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Charlotte Despard, Archway

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user reviews of The Charlotte Despard, Archway

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Good range of beers and a pool table (if you can get on it!), but the decor is minimal and won’t be to everyone’s taste. The crowd is a mixture of ‘interesting’ locals and annoying young professionals – not the type of people I’d want to hang about with out of choice. Music isn’t bad, but the pub should do away with older DJs and bring in fresh ones. However, the biggest disappointment are the staff who are rude and obnoxious to the point where I wonder how they are still in business (the landlady can be very ill-mannered and has a reputation for barking at people). When a pub has to rely on a three legged cat called Legz as their gimmick it says it all. If you are desperate for a pint this pub will do the job but there are much nicer in the area – just walk up the road to Highgate Hill for pubs with friendlier staff and a more decent clientele!
dannymball - 28 Jan 2017 23:26
A bit too much of a student vibe. Boardgames and sweets on sale behind the bar. Also the beer selection is a bit pretentious with various over-priced "craft beers" and Continental imports. On the plus side they have a fantastic pub cat.
Richard_ReadingFC - 19 Feb 2016 14:47
Slightly disappointing pub on the Archway Road. No ales were on when I arrived yesterday evening. Although they had put Hammerton N7 and East London Cowcatcher on by the time I left. I opted for the Addlestones cider, which others were also drinking. The interior felt a bit too modern for my liking.
blue_scrumpy - 1 Dec 2014 22:03
I enjoyed my visit to this pub. Some great local beers on tap and a nice relaxed atmosphere.
KarlMarx1818 - 9 Oct 2014 19:28
One of the most unwelcoming pubs I've ever been to... The land lady should refrain from being in customer services, she obviously doesn't like it and hardly ever cracks a smile, Her side kick, the chef also needs to take some 'welcoming' training. People like this shouldn't run a pub as pub staff should be friendly towards customers... You may go there once or twice, but you will find the lack lustre atmosphere just puts you off! Much prefer the friendlier St. John's or dog and pastor on the junction road!
Pubgoer1965 - 16 Mar 2013 18:07
In contrast to the previous comment I found the place welcoming enough as a total stranger, and the staff (landlord and lady?) seemed to have a good rapport with a number of the obvious regulars. Fairly busy with an after work crowd at 7pm in the evening. 4 ales on handpumps, of which the Wandle and Redemption Big Chief were both in excellent condition.
vic_boner - 6 Feb 2013 12:15
Curiosity brought me here owing to memories of a fine pub being here a decade ago.

The whole place gave the impression of a place still in the middle of being redecorated. Excessively bright lighting, nowhere comfortable to sit and a barman who's body language does not exactly exude welcome to our pub. A good range of ales however and The Wandle was in fairness well kept.

Overall a mildly depressing experience for a passer by, I'm afraid.

strangetorpor - 17 Jan 2013 21:13
Just heard about this review and felt I gotta come to the places defence as its a local of mine. Like they said on Legue of Gentlemen it's a LOCALS PUB FOR LOCAL PEOPLE so mabey that's why you didn't get a smile when you came. If you don't like it you know what you can do. Yer, try the Lion and see how you get on LOL. The ska and rocksteady night is THE DOGS mate.

But you got Chris all wrong. He ain't no JUNKIE he's an ALKIE and the most boring man you will ever meet so if you know whats good for you just don't get trapped by him when he's pissed up or he will bore the arse off you with his Bravo Two Zero tales of when he was in Blackpool. And I wouldn't wish that on ANYONE


Gunner1992 - 4 Aug 2011 22:24
and, rather than irrelevant cut & paste odysseys from stooges who ADMIT THEY HAVE NEVER VISTED THE PUB OR EVEN NEIGHBOURHOOD here is a genuine review by someone who has done so on a number of occassions:

Mixed feelings about this place. It is a very nice space with beautiful pine furnishings and a fantastic selection of ales on tap and a great range of organic bottled ciders, probably making it one of the most inviting places to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon reading the papers. However, there are a few rather negative aspects which in fairness I must report.

