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July 2015 / Food & Drink / by Gemma Wilson

keep your cool

There’s no better way to spend a Saturday (or any other day, for that matter) than in a pub garden. Sitting with a good drink and great friends; lounging, laughing and watching the world go by behind the haze of your sunglasses.

But just like the saying goes that a good man is hard to find, so is a good old-fashioned beer garden. And it’s a problem that’s only exacerbated in zones 1-2. Once that little sun symbol appears on the weather forecast, or sun plus cloud, really anything other than rain; Londoners swarm to drink in urban outdoor spaces like iron filings to a magnet. It’s something we’ve all witnessed and are likely to be guilty of: a warm pint squeezed on a crowded rooftop, scrabbling for a roadside pavement picnic table, or standing in an edgy repurposed car park.

So by sheer contrast, it’s a rare treat to find The Canonbury Tavern in the leafy suburbs of N1 just a short stroll from Highbury roundabout. The historic pub has recently been taken over by Young’s brewery, and as such boasts a well-stocked bar, from the usual suspects to local beers and spirits for something a bit special. The seasonal menu features well-made hearty pub grub, but when it comes to snacks, eschew all others for the oozing golden-yolked bacon scotch eggs.

The pub attracts a diverse crowd, from the usual after-work drinkers to families and retired couples, and one gut-achingly cute French bulldog puppy – sadly not guaranteed to be present at every visit. But what’s really going to get you, and keep you here, is the garden. One of the largest in central London, you’ll find masses of comfortable wicker seating and manicured lawns in the shade of several huge horse chestnut trees. The buzz of great food, drink and company will take you well into the evening, and with an outdoor bar too. Well, why ever leave?

21 Canonbury Place, N1 (020 7704 2887)