Often maligned as being Highbury’s slightly rundown sister, Finsbury Park is an area that is categorically ‘on the up’. Follow our Finsbury Park taxi driver’s guide to unearth the area’s best new developments and trusty old faithfuls. Anyone who’s ever travelled through Finsbury Park’s dreaded tube and train station knows that it’s not just a maze of complicated labyrinthine tunnels, but also one of rush hour’s most unpleasant commute points. A problem that’s only worsened when you step off the concourse into the fumes and concrete of its neighbouring bus station. But take the time to slope away from its rather dour travel hub and you’ll start to uncover an area of London that’s as diverse and fascinating as it is increasingly desirable. You’ll even see why – whereas in the past people lived here as an affordable alternative to neighbouring Highbury and Angel – Londoners are increasingly moving here because they want to. Addison Lee have been helping those Londoners get where they need to go since 1975. And in that time, we like to think we’ve got to the heart of what our customers want, need and expect from us – a service that’s not only reliable and comfortable but also one that’s safe and affordable. That’s why we take enormous pride in offering such a great alternative to other costly Finsbury park taxi companies. Never charging our customers unexpected ‘surge fares’, never demanding more money just because we’re busy, always providing the same high level of service no matter the time of day. That service is our promise to you. Which is why we’ve put together this handy Finsbury Park taxi driver’s guide. So you’ll know where to go as well as how to get there. All you need now is an Addison Lee.
Where to drink
The World’s End
Our favourite pub that’s close to the tube station, The World’s End is one of those places that doesn’t completely know what it is. And while some bars may suffer at the hands of their own indifference, this is a place that seems to benefit from it. Part pub, part restaurant and (perhaps most importantly) part gig venue, The World’s End is the kind of place you can just as easily drop in for one pint as you can stay for the evening. The decor is probably best described as antique cool – in that a lot of the furniture looks like it absconded from your grandma’s house. But we think that just adds to the charm.
21-23 Stroud Green Road, N4 3EF
To describe this ‘pub’ as grand is probably to do it something of a disservice. The Salisbury well and truly puts pay to the straggling idea that Finsbury Park is at all a rundown area. Harking back to a more romantic London era, this is a place that will satisfy and delight thirsty locals as much as it will visiting tourists. From its tiled mosaic flooring to its maroon velvet drapes, The Salisbury is every bit a vintage old world boozer. Come on a winter’s day and you can settle into one of the little alcoves or next to a roaring fire. There’s a great range of ales and the food is always hearty and satisfying.
1 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, St Ann's Road, N4 1JX
For anyone seeking out a more authentic north London experience, head immediately to the charmingly hidden away Faltering Fullback. An Irish pub in principle, this snug and incredibly welcoming little establishment has long been at the heart of the Finsbury Park community. Inside, it’s a little compact. But its liveliness manages to make a merit of its size. And if you happen to drop by in the summer months, the garden serves as a little oasis of calm. An ideal spot to enjoy a pint or a jug of Pimms on a hot day.
19 Perth Road, N4 3HB
Where to eat
You’ll likely not eat a better steak – at such reasonable price – anywhere in London than at the city’s several Hawksmoor restaurants. So it’s a great relief to know that the clever chaps behind that ‘chain’ have now tried their hand at something new. Foxlow is, for all intents and purposes Hawksmoor’s little brother. Offering a more relaxed and altogether genial approach to fine lunching and dining, this terrific little restaurant is the ideal place to get your fill of British-European food, great wine and some terrific cocktails.
71-73 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 0AS
For enthusiasts of Oriental food, the phrase Japanese-Korean fusion should bring a certain level of excitement. Once you try the food in Dotori, that excitement will immediately feel justified. Located right next to the dreaded Finsbury Park tube station, this incredibly snug little restaurant has been something of a location eatery for some time now. The food is about as exciting and authentic as you’ll find anywhere in London and the restaurant itself will have you feeling as though you’ve wandered into a whole other continent. The only downside is how busy it always seems to be. We recommend you book ahead.
3 Stroud Green Rd, N4 2DQ
To say the clue is in the name with Season Kitchen is to point out the obvious, but in a market so completely inundated with restaurants serving ‘ seasonal, local produce’ it’s refreshing to find a place that’s stayed so true to that maxim. Like its setting, Season keeps its menu light, breezy and easy to follow. There doesn’t seem to be any particular cuisine at large here, just the fantastic and innovative use of a wide spectrum of flavours. Come by in the winter and they serve one of Finsbury Park’s best Sunday roasts. While throughout the rest of the year, the focus remains on what suits – and tastes – best.
53 Stroud Green Rd, N4 3EF
What to do
It seems slightly trite to suggest you visit Finsbury’s actual park while you’re here, but there’s a reason they named a whole area after it. After years of neglect, Finsbury Park saw a massive period of regeneration when, in 2005 it was granted £5m by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Since then it’s retaken its place as the centrepiece of this thriving multicultural area. By 2007 it was awarded the Green Flag Award and has remained as one of north London’s most visited and appreciated parks ever since. There’s a gallery, a lake, a skate park and tennis courts, all available for use by the general public. Or you can just go for a lovely long stroll.
Endymion Rd, N4 1EE
Rowans Tenpin Bowl
With the rise in popularity of glamorous bowling alleys like All Star Lanes, it’s nice to know that an iconic venue like Rowans can continue to survive. Even if it only manages by the skin of its teeth. So nearly the victim of a developer’s bulldozer in 2014, this 24 lane bowling alley stayed the hand of some over zealous property magnates by the good grace of the Finsbury Park locals. Meaning you and your friends can still pop down there seven days a week for karaoke, bowling, pool and pizza. Proving it’s not all gentrified corporate businesses in London… yet.
10 Stroud Green Rd, N4 2DF
We may not technically be in Highbury but with the relocation of Arsenal FC to the enormous Emirates stadium in 2006, Finsbury Park and Holloway became the nearest tube stations to ‘The Gunners’ new home. With a capacity of 60,000 that new home is about as state of the art as you’ll find in London and although that also makes it the most expensive place to watch premiership football in the country, it does mean you get your money’s worth. Great patrons of sexy football, Arsenal FC have long been accused of sacrificing winning for the sake of style. And while that’s bad news for the fans, it does make an entertaining spectacle for visiting neutrals.
Hornsey Rd, N7 7AJ