On the last occassion I popped in I got rather grumpy service from the barmaid who appeared annoyed to be distracted from doing the crossword with her friend. Food prices are OK but , whilst generous portions, the food is most certainly not of the standard one would expect from any place promoting itself as a 'gastro-pub' which suggests a bit of an identity crisis for the bar. Is it trying to be a true 'gastro pub' . competing with the St John on Junction Road, or a 'locals bar' serving up filling fare for those too drunk to care? Furthermore, last time we were in, upon seeing that my companion hadn't eaten her chips and side-salad the chef/dishwasher who collected our plates became quite unnervingly hostile. All rather unexpected, tho I suspect drugs may have been a factor. Still, not the best ambassador for a bar.

To conclude, I do like the Charlotte Despard and would certainly go there again. It is probably the closest the area has to a 'family-friendly' bar North of Highgate (I have seen a number of children and even a baby in a pram there) Also, it is well worth visiting just for the atrocious painting on the side of the building which looks like Jimmy Nail! It will be interesting to see how it developes. I feel it needs to find it's own 'identity' and character as at present it does feel like a bit of a cross between an All Bar One and a Weatherspoons.

Oh, and keep the junkie in the kitchen!
Firky1 - 21 Mar 2011 21:37
@StoutChappie@ Priceless! You suddenly pop up and leave a 'review' of a pub but claim "fortunately I've never had the misfortune to be in that part of the world" ergo you are 'reviewing' a pub you have never visited?

Could you clarify please?
Firky1 - 21 Mar 2011 21:28
Still, interesting to know that the bar has been named after a Sinn Fein activist. Definately no desire to put money into the till of such an establishment in future so thanks for the heads up on that.
Firky1 - 20 Mar 2011 18:26
@Stoutchappie@ posting up a Wikipedia cut & paste to deflect from the (slight) criticism below of your or your friend's bar only makes you look desperate and duplicitous. And my opinion of your/your friend's establishment go down.
Firky1 - 20 Mar 2011 18:05
It would appear you have recently discovered wicked paedia.
The_Final_Arbiter - 19 Mar 2011 22:01
Mixed feelings about this place. It is a very nice space with beautiful pine furnishings and a fantastic selection of ales on tap and a great range of organic bottled ciders, probably making it one of the most inviting places to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon reading the papers. However, there are a few rather strange aspects to it which did not exist prior to the new management take-over when it was called, The Settleinn.

It does seem a bit cliquey and , not being a real regular myself, I got rather grumpy service from the barmaid who appeared annoyed to be distracted from doing the crossword with her friend. Food prices are OK but , whilst generous portions, the food is most certainly not of the standard one would expect from any place promoting itself as a 'gastro-pub' which suggests a bit of an identity crisis for the bar. Is it trying to be a true 'gastro pub' . competing with the St John on Junction Road, or a 'locals bar' serving up filling fare for those too drunk to care? Furthermore, last time we were in, upon seeing that my companion hadn't eaten her chips and side-salad the chef/dishwasher who collected our plates became quite unnervingly hostile. All rather unexpected, tho I suspect drugs may have been a factor. Still, not the best ambassador for a bar.

To conclude, I do like the Charlotte Despard and would certainly go there again. It is probably the closest the area has to a 'family-friendly' bar North of Highgate (I have seen a number of children and even a baby in a pram there) Also, it is well worth visiting just for the atrocious painting on the side of the building which looks like Jimmy Nail! It will be interesting to see how it developes. I feel it needs to find it's own 'identity' and character as at present it does feel like a bit of a cross between an All Bar One and a Weatherspoons.

Oh, and keep the junkie in the kitchen!


