Pub Quiz! Which pub is this?
"Charles Dickens used [this pub] as the setting for a few the scenes in his novels, and apparently Shakespeare himself acted in the courtyard."
The Twelve Pins is a big old Irish pub that sits on the corner of Stroud Green Road and Seven Sister Road, next to a bowling alley, hence the name. On a direct route between Finsbury Park Station and Finsbury Park, this is the last stop for anyone heading to an event held in the park, and the last chance to empty a bulging bladder for anyone who doesn’t enjoy festival type toilets. The management’s signs prohibiting use of the facilities to non-customers are of course wilfully ignored. But should the alleviation of the need to piss give way to a need to get pissed, this pub, though maybe packed, should be able to provide service quickly enough through its large square bar, its multiple sets of pumps and its well practiced staff.
The bar dominates this open plan pub, whilst the high ceiling is supported by impressive looking pillars, and the huge windows give the place a large and airy feel. The decor is typical of Irish pubs throughout the world, but thankfully the tat is kept to a minimum. The walls are all painted a dark green and feature a number of antique decorative mirrors advertising various Irish Whiskeys and Stouts. Quite obviously, this is not a new pub; there’s a fine line between well aged and run down, this pub is just about staying on the right side of the line. The tables and chairs, whilst looking well worn, are at least still fairly sturdy. The cushioned benches that run along two of the walls have certainly see better days though, they were obviously built to last as the fabric hasn’t ripped, it’s just become blackened with age. These benches have clearly seen a lot of arse. A number of wood and etched glass partitions divide these two long benches into smaller sections, creating booths and a little privacy for those who wish to go where many arses have gone before, which in this case doesn’t mean the Houses of Parliament.
The Twelve Pins is one of those rare Irish pubs that remembers it’s Irish when it comes to things like showing sports. Along with Sky Sports it has Setanta Sports and will show Ireland Internationals before England Internationals. It does still show Premiership games however, and with two large screens and plenty of space, it’s as good a venue as any in the area; for the midday games the windows are covered with large blinds to keep out any unwanted daylight. If daylight is your thing however, there are a number of picnic benches outside the pub, though these are on the path by the road rather than in a beer garden.
Review by AJS