Barking - Gospel Oak Rail User Group

Eating And Drinking Along The Line

The following selection is compiled from people's comments and recommendations and is by no means a comprehensive guide - suggestions for additions are always welcome!

Gospel Oak
The Old Oak is directly opposite the station- lively locals' pub with Sharp's Doom Bar plus a guest ale on handpump. But if you have longer to spare, turn left into Gordon House Road, go under the bridge and turn right at the junction with Highgate Road, and there (in the shadow of our one-time Highgate Road High Level station – what a pity it’s not still open!) you will find the utterly wonderful Southampton Arms. After years as an unremarkable Courage pub, this has now been taken back to real old-fashioned basics as an ale and cider house, with an awesome selection of both (mostly from small brewers and producers) plus traditional pub fare like slices of real pork pie and sausage rolls. A gem, and a must-visit…..but don’t make too many plans for the rest of the day! If you just fancy a quick bite and a cuppa, check out the little snack bar immediately on the far side of the railway bridge arch.

Upper Holloway

Walking away from the station up Holloway Road towards Archway Northern Line tube station, there are several interesting local independent cafes, including a chippy.  Pub-wise, heading up Holloway Road you come to the Mother Redcap, a REAL Irish pub with astounding tiling and - naturally - excellent Guinness. Going across the major road junction and up the Archway Road, you'll find the Charlotte Despard, North London pub award winner - a lively house with good beer, a youngish clientele but a welcome for all.

Crouch Hill

Opposite the station entrance is The Brave Sir Robin

The Old Dairy is a short walk along Crouch Hill towards Finsbury Park.  This is a lively gastro-pub / eaterie, housed in the former Friern Manor Farm Dairy building dating from the 1840s.  Take a look at the superb decorated panels along the frontage that showed how milk was brought from cow to home then!  Across the junction is The Stapleton, restored to its old name after stints as The Larrik and Danzibar!  Several cask beers are on tap and food is available during evenings.
Head along Stroud Green Road towards Finsbury Park for cheaper food offerings. There are many cafes and restaurants, ranging from Pizzerias to Kebabs, Mediterranean to Mexican, Thai to Turkish, and a good Chippy. 

Harringay Green Lanes

There's a McDonalds next to the station for those who like 'fast-food' offerings.  Opposite in the re-vamped Arena shopping centre, a Costa Coffee, with snacks and cakes, but if supermarket shopping before catching your train, Sainsburys has a little cafe area with hot drinks, snacks and buns until 8pm.  Opposite the complex road junction into the shopping centre is a classic daytime cafe, the N4 Eatery, at 351 Green Lanes.

However Green Lanes offers much much more, as the stretch north of the station and railway bridge (towards Turnpike Lane) is an ethnic foodies paradise.    Many shops are piled high with fresh fruit and veg, along with couple of breadshops and Turkish patisseries.  There's a wide selection of cafes and takeaways, several sit-down restaurants with a strong bias towards real and wonderful Turkish fare, a truly amazing selection of eating houses!  If you can't find something to delight your taste-buds, give up!  To wash your eats down, try the Old Ale House, corner of Burgoyne Rd, which has up to four guest ales, or the astounding high-Victorian gem, The Salisbury further along Green Lanes, by St Ann's Road. Fullers beers and guest ales on handpump; pricey but the ornate surroundings are worth that bit extra.

Blackhorse Road

The Standard across the road is alas closed. Formerly one of the friendliest gig venues in town, it saw many great gigs including occasional appearances by visiting legends (eg Arthur Brown, Suzi Quatro, Wilko Johnson, John Otway, the Electric Prunes) and local cult genius The Bevis Frond. A 5/10 minute walk along Forest Road towards South Tottenham brings you to the Ferry Boat, an historic and agreeable pub (with garden) near the River Lea and the reservoirs, which does real ale, good wines and food. And across the road, a short way up Blackhorse Lane, is Rodi’s Café – a wonderful early-60s timewarp!

