North London

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Kentish Town pubs top the poll in CAMRA’s North London Branch’s Pub of Pubs!

Tuesday 12 December 2023

CAMRA’s North London Branch’s has been running its Pub of the Year Competition since 1993. The Branch is now in its 50th year and so they thought it would be great to celebrate pubs by running a Pub of Pubs’ Competition. This featured all the pubs that have won the Pub of the Year over the thirty years the Competition has run. CAMRA members voted the Pineapple, in Leverton Street the winner, followed by the Southampton Arms in Highgate Road.

Pineapple - Pub of Pubs 2023 - Colin Coyne and Pineapple staff

Branch Chairman, Colin Coyne, said,” This award is a celebration of great pubs, all of whom believe they are there to support their community. But in these times with soaring bills and continuing shortages of staff, even the best pubs are up against it. We need to support our pubs more than ever and we hope this Award goes a little way to do so by promoting some of the best pubs in London”.

Colin added “It’s pleasing that fourteen of sixteen pubs, who won a Pub of the Year Award, are still in existence and selling cask beer. And it seems appropriate that the winning pub, the Pineapple, was a pub that closed in 2002 and was only saved thanks to a concerted campaign by locals and CAMRA to save it. It even managed to come back after a fire in 2010! It’s a pub that has consistently sold great beer; its first appearance in the Good Beer Guide back in 1980 testifies to this and its warm welcome”.

Rob, the manager of the Pineapple was delighted with the Award. He said, “I am very honoured to have received this prestigious award. It’s a testament to the staff over the years and the ongoing support we have received from CAMRA and may it continue for many years to come”.

Pineapple - Pub of Pubs 2023 - Colin Coyne and Rob the Manager

The second place, the Southampton Arms, is another pub that has come back from almost the brink. Peter Holt and his partner, Jo, took the pub on 2009. When the pub won CAMRA’s Regional Pub of the Year in 2011, Peter said, ‘It was pretty awful. The previous landlady had been ill and so the pub had not been maintained. We initially walked away but it was a lovely building. I love old pubs and a small pub is better; you don’t need many people to give it atmosphere’.

Southampton Arms - Pub of Pubs 2023 runner up

Peter recounted the sticky carpets, fruit machines and woodchip wallpaper with a grimace but called in friends to help him refurbish the pub, even reclaiming the garden from the wheelie bins and rubbish dump. Colin said “Like the Pineapple, the Southampton is a regular entry into CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide and is also known for its community approach; it too welcomes everyone. And the pub is a destination for cider drinkers, winning CAMRA’s North London Cider Pub of Year three times. It’s very worthy of its runner’s up place”.

Extra facts

  • The pub placed third was the Antwerp Arms in Tottenham. This is another pub that was almost lost. The Georgian building has been serving local people since 1822. In 2013, the pub faced demolition before the local community and CAMRA campaigners came together to prevent the developers taking action. The Antwerp Arms Association was set up, raising funds through shares and a grant from the Social Investment Bank. This enabled the pub to be purchased two years later. It’s a great example of local people taking ownership of and doing something to keep what they value. The Antwerp Arms is the only community owned pub in North London.

  • 16 pubs have won CAMRA North London much sought after Pub of the Year Award. Sadly, we have lost two: Bree Louise near Euston, thanks to HS2 and the Oakdale Tavern, which fell to the developer's wrecking ball in 2011, despite a campaign by local residents and CAMRA to save this well-loved community

  • The other pubs were:

  • The Pineapple’s full address is 51 Leverton Street, NW5 2NX; opening times 12.00-11 Mon-Sat; 12-10.30pm Sun. Nearest station is Kentish Town. Website:

  • The Southampton Arms is at 139 Highgate Road, NW5 1LE; 07958 780073; website:

  • CAMRA is the Campaign for Real Ale and is a volunteer membership organisation with over 200 volunteer branches across the UK and over 150,000 members.

  • CAMRA nationally was formed in 1971. It exists to promote good beer, protect pubs and defend consumer rights.

  • The North London branch of CAMRA covers most of the North London postcodes plus WC1 and parts of WC2, and has almost 700 pubs in it.