The Compton Arms

Almost nothing in London is reinvented more often than the pub. Pubs here switch from old to new, from families to football, and from crisps to croquettes in a matter of months. Depending on the preferred reinvention, all it takes is: 1) a craft beer tap, 2) a big screen, or 3) an industrial amount of breadcrumbs. And in the case of the reinvention of The Compton Arms, it’s a little bit of all three. For much of its modern life, the pub has been a back alley, bungalow-like neighbourhood pub behind Upper Street, almost solely serving local Arsenal fans. Now, it’s gone a bit gastro. The carpets have come out and the cod’s roe has come in. There are still TVs here, but there’s tagliatelle too.

It’s the food and the people that’s made the Compton—once a ‘drop a pin please’ pub—a destination. The small plates menu is of the sharing and changing variety. There are always fried potatoes with aioli, and there might be sumptuous pork collar in a sweet, sour, and spicy dressing. If you're lucky, a cheeseburger inspired by Ronald McDonald. Both indoors and outdoors is almost constantly humming. And though the demographic does now definitely skew younger in the evenings, there’s still a mix of heads at the bar and on match day. Only these days some are here for burrata, as well as booze.

The Compton Arms review image

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

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