Most People have heard of The Grand Union - it’s the popular bar and burger chain found in some of London’s most prominent hot spots. And Camden’s Grand Union is one of the most vibrant and upbeat.
Situated a little way from the bustle of Camden High Street, practically opposite Camden Road overground and a five-minute walk from the underground, its easy to locate. The bar dominates the main room, with cosier nooks and crevices branching off from the main space. It’s dark with neon lighting in various places. American-style booths are the centrepiece in the back room and the décor is Waikiki beach meets the Mad Hatter’s tea party. It’s cosy and intimate with a slice of 80’s cheese.
The Grand Union is quite a party place on a Friday night. The majority of the clientele are people letting their hair down after work and a couple of locals looking for a merry night out in Camden. It’s loud and raucous and often quite hard to hear over the music, which is commercial to the max. If it’s your first port of call and you fancy a bit of peace and quiet, go to the back room where it is a bit easier to have a conversation.
Surprisingly enough, burgers are not the only delicacy on the menu. It’s actually quite a mixed bag of cuisine. Sharing plates, two for £8 or three for £12, are good for starters or sides to share. The Texan chicken strips are especially good, covered with tasty breadcrumbs and served with barbecue sauce. The meatballs are also nicely spiced and meaty and the hummus tastes homemade, served with flatbread. Main meals include beef or chicken burgers served in a selection of ways for around £8. Although big and chunky, the texture of the meat is more generic than gourmet. Falafel burgers are on offer for veggies. Hot dogs are a new addition to the menu and you can choose from a ‘Nude Dog,’ ‘Hell Dog’ and ‘Dog’s Dinner’ depending on what you like. They are as good as dogs can get for £7. If you want pizza, it's also served here, as well as ribs and wings for £12. Salads keep things green but mouth-watering desserts lower the tone if you have a sweet tooth.
Among the usual selection of beers, spirits and wines is a wide variety of cocktails, each one priced at £7.50. Cosmopolitans, Mojitos, Margaritas and Pina Colada’s are a holidaymaker’s dream come true. But if you prefer something a bit more unique try the Russian Sting or Jam Jam Cola, which is a sweeter alternative to Long Island Iced Tea. If you prefer to share, get a jug for £20. Shots are £3.50 each.
The Last Word
The Grand Union is fun for what it is, but is ten a penny to many of the other pubs that dominate Camden. The branch in Kentish Town didn’t fare so well but this venue looks here to stay.