The Holly Bush

22 Holly Mount Hampstead London NW3 6SG

For almost everyone who discovers it, the Holly Bush becomes a favourite Hampstead pub. It’s tucked away in a backstreet, a couple of minutes north of Hampstead tube station, but it feels way off the city beat, almost rural in fact, with its series of snugs and bars. Its only drawback is that it’s justly popular and on weekends it’s hard to find space in one of the many rooms and alcoves. But come in the week, or strike lucky, and you’ll have the best time. It’s friendly, the beers are excellent (five hand-pulled Fullers bitters and a fine Harveys from Sussex), and it feels like, well, a proper pub. If you want to eat, and be sure of a table, you’ll need to book ahead. But the food is rather incidental and a bit hit-and-miss. Best order the simplest thing on the menu, or on Sunday the roast, which they mostly get right.

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