Top six ‘make it a triple’ haunted drinking spots

Written by: Sophie Taylor

Reading up on paranormal activity and sightings in North London we realised we’d never experienced any of the ghostliness first hand. With it being Halloween and all, we thought we’d make like Yvette Fielding and spook the Derek Acorah out of ourselves.

Basically we’re encouraging you to hang out awkwardly in parks, pubs and cemeteries like us and the lumbering under age drinker you once were and always will be.

North Four, North London magazine, The Old Queens Head, Islington, pub, haunted, article

1. Paranormal Pint

Old Queen’s Head, 44 Essex Road N1 8LN

The Old Queens Head has been pulling pints since around 1830, at one time owned by political-poetic-soldier-spy, Sir Walter Raleigh.

According to pub regulars, on quiet evenings (specifically the first Sunday of each month) the ghost of a girl can be heard running around the pub and pushing ahead of you up the stairs. Bit rude. A paranormal investigator spoke to a former landlord who, initially alarmed, just “got used to hearing the patter of footsteps, like those of a small child, usually late in the afternoon.” The girl and a woman dressed in Tudor clothing are also heard crying and slamming doors. Ghosts, am I right? Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.

To look out for: Girl and woman in Tudor clothing running around, crying, generally being irritating.

Drink strength rating: A chilled pint of blond beer was sufficient to keep the ghoulies at bay.

New underwear needed: Intact. If there were any crying ghost girls running around they were lost amongst the rest of us boozy wailers. ’Twas a busy night at the Old Queens Head

2. Ghostly GnT

The Flask77 Highgate W Hill, N6 6BU

The Flask Tavern dates back to the 17th century, pulling pints for the likes of Karl Marx, William Hogarth and even that cheeky Dick Turpin who seems to get around a bit. But these guys are off haunting other pubs and cemeteries. The resident Flask apparition is the ghost of a Spanish barmaid who committed suicide in the pub cellar after realising her feelings for a publican weren’t reciprocal. Said cellar is now a seating area for unsuspecting drinkers, probably suffering their own bout of unrequited love tragedy.

North Four, North London magazine, The Flask, Highgate, pub, haunted, article

After one ale too many you might even spot her heartbroken ghost float through the bottom of your drained pint. Either that or you could see a man in a Cavalier’s uniform wandering about the main bar and vanish into a pillar, as he never quite got over his love of cask ale and pork scratching.Spook yourself out some more with stories of the first ever autopsy carried out illegally in the Committee Room on a dug up corpse from Highgate Cemetary. Vom. Their beers are rather tasty though, so don’t get too grossed out.

To look out for: Heartbroken barmaid

                                  Cavalier vanishing into pillar

                                  Cold spots, flickering lights, moving objects

                                  Someone blowing on your neck 

Drink strength rating: Needed double measures of gin with our tonic. Genuinely eerie.

North Four, North London magazine, Finsbury Park, sign, haunted road, article

New underwear needed? Didn’t witness any floating barmaids, but this is one atmospheric pub. When one of the lamps started flickering we downed our drinks a little quicker than usual. 

3. Terrifying Street Tinny

Gloucester Drive, Finsbury Park

Back in the late seventies Stephen King stayed with his writer buddy in Crouch End and never fully recovered. Freaked out by myths of elfin creatures and taking generally creepy park walks, he wrote a short horror story about the area. Just as well he didn’t take a detour down the road to neighbouring Finsbury Park. There are numerous stories of the regular haunting of Finsbury Park back street, Gloucester Drive. On silent nights, residents can hear footsteps starting at number 7 and moving down the street over people’s front gardens.

North Four, North London magazine, Gloucester Drive, haunted, ghosts, Finsbury Park

Again, the audacity of these ghosts. Complete disregard for common decency. Some have said it sounds more like children playing outside, peering through their blinds to find noone on the streets.

To look out for: Unexplained sounds of cracking twigs and footsteps

                                  Children running

Drink strength rating: Pretty happy with our tin of Red Stripe. Most of the chills came from it being almost November.

New underwear needed? Standing still on the road in silence, we probably creeped out the residents of Gloucester Drive most.

