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  • 5.0 star rating
    25/5/2010

    If I could hug a bar I would hug The Old Red Lion*.. cos it feels just like home. And not in your crappy 'we bought the Guinness package from the brewery' fakery that other 'Irish' pubs do.

    Instead of slapping up a few stout signs and ye olde pictures, they've created a very Irish warmth in a traditional English pub. It's not the fanciest place, in fact it's a bit shabby.. but that just makes it comfortable!

    Off the beaten track from Angel, you get the laid back people just looking for a quiet drink and not a yuppie, poseur scene. On a Friday night, we were able to slip in and get a seat straight away.

    The bartenders may as well have been imported from home with their chatty friendliness and ease. I think I finally realise why there are so many Irish bars in the world, people are trying to replicate this essence of the lOld Red Lion and fail.

    They even sell Taytos.. proper Irish crisps, only sold in Ireland, for you plebs.

    * I've propped up a bar, not hugged it. Don't you dare judge me.

  • 4.0 star rating
    25/4/2014

    This place is welcoming and comfortable, and doesn't possess a lot of the pretentiousness and snobbery that I often find at bars in the area. Instead it doesn't try to hide what it is, a shabby pub that lacks good lighting with a fair amount of a seating and a theatre upstairs. This sort of atmosphere is exactly what I was looking for in a pub in London, it's laid back and welcoming, filled with all different sorts. Prices are reasonable, bar staff is friendly

    Doesn't seem to get too busy either, except for the last few minutes before a performance at the theatre when there are people queuing to get tickets.

  • 3.0 star rating
    2/1/2014
    1 check-in here

    Pretty much does what it says on the tin. I popped in with my husband to kill a bit of time while we waited for a friend to join us. The atmosphere is what you'd expect from a London pub - bit dark, cosy, smells like a pub - but with the added benefit of having more than enough tables and seating. It wasn't very crowded when we went in, but I think that's down to it being just after Christmas. I imagine it gets quite busy at weekends under normal circumstances. Prices were reasonable, it was comfortable, and a nice place to kill half an hour and warm up after a day out in the cold.

    While it was very nice, it wasn't really anything special. It seems that there's an entire theatre portion to it that wasn't running while I was there, so maybe that would change my rating were I to return. It was quiet and showing a football match on a large screen while I was there, so it was very much an every-pub. Did what I needed it to do - no more, no less.

  • 4.0 star rating
    20/2/2013

    This is a very nice olde style pub. The dominant red interior decor makes the place feel cosier, which is obviously a bonus. The divider to the right as you enter is particularly attractive, although ultimately pointless.
    There is a theater upstairs if beer isn't entertaining enough for you. Or you can stick downstairs and play various games.

    Beers  Sussex Best, Landlord and 1 less interesting beer I have forgotten. As common beers go, not a bad choice.
    Pub on this site for over 500 years, back when it was a village with fields n that.

  • 5.0 star rating
    7/9/2009

    Love-love-love the Olde Red Lion Theatre. I've seen three productions here and downed a number of drinks and have yet to be disappointed by my experiences.

    A hybrid pub-downstairs and teeny-tiny theater-upstairs that seats all of about thirty people, the Red Lion consistently and impressively pumps out really great micro-theater with limited sets, space, and actors.

    During my first visit to the Red Lion, I saw Bulgakov's Zoyka's Apartment and fell in love with the play, the theater space, and the acting. (I still own a copy of the production poster and it remains one of my most coveted souvenirs.) This past week I returned and saw a Brazilian double-bill including "The Assault" (with a superb and inspirational performance by actor Steven Farah) and "The Last Days of Gilda."

    Come for the fringe-esque feeling of this threadbare theater with its minimal sets and park bench seating. Come for the English pub experience down below which can be enjoyed prior to performances, during breaks, or after a play's completion. You will simply love it.

