The Drapers Arms information

The Drapers Arms is a relaxed gastro pub serving a daily changing menu of classic British cuisine using fresh seasonal produce.

Ranked #1768 of 2091 pubs & bars in London

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The Drapers Arms reviews

By James F.

We had heard Barnsbury was the nice part of of Islington. We approached the pub with enthusiasm. That is where it ended. Rude staff, slow service, crowds outside shouting and behaving in an antisocial way on our great escape. Expensive. Luckily we did not eat as people were sending dishes back. The best thing we did was the great escape.

By John C.

I went to the Drapers for a nice evening with my wife. The setting was lovely we were greeted with slow service, lack lustre cuisine and indifferent management. Having read the guidelines of reviews it seems that an honest experience may not be printed. My experience was that potted shrimps left a nasty after taste and I left them my wife's meat dish required good teeth, she has lovely teeth, and I suspect the chicken was brought up on a rubber farm. The pub was noisy, the garden gloomy as the light was cut out by a dark green parasol. I did not find this good value at £35.70 a head. I don't mind paying for quality, but not a bad experience in a recession. I would go to the Albion instead. In order to be constructive; the customer is not always right but in this case a review of service, food and decor is worthwhile. Nice setting.

By Samuel R.

Hi thereMy name is Sam & im a manager at the Drapers Arms. I am not going to make excuses regarding your experience, I can only apologise. We actually strive to make everyone as happy as possible & take pride in providing great service & food. All I can say is that when you came, unfortunately there must have been some abnormal fundamental problems. I would love you to come back for a nice meal so we can show you what we are really about. It will be great to see you & have a chat.Best regardsSam Rees - The Drapers Arms

By Samuel R.

Hi there.My name is Sam & I am a manager at the Drapers Arms. I would like to apologise on behalf of the team for your below par experience. It seems quite abnormal as we actually strive to make everyone as happy as possible. I would like to invite you back so we can recify your bad memories of us & make some new good memories. Please give us a call & book a table soon so we can provide you with a pleasant experience. It will be good to see you.Best regardsSam Rees ~ The Drapers Arms

By Des D.

There’s tough competition for gastropubs in Islington, but the tucked away Drapers Arms has rapidly established itself as one of the local highlights.

The Venue
An elegant powder blue building off the beaten track in the handsome terraced streets of Barnsbury, the Drapers Arms was resurrected in its current form in 2009 by Nick Gibson and Ben Maschler (Fay Maschler’s son). Inside there’s a sparsely furnished but stylish and elegant main space around three sides of a square bar, decorated in tasteful shades of green with a scissors theme reflecting the name and shelves of Penguin paperbacks. Subtle lighting and uncluttered design give a spacious but pleasant feel. A posher pavilion-style dining room is at the back, and there’s a verdant beer garden outside.

The Atmosphere
Don’t expect raucousness – the Drapers Arms is civilised and relaxed. Inevitably the pub attracts relatively flush Islingtonians out to dine, but staff are friendly and accommodating even if you’re just popping in for a drink. It’s a good sign, too, that they’re clearly proud of their beer, and can talk informatively about it. Well behaved children are welcome too.

The Food
Yes, it’ll set you back more than the average pub grub, but the generally British-style food is good value given the quality, and prepared with immaculately fresh and often seasonal ingredients. The menu changes daily and often leads off with a big meaty item, like half a pig’s head with carrot and prunes to share (£22). On a recent visit other offerings included puy lentil roast, lemon sole and brown shrimp butter, Old Spot pork chop or pot roast rabbit leg (all £12.50-£13.50). Decent old-fashioned puddings, traditional cheese, good bar snacks and artisanal bread add the finishing touches. Booking is highly recommended for a sit-down meal.

The Drink
Beer is often the poor relation in gastropubs but the small range here is well considered and properly looked after. Harvey’s Sussex Best is the regular cask beer, alongside two guests likely to come from localish suppliers like Sambrook’s, with the range augmented for a beer and cider festival in the summer. Lagers include local Camden Town Hells and there’s an imported guest keg and some interesting bottles. The 65-strong wine list is strong on European classics: around 20 are served by the glass (from £3.90). A few malt whiskies complete a classy offer.

The Last Word
In the heartland of formulaic gastropubs, the Drapers Arms gets it right – a place that does quality food in relaxed, unfussy surroundings while remaining capable of serving up flawless pints to bar proppers.

By L B.

We were a table of 4 people booked in for 8:30 on a Saturday night. My lemon sole was delicious as was the bread and butter, chips and side salad. My partner really enjoyed his Scotch Pie. The atmosphere in the dining room is good and the whole pub seemed busy and bustling. I was very disappointed with the service we received. It was very difficult to speak to any of the serving staff without getting up out of my chair and seeking them out. We waited well over an hour before we received any food. No members of staff alerted us that there might be a delay and nobody apologised until well over an hour had passed after our order. The vibe amongst the staff was "too cool for school"; they seemed to shrug their retro clothed shoulders at any sign of difficulty. We were enjoying a Saturday night catching up with friends so we just made a joke of the useless waiting staff but in different circumstances I would certainly have walked out after 45 minutes wait. In summary the food was great but I wouldn't return on a busy night due to worries about the service.

By Claudia B.

We went to the Draper's Arms with friends last night having enjoyed meals there in the past. Unfortunately the service left a lot to be desired. We had to wait over an hour for our starter and when we looked round we saw that no one had any food, so we began to think that there must be a power cut in the kitchen. No one explained the delay but when pressed we were told only that the kitchen was really busy, in a tone which conveyed complete indifference, certainly no hint of an apology. Finally someone came to our table to say that our food was on its way and we were offered a free drink. However, overall the service was consistently indifferent, and at worst downright charmless, verging on rude. The food itself was fine but spoilt by the long wait.

By Spod G.

Had eaten here a few years back and it had been a pretty memorable meal. The place is as lovely as ever but unfortunately was pretty disappointed to spend £65 on a mediochre meal for two with a warm bottle of white wine. Would have done infinately better (and had better service too) at our local curry house.

By I.

As a local resident and one time avid fan of the Drapers Arms in its previous incarnation, i am disappointed with the re-worked version of the Drapers Arms. The decor and feel of the pub is as lovely as ever but it is the menu that is the disappointment. It has the feel of someone trying too hard to be different and original with the effect of alienating their main customer base due to the lack of the staples that make a good gastro pub an enjoyable place to spend a local evening. We went there last night for the second time hoping that the menu would have 'lightened up a bit' but no luck and so we left to go to The Albion, another local and great gastro pub with a less pretentious menu.

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