Firky1 - 19 Mar 2011 20:46
I was strolling along belonely one day and I encountered a fine North London Pub The Charlotte Despard (Archway) and my immediate reaction was............."Wow, this place looks boss"................so I wandered in. Upon entering I was greeted with nothing but warmth and a friendly smile which made that first experience instantly memorable. Ever since then my evenings in The Charlotte Despard have been a wail of a time. I've found a new circle of friends, developed new interests. and opened up a lot more. Because I genuinely feel the staff who work here- Jamie, Amber, Clovis and Chris have been so down-to-earth. If any fellow Londoners, strangers or those from farther afield are ever in the area, pop into this pub and enjoy a pint to remember. The Charlotte Despard is an all round experience for everyone!
fuckaduck2011 - 23 Jan 2011 22:16
A delitefully friendly and chilled out pub to wind away an afternoon or evening in...

The decor is tastelful, fresh and welcoming, and the Staff even more so !!

They have a great selection of good quality draft Lagers, Ales and Ciders to sup on, perfectly complimented by an extensive range of different botteld choices that aren't just bottled versions of standard ales and beers, but interesting and varied selections. For all the Vino lovers out there, there is a decent selection of wines, all of which are available by the glass as well !!

The quiz night is a great laugh, sometimes difficult but never impossible...

The pub also punches above it's weight musically as well with lots of different genre's of music being represented at some point each month...

I have been frequenting this pub for nearly 5 years now, and I have not witnessed an event such as Muswellhillgirl's experience, and knowing all the staff as well as I do I can only believe they were not aware of what was happeneing as I HAVE seen them stand up to people and eject people from the premesis (even the odd regular!!) when they have stepped out of line....

All in all an excellent boozer !!
pmardle - 11 Jan 2011 14:30
Have popped in a couple of times, but Tues 4th Oct was first session in there. Delighted to see 4 ales on - all in excellent condition, and all local London brews.

The bar staff were friendly and welcoming, the quiz night was in full swing and was competative without being OTT as these things can sometimes be.

There was a very mixed crowd across a wide age range, and the groups mixed well.

A relaxed and friendly atmosphere - I will definately be back.
StatusBaby - 6 Oct 2010 11:19
maybe muswellhillgirl was unlucky...went into this pub for the first time with my (Asian) wife and there was certainly no hint of this kind of thing. It also seems unlikely that a pub named after a suffragette reformer would tolerate unpleasant behaviour! Our impression was that it was a very decent pub/bar and we'll be going back.
anonymous2000 - 20 Sep 2010 10:09
A group of us spent the afternoon and early evening there the first time we have visited (we heard of the pub through Camra). We were impressed the staff were extremely friendly and helpful, and the food was fantastic value for money.

Its sad that MuswellHillGirl had a bad experience when she visited, but I think she must have been very unlucky. While we were there, the atmosphere was entirely pleasant, and the sometimes enthusiastic support for the football never descended into abusiveness.
Lizzie13 - 12 Sep 2010 09:55
Dear Charlotte Desperate management and Staff,

It really does not matter how many of your friends and regulars you get to quite transparently write testimonials bigging up your establishment, I have no intention of going there again. As your performing monkey says "there are plenty of nice pubs in muswell hill" - as there are also in Archway and Highgate.

I was not 'shocked' by the presence of the racist louts shouting at the screen and abusing a customer, sadly, London is full of idiots like that and you can get them anywhere. What DID shock me, however, was the fact they were doing this with impunity, without reproach *AND* were clearly on good & friendly terms with the bar staff.

I shall not waste any more of my lunch break on you, just as I would not waste any more of my time or money in your unpleasant, unfriendly little bar.
muswellhillgirl - 26 Jul 2010 13:04
Muswellhillgirl,your experience is so very alien to my own.

I am very obviously Jewish and regularly drink in this pub with Irish, Black, White, French and polish friends. I think I speak for them all when I say that we would not keep drinking there if the staff and management were anything other than completely welcoming!

I have never seen anything even approaching the behaviour you describe. I repeat, I have never seen anything even approaching the behaviour you describe. That does not mean you are lying. There may well have been louts there that night and you would be justifiably upset if what you heard was as you describe. I have just never seen anything approaching the behaviour you describe. My friends and I enjoy our regular visits to this pub and the welcome we get from the staff.