4. Blood Curdling Bloody Mary

The Spaniards InnHampstead NW3 7JJ

If it’s good enough for regulars Dick Turpin, Byron, Keats and Harry Styles* it’s good enough for us. Out back in the beer garden, Keats wrote Ode to a Nightingale one night while Bram Stoker found inspiration for the plot of Dracula from a ghost story that was regularly told amongst the barflies.

North Four, North London magazine, The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead, haunted, article

Yes, it’s an attractive pub. But hold those delighted gasps. Much like Harry Styles, this quaint boozer is a lot spookier than it’s well kept thatch and pretty facade would suggest. Located at the edge of Hampstead Heath and close to Kenwood House, The Spaniards Inn was originally built in 1585 as a beautiful country home for James I of England and VI of Scotland. But then along came fiery brothers, Francesco and Juan Porero who transformed the house into an Inn. The two started fighting over a woman, with Juan ending up six feet under the beer garden.

Another landlord was the father of famous highwayman, Dick Turpin. Dick apparently spent a lot of time here, staring out the window and has been spotted pulling up outside with horse, Black Bess still to this day. You know hard it is to move on when you’ve found a good local. Even when you’ve moved on into the afterlife.

* Apparently Styles celebrated his 21st birthday here if you’re bothered about that sort of thing.

North Four, North London magazine, Harry Styles, Spaniards Inn, Hampstead, haunted pub, article

To look out for:  Juan’s ghost in the garden

                                   Harry Styles

                                   Dick Turpin’s ghost and horse, Black Bess outside

                                   Harry Styles

                                   Disembodied hands clutching your clothes**

** Might be Harry Styles

Drink strength rating: A couple of bloody mary’s (that we spiced ourselves) was enough to fend off wandering ghost hands.

New underwear needed? Depends how much of a Harry Styles fan you are. Ahem.

P.S. This Saturday 29th Oct, the Spaniards Inn are hosting tarot and tea leaf readings from 6pm with Lesley from Twilight Ghost Hunts. I wonder if they do cider readings? The outcome will be existentially tragic I imagine. I rarely leave a drop.

5. Strangled Neck Oil IPA

Highgate CemeterySwain’s Ln, N6 6PJ

Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839 as a plan to provide large, modern cemeteries around the outside of London. It is divided into two parts, the East and West cemetery. There are 170,000 people buried here and 53,000 graves. Hmm. Those figures don’t add up so much. Maybe not surprising there are so many troubled spirits lurking in the physical realm round Highgate. Unsettling being three to a grave probably.

Karl Marx’s grave seems to attract the most ghost sightings including a seven foot tall vampire in a long black coat with top hat and piercing eyes. The so-called Highgate Vampire was sighted on separate occasions by a British occultist, David Farrant and the North London Paranormal Investigators. Other sightings include an old woman who runs along the gravestones with her hair flowing as she looks ‘for her children she once murdered’.

Not sure where that particular life detail comes from but hey ho. There was another report of a red-eyed ghoul who peered through the graveyard gates at a man whose car broke down. Terribly unfortunate.

North Four, North London magazine, Highgate Cemetery, haunted, article

For the East Cemetery it’s £4 entry for adults and free for children under 18. Admission to the West Cemetery is by guided tour only at £12 for adults and £6 for children (8 to 17 years). Children under 8 are not admitted to the West Cemetery.

To look out for: 7 foot tall vampire with top hat

                                  Red-eyed ghoul

                                  Long haired old woman running

                                  Generic dark shrouded figure

                                  Undertaker. Standard

                                  Floating nun

Drink strength rating: Too freaked out to drink our otherwise yummy can of Beavertown Neck Oil IPA. 

New underwear needed: Yep. Left hurriedly and uncomfortably. Dropped a scarf and did not return for it. 

North Four, North London magazine, Holly Bush Inn, haunted pub, article

6. Cackling Cask Ale

The Holly Bush Inn22 Holly Mount, NW3 6SG

The Holly Bush Inn of Hampstead is over 200 years old and brimming with history and local nostalgia. It’s ornate etched glass panels and original wooden floors beckon you in to sit by their roaring fire and put the world to rights over a local ale or four.

However, if you find yourself ordering a drink that never seems to show up, you may have just met the resident ghost barmaid. Don’t expect that pint to be pulled any time soon. Several customers have fallen for the friendly spirit who, after taking your drinks order, disappears and doesn’t match the description of any other waitress who has ever worked for the pub. Mind you, I definitely used to be that distracted barmaid circa 2005. Left many a frustrated publican in my wake.

