Good Pubs on the Goblin: #2, The Spoke, Upper Holloway

In which we pluck one decent watering hole near each Overground station on the Gospel Oak-Barking line

A former pub tarted up. Photo: Verle Evans
A former pub tarted up. Photo: Veerle Evens
Last week’s first column in this new series seemed to hit the right note, with thousands of you checking out the Southampton Arms, the best pub to sink a few after the brief overground (or Goblin) hop to Gospel Oak.

But what if you find yourself alighting at the next stop, Upper Holloway? Well, first off, right opposite the station itself, some culture: observe the fictional setting (at nos 726–732) for George and Weedon Grossmith’s Diary of a Nobody (1892), the classic novel that recorded the everyday life of a clerk.

Then, without further ado, hotfoot it to a buzzy all-day diner/bar/pub called The Spoke. A couple of years back, what was a down-at-heel boozer was tarted up by the same local team who already run Bread & Bean, nearby Junction Road’s acclaimed coffee destination.

Berlin? Williamsburg? The Spoke. Photo: Veerle Evens
Berlin? Williamsburg? The Spoke. Photo: Veerle Evens

And the deceptively cosy, bar-room interior now looks ace. Carefully mismatched geek chic furniture and wonky art sets off the open kitchen and giant airy windows a treat. Industrial shelves proffer sacks of coffee alongside beautiful jars and utensils. You could easily be in Kreuzberg, Berlin or Williamsburg, Brooklyn (come now, stay with us).


While craft beer is of course available – you know, things like Camden Hells and Brixton Pale – there’s also a couple of drafts too, including a Pilsner. Fancy something posher? Plump for English sparkling wine or a good range of cocktails, like the Marmalade – which sees a couple of teaspoons of the fruity spread combine with Brookers gin and Cointreau.

Food is of the upmarket burger-and-sandwich variety: a pork shoulder sandwich, say, or juicy little prawn po’boy burger with “Japanese” mayonnaise. And as it’s very much an all-day endeavour: for weekenders (or freelancers) there’s a decent range of posh cooked breakfasts around the £8 mark (poached eggs, chilli avocado and smoked salmon); not to mention a a proper selection of teas and soft drinks for laidback, cake-fuelled afternoons.

Oh, and despite the cycling nomenclature, the daytime crowd is more pushchair than pushbike. But it’s a different scene in the evenings, when a younger crowd gathers in force.

Next week: we alight at Crouch Hill

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Find The Spoke opposite Upper Holloway Overground at 710 Holloway Road, N19. Want to make a day of it and explore the delights of Holloway Road properly? Use our guide here
  • Show Comments

  • MadeInEarnest

    Leytonstoner LDNOverground thespoke710 this is a tremendous series. keep it up.

  • Leytonstoner

    MadeInEarnest thanks! Do get in touch if you want us to feature you too