Walthamstow Queens Road

Go straight on out of the station down Exmouth Road, turn right at the end, and the bridge under the Chingford line brings you to the heart of Walthamstow Market. Turn left up the High Street and within minutes you come to Manze's Pie & Mash Shop - an unchanged piece of genuine East End tradition from the no-nonsense food to the tiling-and-wooden-bench interior. Turn right up the High Street and you come to The Chequers, now transformed into a most excellent pub with great beers, classy food, “distressed-chic” decor and a lively atmosphere.

Leyton Midland Road

Turn right outside the station and a 10-15 minute walk - past Tesco on your left, then shortly afterwards turn left at the lights - brings you to the The Drum, a small Wetherspoons house (one of their oldest) and thus less cavernous and more characterful than many of their other pubs. Guest ales and the usual good-value Wetherspoons food range.

Leytonstone High Road

Leytonstone has up & come quite a bit in recent times (though so far without becoming yuppified), and has quite a lot going for it these days. Turn right outside the station, and a short walk brings you to the Bell – Fullers London Pride plus usually a guest beer, and good value food. Turn left outside the station, walk for 5/10 minutes to the town centre and you reach the Red Lion, now back to being a proper pub after many years as Zulu’s nightclub. This massive, long-neglected pub building has been stripped down and restored in traditional style, making the most of the main bar’s grand scale and huge windows. Wide range of real ales and interesting bottled beers (discounts on ales for CAMRA members), plus gastro-style food and a buzzing atmosphere. A major and very welcome addition to the local pub scene. What’s Cookin’, the justly-renowned roots/country music club is located at The Ex-Servicemen's Club in Harvey Road (just behind the Red Lion) - highly recommended for a great night out!

A bit further along you come to the The Birds recently re-named and re-vamped in honour of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, who was born a little further back along the High Road towards Stratford. A bit further along across the road is the Walnut Tree, a decent medium-size Wetherspoons with a good range of real ales and food. Also at this end of town is the North Star in Browning Road (turn right off the High Road just before the Green Man roundabout) - an unspoilt little gem of a traditional local in the old "village" part of Leytonstone, with an ever-changing range of good real ales and a friendly welcome.

Restaurants: The Star of India (near Green Man roundabout) has been in business under the same ownership for many years and the food is nothing less than delicious. It can get pretty busy even on mid-week evenings which is always a good sign.

Wanstead Park
Actually situated at the north end of Forest Gate, this area was a beer desert for many years – not any more! Turn left out of the station, walk the short distance to Forest Gate Station, and just round the corner on the right you'll find the welcoming oasis of the Forest Tavern. Formerly the Railway, this large pub building was taken over in early 2013 by Antic (the same small company who took over and transformed the Red Lion in Leytonstone) and stripped back to its basic structure before reopening with a mouth-watering range of real ales. There is also a restaurant at the rear. In addition, just before you reach the Forest Tavern, The Fox & Hounds has reintroduced real ale and offers Sharp's Doom Bar plus a guest ale at reasonable prices in a down-to-earth, local-pub atmosphere.


Turn left outside the station and you come immediately to the Barking Dog – a cavernous Wetherspoons with guest ales & food at competitive prices. Just beyond, across Wakering Road is the Spotted Dog, much bigger than it looks, it also has a lower level and beer garden and does a range of food.

Food to travel?
One change over the last few years has been the growth of convenience store sized outlets of the major supermarket chains.  A number have sprung up near to stations and we will keep members and friends posted through our 'Have Your Say' section.  Please let us know if you think a good shop has opened within 300yds of a station that sells, for example, reasonable sandwiches, hot and cold drinks, fruit or other sundries for travelling snack meals.

Also do let us know if you use any of the pubs or cafes, whether or not you have a good experience, or we hope not a bad one.  If there were complaints, we would go and have a look ourselves if possible.  Happy eating and drinking!

    New Look