I am a freelance writer, editor and teacher based in north London.
Published November 11th 2012
Milking the cheesy puns for all they're worth
Pub names can often be cryptic. Pub names can often be clichéd. How many Red Lions does one country need, really? The Old Dairy cuts the crap and provides a little explanation of the building's history within its title.
It has long been a favourite watering hole for the lucky people in north London. In fact, I would say that this little corner has one of the highest 'great pub' ratios in the city. Contentious, I'm sure. So what makes the Old Dairy stand out? Firstly, the building itself is magnificent. The roof is high and and arching, with beautiful rustic brickwork, befitting its previous incarnation as an agricultural workplace. You feel like you are entering somewhere special. It's a wonderful feeling.
It most definitely falls into the category of 'foodie pub'. The menu is extensive and extremely well prepared. They serve things like chilli polenta and Devon skate wings, and the staff seem to actually understand what they are.
They seem to understand that times are tough these days and so keep Monday as bring your own bottle night, meaning you can enjoy their menu while supping on whatever wine was reduced to a fiver in Londis. They understand that Monday nights can be dull and provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy yourself. On a Friday, things get noisier, with the music blaring till late.
I read an interview with the owner who explained that he liked to eat out in pubs regularly, maybe three times a week, and that he wanted to create pubs for people who liked to do the same. You can really feel that passion in the Dairy.
The murals hark back to the previous incarnation of the building.
From Sunday roasts to mid-week quizzes, they seem to attract a good crowd of regulars. The competition in this area may be intense, but the Dairy certainly can hold its own. A thoroughbred bull of a pub.