Red Lion & Sun

25 North Road Highgate Village London N6 4BE

The Flask has the fame, but this laidback gastro-pub is the venue of choice for many locals. Stylish without ever showing off, its dove-grey panelling and nicely scuffed floorboards provide a relaxed ambience for an evening of Greene King ales or an impressive array of single malts: a superb selection gathered from around the world, and including curios like an authentic recreation of the malt Ernest Shackleton took to Antarctica in 1907. Fires keep things cosy in winter, while in summer the doors are thrown open onto front and rear beer gardens, both spared the gaggle of tourists that crowd The Flask at weekends. Come to eat, too. A British menu offers the likes of Jersey rock oysters and Scottish mussels alongside posh pub grub, while the Sunday lunch is excellent – a favourite with Doctor Who actor and Highgate local Matt Smith, apparently. As legendary are the summer hog roasts; check the website for dates.

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