I am a freelance writer, editor and teacher based in north London.
Published July 31st 2012
What could be better than a cracking local pub in the heart of leafy Crouch End? Whether you live in the area, or are visiting Alexandra Palace for the day, it is well worth stopping off at this mixed up little gastro pub, just off the Broadway. Some pubs have a theme, or at very least a style; something that runs through the whole place.
The beauty of the Villiers is that it takes many different styles and mixes them in a way that creates something interesting and unique. The first selling point is the little terrace at the back which gives the place its name. On the first sunny day of spring, as the pale rays of sunlight break the grey overhead, Crouch End's residents flock to this little tucked away piece of greenery. By being sheltered from the wind, the courtyard is pleasant for much more of the year than your traditional pub garden and the little corner tables make it easy to tuck away with a group of friends.
If it is too cold to sit outside, the interior is divided into three little sections, which means there is a place for everyone. There is a small dining area, set aside for people taking advantage of the gastro-pub menu (think posh sausages and epic Sunday roasts), as well as a large extension area at the side with sofas and tables for small groups. This split personality, along with the mis-matched furniture and eclectic décor, gives the pub a real ramshackle feel. It seems as though the owners have spent a long time working out the best way to look like they've not tried at all. But it works.
As well as being a pub of many colours, it is also a pub for any day of the week. During the week, you will see creative types nursing coffees on the sofas while typing on laptops. In the evening the place gives way to diners enjoying the mammoth portions from the kitchen. At the weekends DJs spin funky tunes late (well, late-ish, it is still Crouch End) into the night. One of my favourite pubs and a place I return to each sunny weekend.