  • 4.0 star rating
    16/1/2011
    Listed in Across the Pond

    My friends and I loved this place when I studied abroad. It's cozy, it's right next to the Angel station, and there are a bunch of board games that we could make into drinking games. It's a brilliant place and I love it so much. They lived in a building close to the pub, and after classes we'd drop off our stuff and go over to the pub to de-stress from classes, ogle the cute bartenders, and relax. And we'd normally end up really buzzed or drunk by the end of the night because we'll play drinking games, or just decide to make it a "shots" night. The publicans probably remember us as the loud Americans, but I had so much fun here that it's alright.

    I love coming especially during big game nights, because they'll put up the huge screen and we can watch the game on that. There are normally enough seats if you get there either late or early enough - we normally arrived around 9:30/10PM and there were always enough seats. I wish I could go back just to have one more drink with my friends, but I'll need to save up more first.

  • 5.0 star rating
    24/11/2008
    First to Review

    Been here a few times now and I always feel totally relaxed in here.
    Almost like I am in Ireland for some reason, probably because it is quite informal and jolly and there always seems to be an old man perched on the end of the bar.

    Great place to come with a friend for a chat or a game,(I've seen people playing connect 4 in here once)
    There is a Theatre upstairs so the bar gets pretty busy after the shows.

  • 5.0 star rating
    24/12/2008

    I love little theatre bars and this one in Angel is a superb example of a great little, very traditional pub with a wonderful little theatre attached to it.

    The pub as i say is very traditional, a bit old-mannish but you don't have to be a theatre buff to drink there and so you get a nice mix of locals and creative people.  Drinks are about average for the area and cheaper than your standard theatre.

    The theatre space itself is quite small, the seating isn't particularly comfy but that should not deter you.  The range of shows is eclectic and the cost isn't too bad so you can take a risk on some of the new writing that takes place there.  Have yet to perform there myself but sure I'll get round to it one day.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1/12/2008

    Nice, cosy pub moments from Angel tube station, I've spent many an enjoyable and drunken Sunday afternoon in here with friends,
    It does have a fantastic mix of arty, theatre types and local oldies, presumably who've taken a wander from Kings Cross to come have a drink in here.

    The pub has a fantastic Jule box, and is perfect for large groups.
    The wonderful thing about Old Red Lion is that there's a fantastic theatre upstairs, showcasing the UK's most exciting new theatre talent . The former artistic director, Charlie Hanson (of Harry Hill and Extras fame) cemented the theatre's reputation as being a hotbed of talent. New Artistic Director Helen Devine continues with this vision. The theatre is open Tuesday through to Saturday, and performances begin at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10 (£8 concessions) so not cheap, but you only have to glace at the photos adorning the walls downstairs to see an example of the talented actors that have performed there.

    Perfect for a cosy drink, and for a cultural evening out.

    • Qype User Sian…
    • London
    • 415 friends
    • 752 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    27/4/2009

    Pretty nice pub, this. I'm a fan of the old theatre style (there is a theatre upstairs). We popped in on our way to Angel and we had fun. (Yes, we were so hungover that the walk from Farringdon to Angel was just too far without a beer on the way).

    For some reason the pub smelled of chocolate, it was nice. Nasty old fashioned decor which was actually kind of nice in a nostalgic kind of way.

    I wouldn't make a point of coming here (although it was very very cheap indeed) but it does make a change from the pubs in Angel, and the ones in Farringdon for that matter. Not too shabby.

  • 4.0 star rating
    27/5/2010

    This is an interesting and historic pub just south of Angel tube, with a theatre upstairs and a good choice of real ales.

    There has been a pub on this site since 1453, although the current Grade-II listed building was designed by architects Eedle and Myers and completed in 1899. Thomas Paine wrote part of The Rights of Man in the previous building.

    Although it is hard to appreciate the architecture from the busy road outside, its listed status derives from the interesting amalgam of Classical, Renaissance and Jacobean styles in the façade, executed in red brick, granite and stucco, with lots of etched glazing and original ironwork.

    The front part of the interior, which includes the bar area, is also very traditional, with glazed wooden partitions, although the rear section is - in rather stark contrast - just a big empty space with dull maroon banquettes in need of some tlc.

    The main event is a good range of real ales (currently including Fuller's London Pride, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, and Woodforde's Wherry Bitter) and, of course, the theatre upstairs, which specialises in Fringe and new writing. It has been listed in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide since 2009.

