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camden pubs
Posh versus grunge - the new bar wars - Observer Feb 07.

Camden Town is blessed with a variety of quality pubs, from the uber-trendy fashionista hang-out to the chain family joint. Here's a selection of 10 of the best, chosen particularly for their proximity to the market and their wide appeal.

The Bucks Head

202 Camden High St

020 7284 1513

The Bucks Head is ideal for market-goers, located right next to the ever popular Buck Street Market. It's the perfect place to rest your weary feet after a hard afternoon's shopping. Grab a seat by one of the large windows and you can watch the world go by from the comfort of a leather sofa. There is a selection of food on offer, mostly along the nachos/sandwiches/burgers line and often music in the evenings. Generally attracts a mixed crowd.

The Devonshire Arms

33 Kentish Town Rd

020 7284 0562

The Devonshire, or The Dev to its friends, is the perfect example of a pub with a clearly defined niche clientele - in this case it's your average Goth/Cyberpunk type. The sign on the door says 'strict dress code only' and they mean it - any colour you like so long as it's black. Do not wear a suit in here unless you are being post-modern. It's a great place to meet up with your like-minded chums and get down to some serious drinking before heading off to The Electric Ballroom. Not recommended for families (Addams family excepted)...

Dingwalls/Bar Risa

Middle Yard, Camden Lock

020 7267 1577

Its fantastic location makes Dingwalls, or Bar Risa as it is now known, one of the best summer pubs in Camden. While the two story interior is pleasant enough, the roof terrace is the outstanding feature. Big enough to squeeze 25 picnic tables on, it has outstanding views over the Regent's Canal and the Middle Yard of Camden Lock Market. Food is usually available and on a sunny day you would be hard pressed to find a better spot to devour it. As an added bonus Dingwalls venue downstairs often has bands on - everyone from The Stone Roses to U2 have played here at one time or another.

Elephants Head

224 Camden High St.

020 7485 1330

The Elephants Head is a friendly place situated opposite the MTV building in the centre of Camden. The location ensures it attracts a cosmopolitan crowd, and it's also popular with rockers and the occasional punk. Food is served during the day and you can catch the odd football game. Big windows all round make The Elephants Head an ideal place to kick back and watch the to and fro-ings of the market.

Hawley Arms

2 Castlehaven Rd

 

A fairly quiet pub near to the Stables Market, the Hawley Arms used to have a reputation for being somewhat rowdy, due to its popularity amongst Hell's Angels. Things have changed somewhat now however and it's a perfect place to take the weight off your feet or to park family members who may not be so enamoured with the market as you are. There is a reasonably priced menu and a small outside area.

Lloyds Bar / The Ice Wharf

Suffolk Wharf

Good for families, this is a huge new Wetherspoons venture right by the lock. You get pretty much what you would expect from a pub in this chain - mid-range menu including burgers, pies etc, and reasonably priced drinks. What differentiates the Ice Wharf is its size (it's big) and location - right on the canal. It's the only pub in Camden where you can have a pint and dip your toes in the water at the same time.

The Lock Tavern

35 Chalk Farm Rd

020 7424 9067

The Lock Tavern (not actually beside Camden Lock) has been refurbished recently and the new owner (apparently DJ Jon Carter) has done a good job. It tends to attract a young, fashionable crowd but it's not exclusive at all. There are some great squishy sofas and seating upstairs, out the back in the garden and on the roof terrace. Food includes the usual Sunday roast type fare as well as the 'little bits of Britain' menu. Well worth a stroll across the road from The Stables Market. As you might expect, DJs often feature in the evenings.

The Good Mixer

30 Inverness St

020 7916 7929

Many people will tell you that the heyday of The Good Mixer was during the heady days of Britpop when the likes of Blur and their great chums Oasis were known to sup pints here. Don't believe them - The Mixer still packs them in by retaining a rock 'n' roll feel aided by a couple of pool tables and an exclusively rock jukebox. Clientele includes Inverness St market traders, rock-orientated locals and old gents from Arlington House hostel next door. Well worth a visit.

Oxford Arms

265 Camden High St

020 7267 4945

The Oxford Arms is a pretty safe bet if you're in central Camden and up for watching a spot of football. They have recently installed a brace of large plasma screens that are ideal for catching the latest action. You can enjoy a spot of grub while you watch, and in the summer there is an outside area to venture into. For those after something a little more cultured, the Et Cetera theatre is upstairs featuring a range of drama on in the evenings. Past productions have included Chris Morris' 'Blue Jam'.

Worlds End

174 Camden High St

020 7482 1932

Right opposite Camden tube station is The Worlds End, one of Camden's more historic pubs - history relates that there has been an inn here since 1778. Previously known as the "The Mother Red Cap", it's a large place with two main sections, a large barn-like space and a more intimate section with an older feel. It's an ideal place for meeting up with friends before hitting the market. Downstairs is the popular Underworld music venue and club which has events on most nights. Watch out for teens in baggy clothes!

 
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