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The new owners of the Earl Haig Memorial Hall (Antic Pubs) opened it to the public on Thursday last 31st October 2013, All Hallow's Eve, the time at which the Christian Church prepares to remember the dead and Americans carve faces in pumpkins. Not an inappropriate day to choose given Earl Haig's record as a military commander.
The place was completely abuzz. I was there in the middle of the evening - a band was playing, there was a modest crush at the bar, all the tables and chairs were taken, and the Hook Island Red ("A deep ruby red, this has a lovely spicy hop and toffee aroma." by The Five Points Brewing Company of Hackney, was devilishly more-ish.
There were some objections to the granting of a pub licence when Antic first applied, and it may yet prove that these have some justification. Certainly on Halloween with so many passers by, and with the gathering of smokers in the front yard, the social nature of the place was evident. But Antic have taken / are taking steps to address this.
Firstly the new venture is being branded not as a pub but as a 'social club'. For the hours when the building is trading as a pub this might or might not make a difference, but for the rest of the time the venue will be well used for non alcohol related activities, including HartBeeps, Yoga, Kat's Kids Activities, Art Classes, and more. There are lots of music events taking place as well - this is the Hall's Facebook page. The End festival will use the hall as a venue on the weekend of November 15th and 16th. But overall the mood is community oriented.
Secondly, the opening hours are not as long as was feared - there is some detail on these and contacts at the foot of the page
And Thirdly, the front yard is only a temporary venue for smokers - the Hall has a side yard backing on to the Queen's, which will be converted for this purpose, thus moving any chatter off the street, which may be little more intrusive than the current garden at the Queen's.
Having been to the opening on Thursday, I went back on Friday for a further pint.
• the name of the manager - Adam Wright (mob – 07912 505 760)
• a contact email for any problems - firstname.lastname@example.org
• opening times – from 4pm during the week until 11pm (Mon – Thurs) and Midnight (Fri) and Midday to Midnight on Saturday, Midday to 11pm Sunday
• the name of the pub . The venue is actually a Social Club as opposed to a pub and will be called The Earl Haig Hall
I popped down on the opening night too (as did most of Crouch End!) and had a great time. One pint turned into six and, althpough I felt rotten the next day, it was more than worth it.
Best of luck to them I say. I wandered in yesterday late afternoon and it was pretty dead unfortunately. I do hope it gets the custom it deserves as the bar staff and general set-up are great.