Monday, April 28, 2014

The Joker of Penton Street, 12th April

My first visit to the Joker was on a balmy Thursday before heading to Smokehouse and we just had one quick drink sitting outside, which meant I wasn't really able to assess the place.

I had the chance to come back three days later with some friends for some early evening drinking on a Saturday. We got there at about six and were practically the only people in the place. It's not on the 'strip' of Upper Street's bars and restaurants so if you don't know it's there, you wouldn't know it's there. Luckily, I do.

It's a cool pub with a modern style. Definitely a pub not a bar, but light and airy with a few quirky decorations thrown in. I loved the huge wooden comedy/tragedy masks and the 'Be Here Now' clock.

They also currently have Tongue 'n' Cheeks in residence serving up their famous heartbreaker burgers (so-called because beef heart is mixed in) but they've got a few other things to choose from as well if you don't like burgers, offal, or the idea of them both combined. I would fall into this camp so I had the picchiapo fries - chips topped with some fantastic, juicy pulled brisket that had been cooked with peppers and onions in a tomatoey sauce, a take on a traditional Roman dish apparently. And the chips this was heaped on weren't bad neither. They also do a philly cheesesteak which one of my friends had. This was a pretty hearty serving of meat and cheese overflowing from a hoagie-type roll.

Two of my friends did order the burger and loved them (I don't think they actually realised any heart was involved and I didn't want to tell them!). We then settled back and had more than a few pints and bottles of wine between us, before leaving at around 9.

It was a really chilled out place, perfect for a bunch of friends to catch up, and actually be able to hear each other - no din of music or crowds. In that respect it shares elements in common with an 'old man's pub' but this is definitely for the younger pub-goer. They also have gigs and quiz nights on in the week if you want to do more than just sit and drink. An excellent haven from the hustle and bustle of 'Supper Street'.

The Craft Beer Co is also just around the corner and doesn't get too rowdy, so we went there for a couple, before making our way to Dalston for Scared to Dance, which I'm pleased to say was much livelier and rocking than the first one I went to!

Square Meal

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