I truly am sorry that you are so upset after your night out. I suggest, if you are not interested in talking with the management or indeed actually hearing from the "young Asian lad" you are holding up as the victim here (who I believe was there this very evening), that you simply drink somewhere else. I'm sure there are plenty of nice pubs in muswell hill for you and your husband to patronise. Perhaps you will even find one where all the clientele are to your liking.

You have dismissed as biased, comments from a black customer and no doubt you will do the same again with these comments. That is fine, you are obviously upset. I for one will carry on drinking at the Charlotte despard until there is a reason not to do so.

Please don't respond to this post, just go somewhere else and enjoy your evening
Phillipus2005 - 25 Jul 2010 23:44
OMG! You really should change your name to the Charlotte DESPERATE if that is how much losing a customer means to you! LOL

Why on earth would I want to return to a pub, let alone meet with any of the staff, when last time I was there there were a number of racist louts, shouting "You black B**tard", "You black c**t" clearly and audibly over the usual world cup excitement. Later abusing a young Asian lad sitting at the bar and who seemed to be FRIENDS with the staff ?!

I think I'd rather go to a BNP meeting! At least I imagine they'd be on their best behaviour there.

Incidentally, I was talking of this experience only last night with a friend who is a nurse and used to be a regular when it was the Dog and the Settle Inn. She told me on the occassions her and friends from the Wittington had been there since the name change the place was dead and the barman was more interested in smoking and talking on his mobile phone outside than serving them.

Nice work. Can't see you winning Best British Pub anytime soon. Goodbye.
muswellhillgirl - 25 Jul 2010 18:13
hello - MHG - please come and sit with me to discuss your feelings - i do believe you are seeing things a little bit too extreme. there are no under-hand dealings, no abusive behaviour, no threatening or socially unacceptable issues here.
We have tried to culture a multi - everything - environment. We cater for ALL, and that is: age, colour, style and opinion.
We don't tolerate: bad attitude, socially unacceptable behaviour and tittle-tattle

so, again - i invite you to meet with the staff and management and even the locals who are in at the time of your visit.

We are in the business of selling alcohol, and we do this responsibly. In fact i would go as far as to say super-responsibly.

We apologise that your visit was not enjoyable and have checked with as many people we can who were present that day .
chizzachong - 22 Jul 2010 16:36
Please do not insult me by inferring that I cannot recognise racism and racists. I am a black woman in my early 30s. My partner is white (and has a shaved head!) Probably unlike yourself I have had to endure abuse from racist morons all my life. But do not expect to witness it on a night out in Highgate.

I only posted the comment below as I was genuinely quite shocked by what I witnessed in this bar the night of the England game as it was behaviour so extreme one truly does not expect it in such a place. And please do not accuse me of lying, the racist chanters and those abusing the young asian lad were not asked to leave and did seem to be friendly with the bar staff.

This is one bar I shall not be returning to until they sort out their dirtry laundry.


muswellhillgirl - 17 Jul 2010 19:08
muswellhillgirl must be a sales rep for Saint John's or something. BTW who or what is Saint John's!

Phillipus2005, You deserve a drink! Couldn't have refute muswellhillgirl's comment anymore eloquently than that.

Anyway, I'm a black (good looking - hehe) dude, been frequenting the beloved Charlotte at least twice a week for as long as I can remember. I know for a fact the management won't tolerate that sort of behaviour...

The food is nice, staff friendly, overall a nice atmosphere to relax with a beer and still have a conversation...unlike some pubs.
Tip: Try Hoegaarden with ice, its heavenly!


Desmondo - 5 Jul 2010 17:24
Muswellhillgirl clearly visited a different charlotte despard pub.

I drink there at least twice a week after a martial arts class in the area, and have done for the past two years or so.