To look out for: Friendly yet forgetful barmaids.

Drink strength rating: Grateful our ale was above 7%, put it that way. A poster curled off a wall and I nearly jumped through the window. 

New underwear needed: Bring a spare set of kecks. Our drinks were served by the living, but the atmosphere is spooky enough to make you spill them anyway. 

After all those spirits you’ll probably need a little morning-after TLC, so why not take some kindly advice and go get yourself a hot meal and some hair of the dog. Check out some of the best North London hangover spots here.

North Four, North London magazine, kerb, street food collective, donuts, ice cream, milkshake
Eat & Drink

Kerb’s Guiltiest Pleasures, All Weekend

“He said, I know It’s only arctic roll but I like it like it yes I dooooo” Those are the lyrics right? Well this weekend they certainly are, at Kerb’s Guiltiest Pleasure in Kings Cross featuring an arctic roll of pure indulgence. Over Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd July, the street food collective from your wildest dreams are hosting the most indulgent hits from all their pop ups at Granary Square.

North Four, North London magazine, hivemind, theatre collective, hen and chickens theatre bar, improv show

Theatre of Choice: Stick and Twisted by Hivemind

Hivemind are coming to the Hen and Chickens Theatre this Summer with a cracker of an innovative show. Three directors try to win over the audience with improvised stories acted out by the rest of the Hivemind cast on the spur of the moment. As each scene ends you decide whether to “stick” and see where the story goes or “twist” and let the next director take over. The director who ends up with the least scenes acted out has to pay a ‘terrible forfeit’. Told you it was harsh.

North Four, North London magazine, the lacy nook, stoke newington, balkan fusion, cuisine, bar, restaurant, menu, review, beer garden
Eat & Drink

Hidden Culinary Gem: The Lacy Nook

We have been wondering whether or not to share this secret gem with you for a while now. Having walked past Cazenove Road on many a drunken occasion, we’d spotted The Lacy Nook A Board luring us inwards with a siren’s call of cocktails and beer garden. But unfortunately we’d get the timing all wrong and they’d rarely be open. “Closed at 4am! How ludicrous?” we’d holler, slurring and swaying up the road. Until now. Opening last year, The Lacy Nook is a collaboration between two friends who turned to Kickstarter to help them achieve this culinary dream . Think small and large plates of fusion Balkan BBQ, salads and carpaccio alongside

North Four, North London magazine, NYT, Theatre, new play, playing up, acting course

Playing Up: New NYT Show, Three

This year, Playing Up have commissioned a new play by Sophie Ellerby (HighTide First Commissions Writer and NYT REP Company 2013), Three, which will be staged at the Arcola Theatre from 20th to 22nd July. The urban and domestic drama, directed by NYT Associate Director Anna Niland follows three sisters who fight to keep track of reality as their world is turned upside down.

North Four, North London magazine, amusical, backyard comedy club, comedians, acts, tickets, bethnal green, josie long

Laughable Acts at Backyard Comedy Club

Tonight, on this dull yet sweaty Monday, what you may well need is to show your confectionary based fillings to the ceiling and let it all out with a huge bellowing guffaw about nothing in particular. Let the likes of quick witted Josie Long, surreal twosome Max and Ivan and the downright uproarious Tom Parry help you escape the chocolate lacking reality of 2017.

North Four, North London magazine, staffie, rehoming, dogs, adoption, foster, staffordshire bull terrier, all dogs matter charity

Fur Dates: Lottie is Looking for Love

Registered charity, All Dogs Matter are a dog rehoming centre based in Archway. They use a mixture of foster homes and kennel spaces to house their dogs, who are each looking to be fostered or adopted. Occasionally we look through their profiles of beautiful singletons looking for love and feature one at random. We interviewed one newly single lady in particular called Lottie. A fun spirited character with smooth hair and a huge grin, Lottie was a right laugh.

North Four, North London magazine, jumble trail, vintage clothing, caledonian road, car boot, stalls, bric-a-brac, treasure trove

Get Involved: Cally Road Jumble Trail

Next Sunday it’s the Cally Road Jumble Trail, run by the community. Think a car boot sale but on the street with vintage clothing, accessories, toys, original creations and cakes if you’re lucky. The whole of the trail is set up online over at where visitors get a colour coded map to explore and discover all the hidden treasures on offer from your neighbourhood.

