Visited: Wednesday 13 January by JB
Often when reviewing a pub we will say ‘this is good in the summer’ or ‘we imagine this would be great in the summer’, usually because it’s lucky enough to boast more than three square feet of outdoor space in a city of underground-travelling, high-density-living goblins who haven’t been kissed by the Sun’s rays in years. But we rarely say ‘this is a great pub in the winter’, probably because any heated indoor space with a serviceable roof is pretty great during a British winter.
But there’s a first time for everything, and the Spread Eagle is a great pub to while away a cold/wet/grey winter’s evening. Step in from the almost unbearable bustle of Camden and the incessant drizzle and you’ll be hit first of all by the warmth, then by the real fire, and possibly then by the enormous homemade breadsticks on display on the bar.
So committed to cosiness is this pub, there are even leather armchairs, and free hot water bottles and blankets. A genuine word of warning, in fact: if you’re coming here at the start of a night out, or on your way to another engagement just be careful because once you sit down in one of the deep armchairs there’s a real danger that you’ll be lulled into a deep sleep, or find it incredibly hard to drag yourself back outside again.
It’s usually not too busy in here, and fairly easy to get served. It can feel a bit crowded due to the strange shape, but there’s a pretty well hidden upstairs which might have a bit more room.
There’s a solid selection of beers, though it’s not the cheapest place for a drink. We can’t comment on the food but it looks like fairly standard pub grub (though the aforementioned homemade breadsticks and sausage rolls look delicious.
This is a lovely pub to spend a cold Sunday evening in. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re after a big night out or heavy session, as it’s not the most electric atmosphere, as at times it’s so damn cosy they might as well be serving tranquilisers in the beers. But if you want a relaxing pint in surroundings that will make you feel like you’re an actual grown up person rather than a delinquent who still titters at the name ‘Spread Eagle’, then you’re in the right place.
Do they do food? Yes. Looks like pub grub except for homemade bar snacks.
Are they in the 21st Century? Card machines anchored to the bar, no minimum spend.
Are there dogs? Dog treats available: bring your mutts.
I’m hungover, I want a Bloody Mary: All the equipment is there on the bar.
I want to smoke: Benches out front. Not covered but in keeping with the vibe of the rest of the pub, free umbrellas are provided in case it’s raining. Don’t get too comfortable out there though: on weekends they employ an extremely zealous bouncer who will make sure you’re not stepping even an inch outside of the allocated smoking space. You have been warned.