The Shaftesbury Tavern makes the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2017
Written by: Claire Holly Davies
Sometimes all you really want is a good pint of beer. Just a pint, served chilled in a glass. Not one of those brewed-under-moonlight-on-the-first-harvest-and-infused-with-cacao concoctions served in a jam jar or shoe. There’s a time and a place for all of that, and whilst we’ll be the first to admit that we have been known to enjoy slurping the good stuff out of an oddball container, it’s not really what we want to do on a cosy Sunday afternoon, nor when we’re knackered after work and want the familiarity of a friendly pub, good chat and an expertly poured pint of cask ale dispensed into a traditional vessel. Simple pleasures are often the best.
If these sentiments resonate with you and you live in and around Upper Holloway, then I have some good news. One of your finest locals, The Shaftesbury Tavern, has just been entered into the CAMRA (that’s the Campaign for Real Ale to those not in the know) Good Beer Guide 2017. Quite the accolade, considering the competition across North London is incredibly fierce. But just how do the good people of CAMRA decide which pub is good enough to grace the pages of this famed book? Each venue is judged on atmosphere, décor, service and the quality of beer.
Consistency is also an important factor, in fact there’s even a rule that landlords must have served behind the bar for at least one year before the pub can even be considered. North London CAMRA’s Christine Cryne explains; “During the year, CAMRA members will go into pubs selling real ale and score the beer quality. For a pub to get onto the shortlist for CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, it has to get an above average quality score. The shortlisted pubs are then discussed by local members and visited.”
“What people are looking for is a reasonable beer range and a friendly welcome. The Shaftesbury Tavern easily met all of these criteria as well as being a lovely pub architecturally. Lots of character. It was great to see it make the Guide for the first time.”
The Shaftesbury Tavern is a local gem. It’s a proper boozer with traditional sentiments and an emphasis placed upon the heritage of the pub and the area it serves. A refurb in 2014 saw a careful and considerate reconstruction of the impressive architecture and original features. Pub manager Joe Bishop has worked hard to ensure the pub is a friendly, relaxed space with really great beer and a considered food offering.
It’s working too, a wide mix of the local community frequent this pub, from families looking for a Sunday roast in a kid and pet friendly location, to book groups looking for a laid back environment in which they can discuss the latest piece of fact or fiction. Self-employed creative types have their lunches here, utilising the free WIFI and eating their way through the bento-style Thai lunch boxes on offer. The after work crowd is pretty eclectic too, from born and bred locals to twenty-somethings clutching their craft beers and smoking roll-ups in the newly decked beer garden. Everyone rubs shoulders nicely here, there’s an atmosphere of acceptance and kinship which has been nurtured by Joe, his team and the pub’s regulars. This pub really is loved locally.
The Shaftesbury Tavern won North London Pub Of The Summer Season 2015, so it seems like a natural progression for the pub to be entered into the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2017. This isn’t the end of their aspirations though, “We’re going to go for the Pub Of The Year Award, that would be mad!” Joe exclaims, whilst explaining why CAMRA is so important to him and his team;
“CAMRA have a good philosophy, in the face of increasing closures they want to keep pubs open. I’ve always been a big believer in CAMRA, we have a shared attitude in regards to what makes a good pub and what’s important to both the industry and to our customers. We’re also part of their Locale project, whereby 3 out of every 4 ales that we offer are brewed by local breweries on the Locale list. I want to thank CAMRA for their ongoing support.”
Haven’t been to The Shaftesbury Tavern? Well you’re missing out (if you couldn’t already tell). Dip your toes in gently by heading down there for a bite to eat and a pint, maybe even take part in their weekly quiz? They also have jazz nights, a juke box and ‘Burger Mondays’ (which involves getting a burger, chips and a drink for a tenner).
Or you could just go full steam ahead and get your rocks off by throwing a big old party in their function room for free. That’s right – it’s FREE TO HIRE. They’ve recently hosted a 30th birthday party and a birthday party for a dog. Yes, you read that right. Oh and if you’re still not convinced it’s the really cool space in the pictures to the left, the one with the chandeliers and the real, working log fire.
Grab your dog and head on over!
Check out our image gallery to the left or follow The Shaftesbury Tavern @shaftesburyt / facebook.com/shaftesburyt or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to book out their event space.
The Shaftesbury Tavern is one of the twelve amazing beer emporiums that form the Remarkable Pubs group. Each Remarkable pub is traditional with a contemporary edge, each carefully restored period building houses brilliant independent beers, great wines and more good times than you can shake a beer infused stick at. Check them out here: www.remarkablepubs.co.uk
Photos by: Michael Barry
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