I am a religious jew and this very evening I stood there sharing a drink with a black man, a Pole and an Englishman. Whilst it sounds like the start of a particularly poor joke, my point is that any suggestion that the management tolerate racism is scurrilous make-believe - I have never felt anything but welcome and have never seen any "BNP-types" in the pub - assuming we don't merely describe any white man with a shaved head and a St Georges t-shirt as a "BNP Type"; and we should not because it belittles honest to goodness racism.

I can't comment about the evening in question and there may well have been bad behaviour and even racism. Sadly that is all too common in football. What I can say though is that I have never seen anything of the sort, and I have seen enough of the business end of racial abuse to recognise it when I see it.

I also take issue with Muswellhillgirl's cliched pigeonholing of the various people in the bar - there are always going to be people in bars whom we dislike; part of being a grown-up is learning to deal with it... maturely.

To other readers of this review, the atmosphere is good, music excellent, a pretty interesting collection of art on the Walls, and the staff friendly and welcoming.
Phillipus2005 - 1 Jul 2010 00:34
really nice warm and friendly pub

we ate there and it was a huge plateful for a fair price

watching footy without having to jostle or crane my neck - big telly's

good job
chizzachong - 29 Jun 2010 14:32
From the above comments, they must either be thinking of a different bar to the one i've visited or are friends of the management.
Myself and a small group went there last week for the England game. The decor was nice enough (big pine tables and spacious) but it's the clientele that makes a bar and this case makes it a bad one. The dregs of self satisfied Highgate society, loud city-boy types and in a corner beside the bar the real icing on the cake - a group of obnoxious BNP types, resplendent in St George Cross shirts & baseball caps and loudly chanting racist abuse whenever a coloured player touched the ball! Later they even abused a terrified looking asian customer. They did not appear to be in any way rebuked for this outrageous behaviour and, indeed, we even saw the ringleader of this group of thugs joking with regulars and staff. This truly was the last straw and we left for Saint John's, adamant never to return to this loathesome establishment again.
muswellhillgirl - 24 Jun 2010 12:44
Whilst there is a great deal about the decor and layout of this place I don't like, I must pay tribute to the excellent new landlord for the efforts he has made recently in trying to make a go of this place.

I particularly like the fact that he said he would be happy to charge 5 a pint if it meant none of the locals from The Lion or The Whittington Stone ever set foot in the place.

