Jan 15 16

The WB Yeats, Fonthill Road, Finsbury Park, N4

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Visited: Saturday 2 January, 2016 by JC & JB

WB Yeats web

The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.

  • William Butler Yeats

WB Yeats was one of the finest poets of the Twentieth Century. He was also a leading figure in the nascent Republic of Ireland’s Government and was ahead of his time in fighting against religious dogma. What we’re saying is, if you’re gonna name your pub after someone like WB Yeats, then you’re gonna have a lot to live up to.

Unlike Yeats, this pub has never won a Nobel Prize for literature, or served in the Irish Senate. But now that we think about it, no pub has. So maybe it’s not fair to compare pubs to poets. I guess there’s more to being a pub critic than drinking your body weight in alcohol every week.

Once we started judging this pub on the quality of its atmosphere, drinks and food rather than on its literary ability, it excelled itself.

Like many of the pubs on this website, we’d visited the Yeats many times before 2016, but for the purposes of this year’s challenge, our visit was on Saturday 2 January. Usually you’d expect a pub to be empty that soon after New Year’s, but because Arsenal were playing at home, just five minutes down the road, there was a busy but friendly atmosphere which was more than welcome because there’s nothing like sitting in an empty pub to make you feel like an alcoholic. At the same time, there’s nothing like a pub that’s filled to the rafters to fuel your hatred for humanity, and the Yeats never feels too busy. Its location, five minutes from Finsbury Park station but in a direction you probably wouldn’t walk unless you lived around there is probably the reason for this and means it’s an excellent pub to know about.

There’s a great selection of beer from BrewDog, though one sore spot is that on our last visit our favourite of these – Libertine Black, a 7% pint of rocket fuel that is also delicious – has been replaced. Still, the Candy Kaiser is not a bad drop either.

If you’re ever in or around Finsbury Park then do seek this pub out, it’s definitely one of the very best in the area. Tell your friends it’s a nice little pub that’s a bit out of the way and your friends will be impressed to find that you actually know what you’re talking about for once. Maybe then they’ll like you a bit more, instead of thinking you’re an awful person.

Beer: 4.5 (loses half a mark for getting rid of the Libertine Black)
Price: 3
Service: 4
Atmosphere: 4

Do they do food? Yes. We’ve never tried it but it looks really nice and reasonably priced
Are they in the 21st Century? Yes, there’s no minimum spend for using your card and you can use contactless
Are there dogs? There’s not a resident dog but there’s usually at least one in there.
I’m hungover, do they do a Bloody Mary? They sure do, champ.
I want to smoke: There’s a small covered terrace at the front.