Jan 28 16

The Alma, Chapel Road, Angel, N1

Jack Cutforth

Visited: Friday 15 January by GM, JC & JB

The Alma

It’s a funny thing, alcohol-induced amnesia. It descends on your memory in patches. You would think that it would be a simple case of the more you drink, the less you remember, as you gradually go gentle into that good night, and wake up the next morning in your front garden with no recollection of anything after that third pint.

But that’s not always the case. So it was on this fateful Friday, when a brace of beers in the Spread Eagle in Camden followed by several more in The Castle lead to a total memory blackout for my entire visit to the next pub, The Three Johns. You might think that would be that; the curtain has descended and my night is effectively over. But no, following a short blackout my memory is cajoled into action again by the next pub, the glorious Alma.

I’m certain it was the fantastic quality of this pub which convinced my brain to temporarily start pressing ‘record’ on my memory again (I don’t fully understand how memory works, alright?). Because it was a fantastic pub. Within minutes it established itself as a firm Boozehound favourite.

A friendly, though not rammed, atmosphere welcomed us, and the staff were incredibly helpful – and knowledgeable – when it came to selecting a drink. There’s a lot to choose from. All the usual lager suspects are there, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t plump for one of the many craft beers and ales on tap from One Mile End Beer Co.

Boozehound, being an adventurous sort, was drawn to Snakes Alive Double IPA. Weighing in at 8% but tasting like liquid heaven, it’s the sort of drink that feels like getting a hug from a big friendly bear – comforting, warming, but not without an element of danger.

As everyone knows it’s important to moderate your drinking, and a common technique is to alternate your alcoholic drinks with soft drinks. Never one to shun medical advice, Boozehound duly opted for a 5% beer after the Snakes Alive, before returning to what we now concede may have been an unnecessary final pint of the Snake.

A quick word on pricing: it’s generally on the fairly cheap side, but we had to add an extra point simply for the fact that the aforementioned 8% pint was a phenomenal £4.50. It’s the alcoholic equivalent of two pints of Fosters, tasting five times better than Fosters, at roughly the same price.

My final memories of this pub are drunkenly trying to find David Bowie on Spotify on the barkeep’s iPad (with his assistance), then giving an emotional and frankly powerhouse rendition of Space Oddity with the old chap on the table next to us. So there you have it, I certainly did not go gentle into that good night.

Some online reviews portray this pub as a dingy old boozer which doesn’t take kindly to strangers. Maybe that was once true, but it’s recently been refurbished and that certainly wasn’t the atmosphere that we found. Don’t listen to the naysayers: next time you’re in Angel, go slightly off the beaten track and come to a pub that will serve you fantastic beer and great prices, and won’t mind if you can’t really hit all the notes in Space Oddity. Boozehound thoroughly recommends.

Beer: 5
Value: 4
Service: 5
Atmosphere: 4

Do they do food? Booze only.
Are they in the 21st Century? I seem to remember contactless. Maybe.
Are there dogs? Their website says they’re dog friendly.
I’m hungover, do they do a Bloody Mary? Feels like more of a beer/ale place. If they have tomato juice I bet they’d rustle you one up though.
I want to smoke: Couple of benches on the street outside.
Any televisions? Yes, showing sports.