North Four, North London magazine, wimbledon, tennis, screenings, lifestyle, list, article, what to do, white socks
Lifestyle List

Top Four ‘What the Deuce!’ Wimbledon Screening Spots

You’ve got your socks pulled up but no Cliff Richard in sight. You’re all white shorted up with nowhere to go. It’s time to find out where your white headbanded self will fit in. Here's our top four Wimbledon screening hang outs to try this Summer.

North Four, North London magazine, yield n16, cheese, wine, newington green, wine, wine tasting
Eat & Drink Events

Midsummer Fizz Masterclass at Yield N16

Until five minutes ago I would’ve believed Pet Nat was a holistic dog food brand / veterinary business in Wood Green. I’m half right actually*, but in the boozios world it’s a fizzy wine. Pétillant Naturel is light and fizzy, usually pretty low on the alcohol scale and rather sweet. Think the opposite of a dry red wine.

North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington, abney park, dogs, dog walking, dog training, north london
Eat & Drink

World Foods Market, Abney Hall

Abney Public Hall is hosting a market of world food delicacies next weekend, having gathered together the creme de la creme of planet Earth’s cuisine. Prepare for a mass fusion of cultures, great food, drink and music just off Stoke Newington Church Street.

North Four, North London magazine, avocado, brunch, eggs, breakfast, gentrification, city

Quiz: How Gentrified Are You?

Otherwise known as the shoredification of London, there are four stages of denial when it comes to dealing with the inevitability of gentrification. Are you a dilapidated ol’ boozer clinging on to the same threads since 1989, or more of a craft beer-swilling/moustache-bearing pop up type propping up the bar at a cookie dough cafe? Let’s find out before your bedroom’s transformed in to a pop up belfie gallery.

North Four, North London magazine, the literary hour, supper club, wind in the willows, kenneth grahame, themed event, dining, food, drink
Eat & Drink Events

Poop poop! Supper Club Banquet at Toad Hall

Poop poop! Get your driving gloves on and tweed jackets ready, for Toady has invited us down to Toad Hall for a banquet on the riverbank. Join The Literary Hour for their all new immersive supper club experience this Summer. It’s the eighth in their series of book themed events with multi-sensory five course meals featuring additional surprises… Ooh ratty!

North Four, North London magazine, open mic night, the mosutache bar, stoke newington, events, comedians, acts, music, singers, actors

Comedians, Rappers, Actors: Open Mic Night in Stokey

Every last Thursday of the month a motley crew of performing acts shuffle off to the skinny little Moustache Bar on Stoke Newington Road for a night of microphone hogging. It’s Open Mic night and the stage isn’t just available to acoustic guitar yielding crooners. The floor is open for all you comedians, rappers, poets, hell even actors are welcome to come tread the boards at Moustache Bar this Thursday 27th July.

North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington, walking tour, history, guided tour, event, to do, streets, shops
Events Lifestyle

Walking Tour of Stokey's Rebel History

Ah Stokey. You chilled out little rebel of North London. The seemingly easy breezy, laissez-faire attitude that appears to exude from every award winning eatery and baby clothes shop of Church Street is all but an organic hessian veil over it’s anarchic and rebellious history. Nonconformists, anti fascists and dissenters built the area as we know it.

North Four, North London magazine, joginders supper club, punjabi cuisine, eating, dining
Eat & Drink

Eating North London: Punjabi Supperclub Recipe

Trying our luck, we decided to ask the wonderful Raina and Saira of Joginder Supper Club to give us some unseen insight in to their centuries old Punjabi recipes. Amazingly they agreed to shed some light on one of their most tasty dishes: the Bhoolghobi Tamatar (cauliflower with tomato and potato). Over to the experts...

North Four, North London magazine, tour de france, tour de north london, cycle tour, food tour, french cuisine, review
Culture Eat & Drink Lifestyle

North London Bike Tour: Tour De North Four

So this July 198 cyclists head over to Germany to start the Tour de France. If you think that is weird, wait till I tell you it started in Yorkshire a few years ago. Anyway after the three days of the Grand Depart the spectacle of the world's biggest sporting event heads back to France and the action really begins.