Dance Till Dawn (maybe) at Harringay Arms

23 Mar 2018

Time for people moaning about their age is something I don’t have. My Grandad is in his 80s and we talk like we’re best mates, despite the 40 something age gap. I just don’t think age matters, so I don’t tend to bang on about mine.

Having said that, it did feel like at the strike of 12 on my 27th birthday when  I suddenly found my love for pubs. Dark pubs with punters, beer taps, measures of wine and broken down jukeboxes. The thought of going to a club and dancing till my toenails fall off and the lights come on just isn’t what I want to do anymore, I want to sit at a creaky table surrounded by locals and (if the moment takes me) I want to be able to order a snack.

One of the great pubs to steal my heart is the Harringay Arms in Crouch End. It’s got the wooden interior, it’s got the locals crowding the bar, it’s got the different size tables, and it’s got the creaky chairs. Then on top of this, it’s got a smart taproom, it’s got rustic decoration and events which may make your feet ache a little, but I’m sure won’t cause any permanent damage.

When I found myself there it was a week before the dreaded Valentine’s day and the walls were lined with advertisements for their anti-Valentine’s day party, compromising of speed-hating and famous broken up couples. I sit beneath a vintage pic of Brad and Jen and browse the well-priced and humble menu (unlike Brad and Jen’s 90s jeans), which is full of ‘create your own’ and ‘build your plate’ options, it’s like looking at the picture on a box of Lego and knowing you can make your own version of the Ultron 3,000 – I like it.

The first production from the kitchen was an incredible garlic bread split in half (£4 half or £6 whole), one loaded with mozzarella and sweet buongusto onions and the other, a dairy and meat free option (created with absolutely no questions asked) surrounded by sun blushed vegetables and the most amazing roquito peppers. Each tiny red pepper tasted better than penny sweets from the corner shop on a Friday after school.

The red wine was so good it brought me to tears, a light and floral Ponte Gio Rosso (£5.75). It’s the second time I’ve cried in Crouch End, the first time was into a bowl of ramen as my ex and I decided who got to keep the bedding when he moved out. It would be trivial to tell you who won custody in the end.

The second construction to fly from the kitchen were two cracking pizzas on wooden boards (shame they forgot the plate) hot and crispy, one topped with sun blushed vegetables, onions and mozzarella (£8.75) and the other (again animal produce free) with sun blushed vegetables, rocket and olives (£6 per pizza and £1 per topping).

The Harringay Arms is enough to make me think fondly now of Crouch End and their bring your own vinyl events and the anti-Valentine’s evening is definitely enough to entice me back to spend the night, it’s just a shame I’m way too old for that kind of behaviour now. If my Grandad were here though, I know he’d definitely be dancing till dawn.


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