The independent London newspaper

Cheers! Terrific news for beer lovers as Dartmouth Arms re-opens

The Dartmouth Arms is serving pints again – and down the road the Camden Brewery is also back after a revamp

28 April, 2017 — By Tom Moggach

After the longest time, The Dartmouth Arms is back

“The locals have been banging on the windows trying to come in – they were desperate,” says the pub manager, describing the restless atmosphere before The Dartmouth Arms finally re-opened.

He’s not joking. It’s been two long years since this much-loved boozer last served a pint.

Most regulars feared it would never trade again, destroyed by greed to build luxury flats. Yet Friday saw its victorious revival, with crowds spilling out onto the streets.

And there’s more good news this week, with the long-anticipated re-launch of the popular bar at the Camden Brewery.

I’ve popped into both. The story of the Dartmouth Arms was a genuine cliff hanger.

Only the campaigning of local protesters saved it by gaining recognition for the pub as an asset of community value (ACV), which protects it from redevelopment.

The new team in place clearly know how to run a proper pub, with several other establishments under their belt. “No loud music, no pub quiz, no DJs. We’re just going to stock the bar with good beers and open the doors,” says manager Speedie.

It’s been done up simply: gleaming wooden floorboards; a terracotta paint job; pot plants dotted here and there. Speedie has supplied some of the quirkier decoration himself – mementos from his parallel life repairing and restoring vintage electronica.

Behind the bar, well-stocked with around nine keg and cask beers, is the chunky Jule Phone, the first mass-produced answer machine. Make sure you ask to have a look.

To the left, a 1965 Sony Trinitron early colour television plays a film of swimming goldfish on a loop.
Beers on our visit included the well-balanced Docker’s Delight Bitter from One Mile End brewery and Running With Sceptres, a cult craft lager from Bristol.

Food is still a few weeks’ off – they are putting finishing touches to the new basement kitchen. But – sensibly – they are not aiming for fancy gastro pub grub. “Classic, good and simple – nothing too complicated” promises Pia, serving behind the bar.

Meanwhile, the Camden Brewery bar down the road boasts a revamp. Three shiny new loos are welcome news for anyone who squeezed into their minute predecessor.

There are extra tables outside and a new tasting room upstairs. Expect trendy artwork popping up on the walls below.

Street food traders will serve every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from the new Trader’s Hut. Chef Neil Rankin cooked at the launch party, serving barbecued goat flatbreads with chimichurri, red onion and chipotle sour cream.

Improved bar snacks include posh olives, charcuterie and chunks of cheese to accompany their roster of beers – now featuring the new Flue Faker, a lager with a “whiff of woodsmoke”.

These two places cater to a slightly different crowd, but both have been much missed over the last years and months.

This has been a terrific week for the beer lovers of north London.

The Dartmouth Arms
35 York Rise, NW5

The Camden Brewery Bar
55-59 Wilkin Street Mews, NW5

Share this story

Post a comment