DRINK: Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak, NW5

Beers, ales, ciders and personality aplenty!

Saturday evening, with the rain still lashing against the windows, we headed out to try out a local place that was new to us, but otherwise a well-known local favourite. The Southampton Arms, just round the corner from Gospel Oak, is renowned for its extensive selection of ales and ciders, and its no frills approach to everything else.

At 6:30pm on Saturday the place was pleasantly busy but not so unbearable we couldnt grab a pew (literally) by the large windows at the front of the long, thin bar. There’s outside space, which is mainly full of smokers, but the atmosphere inside is definitely where it’s at. Bar staff and friendly and helpful, try a few tipples before you hit on the one you like. There is wine and soft drinks, but people come here for the incredible choice of interesting and unique ales and the ciders, all served in handled pint and half pint mugs.

Food is good too – scotch eggs, sausage rolls and pulled pork baps – all served from a hot counter at the side of the bar. It’s a fab place to people watch and while away a few hours – we nattered, read the paper, ticked off 40 out of 50 things on a list in the Telegraph that were supposed to mean you were grown-up – and we were suprised when we checked our watches to find it was after 9pm (having intended on staying an hour or so).

We’ll certainly be back. Find the website here.