Visited: Sunday 3 January by JC
It takes a special kind of pub to cheer you up on the last Sunday of the Christmas holidays. It takes more than just beer to shake you out of that torpor. The knowledge that you’ve got to go back to work the next day hangs over everything, tainting it. Now imagine it’s the last day of the Christmas break and for some reason the electricity has gone in your house. And you’ve been told it won’t come back on all day.
This was the situation I found myself in when I made my most recent visit to the North Nineteen. Really, there was nothing else to do but visit the N19 in a situation like that.
The N19 is an unassuming pub in an unassuming location. Outside it just looks like your average council estate pub. Inside the decor is old fashioned. It’s nice enough, but nothing to write home about. There’s a slightly confusing layout in that there are two rooms but the only way to get from one to the other without going outside it through the men’s toilets. Then out the back there’s a first floor wooden terrace (but the pub itself is ground floor only).
Obviously there’s more to a great pub than the building and location. It’s in all the important ways the the N19 excels itself. While the lager selection is fairly limited, there are always new ales to choose from, and Remy behind the bar is always happy to make a recommendation. If it’s not too busy he’ll also bring the pints to your table, even if you’re sitting outside. And perhaps most importantly, he’ll draw obscene pictures and words into the foam of your Guinness. Because clovers are boring.
The other patrons are generally friendly and contribute to the good atmosphere. Except this one old guy who scoffed into his Carling when I asked the chef if there was anything on the menu was suitable for my vegan friend and bellowed ‘THERE’S SOME GRASS OUT THERE HE CAN EAT!’
I wanted to be angry but I was too busy trying to hold my splitting sides together at his Oscar Wilde-esque wit. I like to think that guy’s talents were discovered and he’s currently touring the country with a sell-out stand up tour. Either that or sitting at home in his underpants tutting and muttering whenever anyone who’s not white walks past the window.
The food is excellent. I won’t recommend one thing because you should eat there more than once. But you won’t regret the Sunday Roast, and you should definitely make sure you’re there for one of their barbeques in the summer. There’s more meat than any one human can physically eat, but you’ll enjoy the challenge.
The N19 really is a fantastic find. What really sets it apart is the incredible friendly service. You will always feel like this pub is delighted to have you.
Go to this pub at your earliest opportunity. Not just if you’re ‘in the area’, this one is worth travelling to. If it can cheer me up on the last day of the Christmas break when I’ve spent the day in a cold, dark house, then just imagine what it’ll be like if you go there in a good mood.
Do they do food? Yes and it is excellent, particularly the roasts, steaks and summer barbeques.
Are they in the 21st Century? The bar staff will always suggest you put your card behind the bar and we always oblige so we have no idea if there’s a minimum spend on cards.
Are there dogs? If you’re lucky you’ll see Jessie, the resident staffie who is adorable but not there so much anymore. A lot of the regulars bring their dogs as well
I’m hungover, do they do a Bloody Mary? Yes and it is delicious (but quite pricey)
I want to smoke: There’s a first floor level terrace with a couple of tables out the back which no one seems to know about so you should have to yourself.