Every third Thursday of the month, two of my cousins, a few other people and myself visit a different pub in London. My two cousins and I curate it. Every third Thursday, one of us lets the others know where and when we’re meeting and that’s about as complex as it gets.
Last month I introduced them to the one of my current favourite haunts, The Wrestlers in Highgate. Somewhere that I have developed a great affection for in recent weeks and wanted to share it with you.
The Wrestlers has stood on its current site since 1547, with (obviously) a fair few owners. The current ones are in their 16th year of running the establishment and have received the award of ‘best pub in Highgate’, by local residents.
And that’s really what the Wrestlers is. It’s a fantastic local boozer. Not an upmarket gastro but comfortably rammed full of friendly locals, meeting their mates, swapping stories, or just relaxing with their families.
Quickly dipping back quickly into the pub’s heritage, it hosts a biannual event called ‘Swearing on The Horns’, which I believe was part of the journey of becoming a Freeman of Highgate. These men are encouraged to come and place their hands on a set of deer antlers and swear an oath, along the lines of the below:
You must not eat brown bread while you can get white, except if you like the brown the best.
You must not drink small beer while you can get strong, except if you like the small the best.
You must not kiss the maid while you can kiss the mistress, except if you like the maid the best, but sooner than loose a good chance you may kiss them both.
Anyway, back to the pub itself. Located up a steep hill from Highgate station, the first thing that you notice when walking in is the smell that comes from the real log fire in the corner. A great welcome.
Dogs are also allowed and most nights that I’ve been there, you can find a dog running around enjoying the attention of friends and family. On our first visit, we bagged a sofa and spent most of the evening making friends with the Irish Setter on the sofa next to us.
Food, is supposed to be impressive but every time I’ve been, I’ve ended up being engrossed in conversation or my pint of Leffe and completely forgotten the food. However, there is a late night curryhouse next door. Comically named Kiplings.
A wide range of mainstream beers are available on draught with one of my favourite beers, Brooklyn Larger, also on offer. Also, there are a few rotating cask ales and a surprisingly extensive wine list.
It’s a fantastic homely boozer and one that I will continue to frequent and visit for a Sunday Roast, or for a few beers, or just for a glass of wine by the fire. Definitely do try to pop in if you’re ever in the area, or just looking for an enchanting old school boozer.