There's a lack of chicken toppings, but there are enough meat and veggie choices on the menu to keep hungry punters happy.
There is a good selection of beer and real ale on the menu. Camden Pale, Camden Hells and Brooklyn are popular choices and prices for bottles are around £4. On tap are Amstel, Kronenbourg, Guinness and Heineken. For the ladies, there are cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Daiquiri, Martini and Margarita (£7-£8). American whiskies are worth a try – the Fighting Cock, a Kentucky bourbon, and the Evan Williams, a 7 year sour mash bourbon.
The Last Word
The pizza is ace. The vibe is ace. The music is ace. What more is there to say?