Respect!
ImOnlyHereForTheBeer - 18 May 2010 01:05
Recently moved to the area and thrilled to have this as my local! Only been in a few times so far but have been really impressed with the food and found the staff to be very friendly and the atmosphere really relaxed and welcoming. Only downside was that there were too many gooners for customers when my (spurs fan) boyfriend went in to watch the derby!
whispertoamy - 2 Dec 2009 16:07
A group of us aussies went to this pub for the first time to try out the tuesday night quiz, free to enter and had a great time! We didnt win but the questions were reasonable and of a wide variety. We had a nice meal and enjoyed the wine and of course the lager!
The MC was good, he gave us a laugh!! A good night out!
11438310 - 14 Nov 2009 17:59
Not sure what it was like previously but it's a great pub now!
cmofish - 2 Sep 2009 15:06
Went in here a couple of times while it was The Settle Inn. Awful place at the time, unfriendly atmosphere and terrible beer. However, since the management change there have been so many improvements to the pub. The food is absolutely amazing (I'd recommend the beef burger!) and not overpriced, with a vastly improved wine and spirits selection, and a good selection of beers on tap. The pub certainly looks a lot better, with friendly staff and (at last) friendly clientele. The regular quiz on a Tuesday is a must-go, with free entry and plenty of banter to be had. This is my local, and it was about time it sorted its act out, which it certainly has!
doctorclod - 12 May 2009 16:03
Living in the Highgate/Archway area I knew about this pub when it was previously known as the Settle Inn but only went in a few times as I didn't think much of it but since the re-brand I hardly recognise the place! The atmosphere is great due to the music, the new decor and now the new clientele! The food is excellent and reasonably priced and with Addlestones, Flowers, Becks and Hoegaarden on tap there's no reason for me to leave. There's also live music every Wednesday and most Sunday's. My new favourite pub!
mrnaypz - 12 May 2009 14:44
Visited this again recently under its change of name (and ownership?). The interior was broadly similar, I think - I fancied that some walls may have been painted as it seemed a bit darker than I remembered it. The two Bass pumps both had the clips turned round - not sure whether this lack of real ale was a one-off or a regular problem. I lower my rating by one notch because of that.
grecian - 6 May 2009 11:06
Now renamed the Charlotte Despard. Not sure whether it's changed otherwise.
grecian - 12 Jan 2009 14:56
I found this pub to be rather better than the below reviews indicate - it is located in a tremendously inhospitable location, yards away from the thundering traffic of the A1 just south of Suicide Bridge, but on a Tuesday evening I found the pub welcoming and friendly (and quite busy to boot). Just the one ale on tap - Bass, rather uninspiringly - but the food smelt good and the cheese board being advertised at the bar looked really good. Sadly, I didn't have time to stay for food but I'd return here.
grecian - 26 Nov 2008 10:48
If atmosphere could be measured in money, this place would be insolvent. Lovely staff, reasonably priced, dreadful 'selection' of wine. Totally dead though, and I felt like everyone was looking at us. Avoid like the plague.
stuartw - 6 Apr 2008 14:50
It's a shame people have found this pub either unpleasant or unfriendly. For a Geordie wanting a local pub feeling, I've never been so warmly welcomed to a pub in London. On our first visit, we ended up celebrating one of the staff's birthdays all together, and the generosity of the bubbly landlord knows no bounds - even making a full batch of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday for all the punters. It may be quiet for some, but for others, it can be quite homely.
biki - 27 Feb 2008 13:50
Not my kind of place at all...oh dear!!
tottenhamsean - 13 Jan 2008 17:27
Awful place.
LagerLout - 21 Oct 2007 14:13
This is a pretty small establishment with a widescreen TV and sky sports. It is quite bright and airy with the kitchen area in plain view at the back of the place.

It was pretty empty, but I was still sized up by all the regulars that came in.

As I left I said a cheery goodbye to the barmaid who served me my pint of lager and got absolutely no response.

I wont bother returning!
Strongers - 23 May 2007 08:52
Just Been There,Terrible Attempt As A Gastro Pub,Surely AJoke ,Just A Boozer.
wrgrv - 7 Aug 2006 17:04
This place seems to rely on its ready-made clientele of hospital staff - and consequently doesn't make as much of an effort as it could do. Was in there last night for the quiz and I think every member of our party (who all arrived at different times) commented on the stroppy attitude of the less than welcoming barmaid. I know she's probably only making the minimum wage but cracking a smile wouldn't hurt
anonymous - 12 Apr 2006 18:37
Used to be called the Dog now modernised and turned into gastro pub. Not as friendly as it used to be.
jamie.nakin - 15 Dec 2005 18:39
I went in last week and they only had Bass on which was almost warm and came served with an inch of frothy head. Not cheap either. Not worth making a special journey for.
dearl - 28 Oct 2005 17:34
this pub is ok if u like that sort thing
drumandmonkeyfan - 24 Mar 2005 15:06
good pub but a bit strict on the throwing out times - no chance for a quickie...
anonymous - 3 Mar 2005 16:56
good friendly pub
good food
anonymous - 13 Oct 2004 19:59
This is a fairly new gastro-pub on the site of an excellent former Wetherspoons house called the Dog. Wetherspoons sold the pub to another chain called Ambishus in the late nineties, but more recently it has become part of the Settle Inn chain. Good food is the order of the day and, albeit fairly limited, one or two cask ales are available. The pub is friendly enough, but will never be the same as it was in 1997
Lee - Lee.A.Newton@jobcentreplus.gov.uk - 15 Sep 2003 17:56

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