I am always dubious when a pub has a re-fit. For every glorious modernisation there is a soulless plastering over whatever it was that made the place great in the first place. I love a boozer with history, especially if you can see the history etched into the nicotine stained walls.
The new look Maynard Arms does not have nicotine stained walls, threadbare carpets or a sticky floor. But don't worry; it is still great. It re-opened in November and has provided a welcome addition to the bistro style eateries that have come to dominate Crouch End nightlife. Its massive, burgundy leather sofas look appealing on a crisp evening, tempted you to sit back and order a couple of pints of the locally brewed larger or selected award winning ales.
The polished wooden floors contrast stylishly with the exposed brick and iron of the bar walls which provides a nice contrast of old and new. Of course, being a north London gastro-pub, there is the obligatory over-sized chalk board listing the wines. It wouldn't be the same without one.
The big change after the refit has been to the menu. Revamped and restyled, the food is far from cheap, but if you have a hankering for some dinner with your ale, you won't struggle to find something tasty. The braised rabbit and Barbary duck caught my eye when I was there, and at around fifteen quid a pop, they are not designed as simple bar snacks. But I feel that was the point of refit.
The pub has gone from a place to have a quiet pint, to a place to spend a sociable evening. The average customers seem to be thirty-somethings looking for a decent evening with their friends, and it suits that purpose magnificently. If you are lucky enough to visit when the sun is shining you may find the BBQ in full blaze in the courtyard garden at the back. As the sun sets and the evening gets cooler, this pub begins to feel like the perfect place to cosy in for the evening. So the transformation is complete; from a quick pint pub, to a stay-all-dayer. Job well done guys!