Taverns in Town #11: The Holly Bush, Holly Mount NW3

The tour of some of the outer reaches of north London ended with a popular Hampstead pub: The Holly Bush.

Taverns in Town describes the pub in a particularly complimentary fashion:

“This fine building accords wholeheartedly with those surrounding it, and this is no mean compliment, for the residences in the immediate vicinity of this tavern are enviably attractive. Nearby Church Row is one of the most often photographed collections of private residences in the whole of London…”

And so you get a feel for the kind of place this is – an upmarket outer London suburb. This shouldn’t put you off though. Once we’d negotiated the steep climb from Hampstead High Street, we found the customers to be a mixed crowd. This is often the case in a Fullers pub and the atmosphere was excellent. London prices being what they are, expect to leave with a lighter wallet. But sometimes it’s worth paying that little bit more just for the surroundings.

The pub has a wonderful Victorian feel to it, with lots of wood panelling in a bar area and some well-preserved etched glasswork. One can see why The Holly Bush merits an entry in CAMRA’s book ‘London Heritage Pubs’.

As depicted in the book, the atmospheric interior, some pub trivia

As depicted in the book, the atmospheric interior, some pub trivia

There seem to be fewer historical connections than with some of the other pubs I’ve visited so far. But if it takes your fancy you can visit the grave of the great landscape artist John Constable in the church yard nearby. And before it was a pub, the eighteenth century portrait artist George Romney had is studio in the building.

I drank a Fullers pint of some description, which I failed to record in my notepad. We then moved on to try out the Camden Brewery Tap, The Horseshoe, on the High Street, for a taste of something rather more modern. If you are in the area sampling the ‘craft’ delights down the hill, be sure to pop in.

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