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The Island Queen
87 Noel Road, Shoreditch, London N1 8HD
- Angel Station (0.5 km)
- Angel Tube Station (0.5 km)
- Contact us:
020 7354 8741
15 reviews of The Island Queen in English
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This pub is such a missed opportunity – it’s beautiful inside and has some lovely ales, and is on a pretty Islington back street. I’ve made numerous visits over the years, even though the food has never been that great. It now seems to be under new management with a much improved menu…. but going there is a chaotic and disappointing experience. On a busy Friday night, we ordered three mains. Two arrived… an hour later the third had yet to appear. The bar staff were very apologetic but it eventually took reordering another dish, a further wait and then a lukewarm tart before our meal was completed (by this point my friends had already finished their dessert whilst I was still waiting for my mains). In fairness, they refunded the cost, but it wasn’t a happy experience and the impression was that the managers just left the bar staff to deal with it rather than accepting any responsibility themselves for the problem. They need to get their act together – such a shame!
I have been a long term patron of The Island Queen and have often recommended it to people looking for a good pub in Islington. However, the treatment I received at the hands of its present manager, Antonia Orpen, whose customer care skills are beyond appalling and more in the realms of a horrific car crash, simply have to be given as a warning to anyone thinking of using the place. I have never, ever been treated so disgracefully as I have been by this woman, and if the problems others have reported vis a vis bad service are to be believed, then it is little surprise given the atrocious attitude of the person in charge. If I was the owner of this pub I would be horrified to find out that someone as awful at dealing with customers was supposedly the representative of my business.
The other day I rang the pub on behalf of my girlfriend to find out if she had left her black scarf in the pub and if it had been found. Ms Orpen reported that it had been but managed to hang up the phone before I had a chance to tell her my name, when the scarf would be retrieved and the name of the person collecting it. I had to ring back, and when I pointed out that she had hung up the phone before I had had the chance to pass on the information, she proceed to scream denials and blue murder down the phone at me. The following day my girlfriend took an hour out to go and retrieve her scarf, but on arrival it had bizarrely gone missing and no such item was to be found. However, when I called the pub back to find out what the story was, there was actually a scarf, but it had turned pink overnight. Ms Orpen proceeded once more to shout down the phone at me and hang up again. I phoned a final time to try and give her a chance to sort this situation out but once again I was shouted at, abused and hung up on.
Such epically bad behaviour would usually see an employee fired, but to see it from a manager beggars belief. Such individuals do a disservice to the good pubs we have and eventually will start deservedly impacting on business. Antonia Orpen should think long and hard about her chosen career as she simply is not suited to working with people. Similarly, pub owners Mitchells and Butlers would do well do dispose of her questionable and limited talents before they cost a good pub not just money but also its reputation.
I loved the interior and the atmosphere, it was a really fun place to come on a Saturday night and we found a table despite there being quite a few of us.
The food however leaves a lot to be desired. I had a risotto which was swimming in cream and pretty tasteless. The staff were mixed the barman who took our order was massively confused by us wanting to put different amounts on different credit cards. He ran away for about 15 mins in order to work it all out which seemed like a strange thing to do. The other staff seemed friendly though.
I would definitely come back for a drink, as it was less crowded then the bars on Upper Street, but I wouldn't eat here again.
Comment 1 comment on this review
alexsheppard, 21 April 2011:
It's a game of two halves pub landlordery...
And the owners / managers of the Island Queen have got it at least partly right. There are some lovely little touches in this recently converted old boozer in a quiet little road just off the hubub of Angel's Upper Street. Decor is lovely, a touch of the Farrow and Ball round the central bar in the middle of the building. Large windows, comfy sofas and boardgames to borrow.
The food is excellent. We last went on a Sunday and the large, well cooked roasts came quickly and vanished quicker. Pub staples, sausage and mash, homemade pies etc littered the lower echelons of the short but succinct menu. There's a decent wine list, a good range of lagers and a handful of handpulls including the great Timothy Tailors Landlord.
But, and there's a but... the staff don't make it easy to truly take the place to heart. I'm sure there's a simple lesson to be learnt in Bar Skills class - 'know who's next' - turning round to a crowded bar with a clueless, "who was next?" is only going to lead to problems among a bar three deep who have had to watch countless of your colleagues ignore them on the way to something more pressing.
