For years Elldrew’s ‘local’ pub in Kentish Town NW5 was less than 100 metres away, but we never dared enter in fear that we might not make it out alive. You see, The Grafton was a run down pub that attracted the wrong crowd, and as far as we knew, it was kept afloat via behind-the-scenes criminal activity (if it wasn’t then it sure did a great impression that it did).
A traditional cornerstone pub in an upcoming area of Kentish Town on the borders of eclectic Camden (well Elldrew did live there after all), it was only a matter of time before someone threw some love (and a bucket of paint) at the old girl, taking on board the current gastro pub ‘style’ and ‘etiquette’ that we have all become accustomed to, so that The Grafton could re-open and breath new life through her doors.
Elldrew moved out of the area in 2012 and guess what, The Grafton got a make-over that same year! Oh and that’s not all, it’s been named ‘British Pub of the Year 2014’. Talk about bad timing! We had heard great things and knew it was getting a lot of positive press. Driving past it and seeing the trendy crowd coming and going, we decided it was time to investigate.
The owners have cleverly kept a lot of the buildings original features, which has set the design theme throughout. The main ground floor bar is open and inviting. The first floor also has another lovely bar and seating area along with an all-weather roof terrace (bring on summer).
Texas Joe’s is the in-house food service, so if you have a meat craving then you will love it. Proper American fare at proper American portions. Take your pick from chilli hot dogs, ribs, sausages, brisket, burgers, nachos, chicken wings, onion rings, coleslaw…you get the drift – everything that isn’t good for you, but tastes so good. Elldrew sampled the Stanley’s Clucker chicken burger (delicious), the hot dog (spicy spicy yumminess), whole smoked stuffed jalapeños (wrapped in bacon and stuffed with brisket and cheese heart attackness, in a good way) with a side of fried pickles (interesting) and cowboy beans (served with some jalapeño cornbread).
Overall great flavours on a plate and perfectly priced for what is at the end of the day, pub grub. The ‘platters’ are apparently the way to go and actually we saw three people sitting near us share one, which made us feel rather piggish. But who cares, we can eat salad for the rest of the week if need be! Good food, good drinks, good crowd, good attitude, Elldrew are loving the transformation. We only wish someone had done this years ago…but at least it’s only down the road from our new house so we can pop in for a bit of The Grafton love, when needed.
20 Prince of Wales Road, London, NW5 3LG
Some images taken for The Grafton website.