The Kings Head is a staple of Crouch End Hill. Their stage has been graced by the likes of Eddie Izzard, Lee Mack, Paul Merton and even Robbie Coltrane. It’s worth seeking out if you’re after an intimate performance by well respected comedians.
The location of the Kings Head admittedly isn’t great for non-locals. You’ll need to take a bus from Finsbury Park, which is the nearest tube station. Alternatively, Hornsey overground station is a 10-15 minute walk away.
When you do make the effort, you can’t miss this sprawling corner-positioned watering hole. Its deep red exterior with gold lettering proudly declaring its presence catches the eye and beckons you inward. Large windows spanning the periphery of the pub allow in plenty of light during the day, helping to lift the interior. The decor comprises traditional wooden floors and heavy, rich furnishings. A bar area consists of a few leather couches and simple wooden tables and chairs. The heavy bar displays its wares, including - impressively - 21 draught pumps.
Downstairs at the Kings Head is the setting for live music performances and comedy. This simple area centres around an intimate stage with rows of chairs pointing inwards. This stage provides the ideal setting for watching your favourite acts up close and personal. If you don’t fancy trekking upstairs to get a beer then there is a second, smaller bar here, ideal for an intermission drink.
There’s a very relaxed atmosphere at the Kings Head and there’s no rowdy element or exclusivity among the regulars that you might expect from a venue visited almost entirely by locals. The clientele is mostly made up of young professionals and twenty-to-thirtysomethings. Even on a Friday and Saturday night, the din in the pub doesn’t rise above friendly drunken conversation. It’s nice to drink in a place that doesn’t encourage rowdy behaviour.
The big selling point of the Kings Head, however, is downstairs, with special mention going to the comedy nights. Few famous comics haven’t performed here at some point in their career and the stage has been graced by such comedians as Julian Clary, Paul Merton, Alexei Sayle, Eddie Izzard and Robbie Coltrane. They also host Edinburgh previews here, although they’re very popular and sell out extremely quickly. If comedy isn’t your thing then live music, jazz and even orchestral acts are showcased alongside performances as diverse as magic and illusion shows. They also host a regular pub quiz that’s only £1 to enter.
You can choose from platters, sandwiches, snacks, nachos, burgers and main meals at the Kings Head. The food is pretty affordable with a vegetarian or meat-based lasagna coming in at just £7.25. The beer-battered haddock, served with skin-on chips, mushy peas and tartar sauce is also well under a tenner. They don’t scrimp on portion sizes either.
Unusually for a traditional pub, there are plenty of vegetarian options. In addition to the aforementioned vegetarian lasagne, they also serve a spinach and lentil burger with sour cream and salsa for £6.50, leaving you with enough change to grab a cheap £2 side salad or chips. If you just fancy a sandwich, expect to pay £3.70 for the cheapest and £5.25 for the most expensive on the menu. That £5.25 will get you a mouthwatering sirloin steak sandwich with sauteed red onion, rocket and Dijon mustard.
The drink menu impresses at the Kings Head. There is a large selection of 21 draught beers, including Peroni, Staropramen and Amstel. There are also fruit beers (such as Fruli) on offer. If you’re not a big beer fan then the ciders are well covered with Aspalls, Bulmers, Westons Old Rosie, Addlestones, Brothers Pear, Brothers Strawberry and Pear and Westons Organic to choose from. They even have Cask Marque Approved ales such as London Pride or frequently changing guest ales. Every Monday from 5pm all bottles on the wine list are £7.95 as part of the wine club.
The Last Word
Although the Kings Head is an effort to get to if you’re not a local, it’s worth seeking out for the incredible line-ups it consistently pulls in. An iconic pub with an interesting comedic history.