COMMENT: ‘We need to support our local pubs’

John Cryne, CAMRA north London chairman

John Cryne, CAMRA north London chairman - Credit: Archant

In 1995, CAMRA published a guide to pubs in north London, in which Kentish Town was, almost dismissively, described as having plenty of stations but few wonderful pubs.

In 2013, the re-opened Tapping The Admiral was named the CAMRA north London pub of the year and for five years out of six, the “premiership” title winners have come from Kentish Town.

With the much improved Grafton holding our current pub of the season title, it is pretty much a clean sweep. How have we got here?

It has not been an easy road. In that time nearly half the pubs in the area have closed and the depredations continue with the conversion of The Gloucester Arms in Leighton Road into offices.

But the community has not let their pubs go without fighting and the seminal battle came with the campaign to Save The Pineapple in 2001.

I like to see that date as a turning point. The pub was saved by the community and perhaps the community gained the confidence to believe it could have the kind of pubs it wanted.

Perhaps it inspired a certain type of entrepreneur who thought Kentish Town would be a good place for the non-identikit, independent-minded pub to prosper, like The Junction Tavern, The Southampton Arms and many others.

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And so we now have a fine collection of very different pubs serving great beer and great food. Beer, and in particular real ale, is at the centre of this renewed interest in the pub scene and why that scene is changing for the better. But let’s not be complacent. As CAMRA says, “use it or lose it”. We need to continue to support our local pubs. Cheers!