Oh, and try to treat people like humans too and give them the benefit of the doubt. Sure, some of your customers will be ar*eholes, you work in a bar in Islington after all, but not all of them will be, so save the attitude until you know one way or another.
Sample exchange (with another customer)
"There's a wait on all food mate, 40 minutes, and you'll have to come back in a minute cos I'm not going to take food orders til they've caught up"
Customer "Um, ok, is that on everything, or would a hummus starter come quicker"
"That's food isn't it? So the wait's the same, what do you think?"
A truly repulsive place. The interior is pretty, but is let down in spectacular fashion by the rudest staff i have ever encountered. Slow, dismissive, sneering and incompetent. And then, when called to account, massively aggressive. This pub is a disgrace. I urge you to avoid it at all costs and find somewhere deserving of your custom. The brilliant Colebrooke Row. The welcoming Albion. The homely Barnsbury. Anywhere but this excuse for a venue.
I often say a pub is one of my favourites. Maybe I am too easily pleased, or maybe I just know the good one to go to. Well, in all honesty, I can safely say that the Island Queen is in my top 3 pubs in the whole of the country (the Sole Bay Inn in Southwold and the Fat Cat in Norwich are my other two). This pub has it all. Great beers, beautiful decor, nice staff, space to settle in, and decent enough food. It is the best in summer, when the light streams in through the enormous front windows and the crackle of summer joy is in the air. What a lovely place. Go go go go go (there)!
Though I've really jumped right into a routine upon moving to London, there are some moments like stumbling upon Big Ben, riding on the top of a double-decker bus and others that make me stop in my tracks and think something like "wheeeeeeeeee! I live in London!!!!"
The first time I walked into the Island Queen was also one of those "wheeeee" moments. The interior is breathtaking, and looks just like I imagined British pubs to look...antique dark wood, comfy couches, really high ceilings and even a fireplace! The whole place screams "cosy" and it most definitely is.
As it's nearby my office, I've only ever come here at lunchtime but have not yet been disappointed with my meals. Though it's pretty standard pub fare, the chips are fresh and delicious and the sandwiches are a good value. With a variety of beverages and fantastic specials, this is one of my "go-to" places, especially when I know Upper Street will be too busy or if I'm too lazy to walk up there. I like that it's off the beaten path too - means that it's never been too crowded, which I like!
Love at first sight! High ceilings, old mirrors, wooden tables, perfect lighting (not too dark, not too bright), and music was just right, hate going to loud pubs where you have to shout to your friends if you want to have a conversation. Feels like the perfect pub to have a drink after a nice dinner in Angel, away from the crows in Upper street. Would not go there for food tho, menu didn´t look very tempting
One of my favorite pubs in Islington, despite odd happenings there. Beware the pickpockets - two friends lost wallets during a birthday party - and often the ales seem to be strange or off - but somehow this place makes up for it with the atmosphere and the Fruli. Food is only decent, but it does the job when you've been there longer than expected and need something to eat.
One of those pubs that should be protected, due to its marvelous interior. I won’t presume to know much about it but I’m pretty sure the kind of glass partitions found here are supposed to be historical. Personally, as the weather was fairly mild, I preferred the décor of the pavement, as the bar is quite small.
I was disappointed to see 2 of the 3 ales on offer were off, but they redeemed themselves somewhat by having Kuppers Kolsch on, which I can’t recall seeing before, outside of Köln. I reckon this is quite a decent pub, probably has to be as its location isn’t suited to much passing trade (except perhaps from the school opposite).
I have a big soft spot for the Island Queen and have passed many a happy evening here. Tucked down a side street, away from the main drag of Islington, it’s one for those in the know.
It’s a large old Victorian pub of generous proportions and high ceilings, with an impressive frontage and an elegant old-fashioned bar. Large Victorian mirrors decorate the walls and add a bit of bling to the dark wood of the bar and chunky furniture.
There’s plenty of seating around an eclectic mix of large wooden tables and a few smaller wrought iron ones. There are a few picnic tables out the front for an al fresco drink in the summer. And there’s even a small pool room tucked behind the bar.
I once had a leaving do here and completely forgot my presents and flowers when I left (I wonder why?!). But luckily they had kept them safe for me, and I was able to collect them the next day without any problem. Cheers to them!
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