Jan 15 16

The Camden Head, Camden Passage, N1


Visited: Thursday 7 January by JC

Right, there are several confusing things about this pub. First of all, contrary to the name of the pub, and the name of the street on which the pub resides, it’s not in Camden. It’s in Angel. Secondly, if you do go to Camden looking for the Camden Head, you won’t be disappointed because there is a pub called the Camden Head in Camden, but it’s a different pub. Thirdly, you might also see this pub referred to as ‘Angel Comedy’, as it hosts a lot of comedy. Fourthly, the other Camden Head (the one in Camden rather than on Camden Passage in Angel, are you keeping up?) also does comedy. They’re like twins, separated at birth but then given the same name just to confuse everyone.

Now far be it from us to criticise, but calling your pub the Camden Head, when it’s not in Camden and there is a different pub called the Camden Head which is in Camden, isn’t the best marketing strategy. We would call it the Not In Camden Head. Or the Angel Head. Or even Camden Head But Not The One In Camden The One In Angel. Which is a bit of a mouthful but you could always shorten it to CHBNTOICTOIA.

If you are looking for this particular Head, it’s probably best to Google ‘Angel Comedy’ to make sure you’re not directed to the wrong one. And to be fair to the Not in Camden Head, there is a lot of comedy going on here, and the nights are generally well run and very entertaining.

This is a cosy pub – both in the literal sense (there’s a fire) and in the lying bastard letting agent sense (it’s quite small so you’ll have to get there early to get a table).

There’s a nice selection of lagers, but many of them do go over the £5 mark, which is a psychological barrier that’s guaranteed to make any drinker tut and shake their head, before handing over the money and getting several more drinks afterwards anyway because fuck it we’re here now.

There are times when you feel like this pub, not very long ago, was a lot less Modern London Gastropub than it is now. There’s a fruit machine and quiz machine, which you don’t often see in Modern London Gastropubs (which is a shame if you ask us). Another reminder is the condom and sex toy machine in the toilets, which again, you really don’t see much anymore. I suppose people buy their sex toys online these days, and no one uses condoms because the Pope told us we’d go to Hell and why would he lie about something like that.

Now, I don’t want to spend the rest of the review talking about the sex toy machine. But sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do. So anyway, this particular sex toy machine has a large sticker on it warning that removing the machine is prohibited without the permission of the manufacturer. I like to think the manufacturer went out of existence some time ago and as a result the pub is saddled with this relic from a bygone era forever. This condom machine is like a Japanese soldier deep in the jungle who was never told that the war was over. It never got told that people don’t want to buy vibrating cock rings in pub toilets anymore so it’s still fighting the good fight.

But it’s not just the ancient condom machine – the whole pub has an old fashioned feel about it, in a nice way. And having done some research [googled the pub] it turns out this is a fairly old pub – according to the website it was built in 1849 and retains a lot of original features. Which just goes to show, I am capable of realising when a building is old. So that university education wasn’t entirely wasted.

The website of the pub also claims there is a resident pub ghost – George – who lives in the basement and ‘keeps us company when we’re bottling up’. I don’t know how to break this to you guys, but what you have is an alcoholic man called George living in your basement, drinking your alcohol, and going ‘wooooo!’ occasionally so you think he’s a ghost. Oldest trick in the book.

Overall, it’s a pub worth visiting, and not just for the comedy nights, because it has a nice olde-worlde charme aboute ite. [is this definitely how people used to spell?] Heat yourself by the fire, buy yourself a condom, and stick a pound in the fruit machine. Not necessarily in that order.

Beer: 4
Price: 2
Service: 4
Atmosphere: 3

Do they do food? Yes but it looked like every other menu in every other gastropub ever.
Are they in the 21st Century? They take contactless payments with no minimum spend. The condom machine only took pound coins though unfortunately.
Are there dogs? Not when we visited.
I’m hungover, do they do a Bloody Mary? Sure.
I want to smoke: There’s a nice terrace at the front with plenty of seating but only a couple of heaters.