    Service was pretty good on my last visit, although unfortunately two of the beers ran out in quick succession. Busy after work and before the theatre starts.

    • Qype User gr…
    • London
    • 38 friends
    • 95 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    28/10/2007

    This is a lovely pub, built in 1415 apparently. It's of some historical importance too, as Thomas Paine wrote parts of The rights of man in here. It's got a warm and welcoming feel to it, the walls a frivolous red and the ceiling some kind of nicotine yellow. It's decorated with old black and white photographs and posters for various theatre productions. Indeed, the OLR is also home to a small theatre, which is upstairs. It's tiny and can only fit about 50 people, but it's a great venue (on right now: Salsa saved the girls, a black comedy about a dysfunctional American family, highly recommended).

    Since it's one of London's oldest pubs it seems like a natural choice for the Angel and Islington stop of the monopoly pub crawl.

    • Qype User ck-on…
    • London
    • 8 friends
    • 58 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    6/10/2008

    The Old Red Lion is a theatre/bar. I didn't get a chance to experience the theatre here, but was pleasantly surprised with the bar itself. Red being the theme, the decor inside is red (carpets, seats etc), and the low-lit red lighting gives a feeling of warmth.

    This is one of the pubs suggested on the Monopoly pub crawl, but as it's only number 5 on the original version, the groups of lads that come in seem to be quite tame :)

    The bar staff were extremely friendly and there was a good range of alcohol, although I'm told that the bitters are a little disappointing. And from what I could tell they don't serve food..

  • 4.0 star rating
    3/1/2009

    I've never actually been here to watch a play but I like it as part of the old theatre pub tradition of Islington. Like the Hen and Chickens and King's Head, the other two similar remaining venues, the Old Red Lion has a lovely atmosphere to come and drink in. Lots of people hang around after if they've been to see a play, meaning it's often quite full even early in the week. Lots of young people also come here although not exclusively contributing to the laid back, fun but not overwrought atmosphere. The all-red interior also gives it the look of a theatre in the pub and creates a nice flattering light to have a drink in.

    • Qype User Marmit…
    • London
    • 77 friends
    • 95 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    18/12/2007

    Been here a few times now and I always feel totally relaxed in here. Almost like I am in Ireland for some reason, probably because it is quite informal and jolly and there always seems to be an old man perched on the end of the bar. Great place to come with a friend for a chat. There is a Theatre upstairs.

    • Qype User Larrrr…
    • London
    • 2 friends
    • 38 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    17/1/2008

    I recently saw a play here about Patrick Kavangh called 'On Raglan Road'. The play was good, as was the pub. The theatre is situated upstairs and feels like a fringe theatre should- intimate and friendly. Intimate is a good word to use- the tiny space was so packed out that i was practically sitting on my neighbours lap! However one should take this as a good reflection of the theatre and its productions.

    • Qype User JujWal…
    • London
    • 32 friends
    • 210 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    29/2/2008

    A lovely pub just off the main stretch of Islington. Really old fashioned interior which gives it a cosy feel, and doesn't get overly crowded. Haven't ever been to a theatre production, which consists of about 50 seats upstairs in a small auditorium, but rumours are complimentary.

    • Qype User ma0s…
    • London
    • 10 friends
    • 72 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    17/10/2008

    I saw a play here a few weeks ago and was taken back by how good it was. Incredibly close up and intimate with very limited seating available that made you feel as though you were part of the performance. They regularly put thought provoking, interesting performances on, and the downstairs bar was a pleasant pub to drink in before the performance and to reflect on the performance afterwards.

    • Qype User reev…
    • London
    • 2 friends
    • 66 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    17/11/2008

    A friendly local theatre pub. This pub has seen many stars and is very comfy. Good atmosphere and staff and plenty of beer. An enjoyable place for a drink or to see a show.

    • Qype User tea…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 27 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    10/6/2009

    Traditional old theatre pub. Cheap drinks and 'interesting' theatre is always fun. Very mixed clientel with trendy upperstreeters mixing with numerous tramp (literally) regulars. Good fun!

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