I think the Highgate Inn is best described by what you can find inside. You get all the necessities for both casual and committed drinker alike, fruit machines, heavy oak tables and even the unbalanced bar stools but that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
This pub seems to have all the little extras that make a great pub. For a start the Juke Box (something which you really don't find in enough pubs) has an amazing array of songs, from the popular to the obscure allowing you to adjust the backing tracks to your night accordingly (although I did get some dirty looks when I put on 5 James bond themes in a row).
The sofas (found to the rear of the bar) are incredibly comfortable and very easy to get enveloped by, I would recommend heading to the Highgate inn for these alone, the beer access is a plus. If that isn't for you there are plenty of normal seats and even the option to stand if you would like.
In terms of drinks the array on offer is diverse (not ground breaking but certainly not dull). On occasion you may see the odd alcohol dispensing nick knack behind the bar (I once witnessed a bottle holster that caused a desperado bottle to float in mid air).
Little props like a frog fountain that spews fog, 4-5 ft tall wooden horses and the occasional seal teddy hanging from the many abstract paintings create a hint of a quirky atmosphere without making that the theme of the pub.
Should you feel the need to smoke you will be forced into the street but before you hit the pavement you can take refuge in the outside chairs complete with matching tables, not the best in the winter but better than having to dodge pedestrians.
All in all this is a very under attended pub. The staff are helpful and polite, the locals and newcomers seem to get along well and the atmosphere is on par with most of the other pubs in Highgate (better than some).
A decent 'old school' pub on Archway road a bit further on from the Woodman as you head up the hill from the station.
Inside you find lots of beams and dark wood, fruit machines, TV's for sport and plenty of seating dotted around including some sofas. It's all a bit mismatched and thrown together the way a pub should be. It reminded me of being in a little out of the way place in some village somewhere where the pretentiousness of London had passed by unnoticed.
The beer on offer was ok, my London pride was pretty good although nothing special but for me the appeal of this place is the ease of getting a seat compared to the Woodman, the fact inside it's like pubs used to be before they all became identikit carbon copies of one another selling overpriced dismal food and trying too hard to be the next big foodie destination.
The Highgate inn is a great place for two things, watching the footy and Sunday lunches, I therefore heartily recommend you give it a visit on a sunday when you want to watch a match annd have a good hunger on you. It's also a good place to go for a nice relaxing pint or two. It's suitably laid-back, has comfortable seating, has a good jukebox and has benefitted from the recent refurbishment. I guess that means it's good for three things then... It's also reasonably priced for the Highgate area and is alot less pretentious than a few of it's neighbouring establishments. The landlords also a a bit of a legend.
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