The Three Johns, Islington - The right space, exactly where it needs to be

Words & Photo - Matthew Curtis

Something about The Three Johns keeps drawing me back. It’s one of those pubs that I never seem to make a conscious effort to get to but always seem to end up in. I remember when it was a called the Hobgoblin and later the Fallen Angel – the sleepy goth pub I always used to skip when I headed down White Lion Street. Despite it being no distance at all from The Angel, in the heart of bustling Islington it always seemed empty. Pubs without customers can’t survive, especially not in central London so its former incarnations fate was clearly marked on its walls.

Then along came Barworks, owners of successful, modern pubs such as The Earl of Essex, The Well & Bucket and The Black Heart as well as being major stakeholders in one Camden Town Brewery. As with their previous pubs, Barworks managed to breathe new life into The Three Johns. Clean lines, exposed brick and dark wood combined to make this relatively spacious bar suddenly seem a lot more cosy. The freshly installed American style tap handles brought with them an air of familiarity, despite not being the norm and the beer? Well that was kicked up several notches. Bam.

I’ve watched on as this pub has seen weddings, birthdays, meet the brewers and tap takeovers, the former crowd of ageing metalheads clad in black and denim replaced with the young and the hip, clad in black and denim. The Three Johns has become an oasis, thriving away from the claustrophobically crowded pubs that line the nearby Upper Street. There’s beer here for everyone to enjoy: from the pale, to the dark, to the sour in between, as well as some incredible whisky and gin stacked high on shelves behind the bar. Plus, thanks to that interest in Camden Town Brewery, one of the best value pints of Hells Lager you’ll surely find.

Oh and the pizza, man don’t get me started on the pizza. Yeah, it’s easy to see why The Three Johns keeps drawing me back, that’s what good pubs do. 

The Three Johns is at 73 White Lion St, London, N1 9PF