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“The great, the bad and the pub”
Review of The Castle Bar

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The Castle Bar
Ranked #196 of 573 London B&B and Inns
Reviewed September 4, 2012

Stayed on 02/09/12.
Across from Holloway prison (no offence intended), The Castle Bar is on a main road, but as we had a room in the attic, it was not a problem. We were lucky to get the only parking space at the front (I presume none of the other guests had cars).

The Good points:
Clean rooms, friendly reception, good breakfast in a very nice Spanish-style restaurant, where Classic FM was playing (a lovely idea in the morning, instead of Radio 1). All three people looking after the B&B were Spanish, as were two other guests there, but there was no problem at all with communication.
Our room was on the top floor (we asked for one there), so be aware that people who don't like *a lot of steps* should not book one there. There is a terrace on the first(?) floor overlooking the main road, which we used to eat an Indian takeaway (it's across the road), before sleeping.

The other points:
We arrived to find the bar pulsating with extremely loud music, the bare floorboards pushed up in three places because of damp (I presume), and one wall stripped of wallpaper. In my home town we would call it a "rough pub". Never mind, it's not the the B&B (we went to The Prince Edward pub down the next road, which had original Victorian décor and quieter).
The shared bathroom on the top floor needs the female touch, for that special 'quality' to meet the requirements that modern B&Bs are now working towards.
The small sink in our room had a blocked drain.
I couldn't work out (and I really tried), how to make the TV work with two remote controls.

Having said that, we would quite possibly stay there again.

Room Tip: Lower floors for people with weak legs.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank David Andrew E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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82 - 88 of 144 reviews

Reviewed August 19, 2012

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with Easytobook.com
Thank Alison A
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed August 18, 2012

We stayed for 2 nights over the final Olympic weekend. To be honest we weren't expecting much given the price but for us the location was important as we were near our daughter.

What a find! Great location, perfect access to buses running in and out of the city (easier and nearer than the tube and you see so much more) and even some parking (easy for us on a motorcycle). Nice clean and comfortable room with lovely touches you wouldn't expect at this price (under 60 quid), even tea, coffee and biscuits.

The pub underneath is OK if you drink lager and like loud music, many do, but it was friendly and open late. In the top room, which is a bit of a trek, you can't hear the pub at all. Breakfast was top notch, great choice, impressive quality (given the price) and served with charm in an interesting room.

If you go, and I really recommend you try it, don't expect the Ritz, expect it to be well worth the money and you WILL be impressed. Well done staff, you run a tight ship and many could learn from your venture.

If you have the time, visit Camden market and go hungry!

Room Tip: Right at the top and you'll not be disturbed, the exercise is good for you, travel light.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank RealAleRealBellies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2012

My partner and myself stayed here for one night as we were attending a gig close by. It is in a great location in terms of train connections. We went in to the pub to begin with (which wasn't that fantastic to be fair) but the bar maid was friendly.

The owner was very hospitable and friendly, explaining check out times,breakfasts etc.

The room itself was basic but had all the essentials. The beds were comfortable and the bathroom (across the hall) was clean. Despite our room being on a main road, it was surprisingly quiet and I had an undisturbed sleep.

I was pleasantly surprised at breakfast and there lots of different choices. Both my partner and myself went with the continental option. With it came a lovely fruit salad.


Overall, I would recommend it for a short stay. If we were to stay in London again, we would definitely stay here.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Franny V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2012

My husband and me stayed here for five nights, when we arrived we thought the place was closed because the bar is only open in the afternoon and everything was quiet but a friendly guy opened the door after we knocked. The owner is from Chile and was very friendly with us. The room located on the very top floor was nice and warm (the days were cold in May). The room was bright and comfortable with towels prepared for us and a minibar so you can buy food or drinks to put there. The shared bathroom was clean and modern. Although is on the north of the city is very easy going to the centre. You have a tube station 4 blocks away and a stopbus in front of the Hotel and the transport in London works very well. I probably wouldn't stay here again because I prefer a near location, but it was a good option to stay.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Paufa16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2012

My boyfriend and myself stayed here for one night as a stopover before getting the eurostar and for our needs, it was perfect. Check in was a bit of a mystery as we ended up going into the pub (which isnt very nice) and when we headed out again after realising we were in the wrong bit the owner came over to greet us. If you're looking for a b&b with some form of reception then avoid castle bar as it all seems a bit muddled. That may just be my insight as I work at a Hotel, maybe im just picky. The room itself (10) was on the very top floor (no lift so dont pack too much!) but it was a welcome surprise. The room was bright and comfortable with complimentary toiletries and towels prepared for us. The blind on the window was broken which let a lot of light in in the morning but we had to be up early so it didnt affect us too much. Breakfast was good, not great. The omelette was very small and not really enough to fill me up for our trip that day, and the restaurant was a bit random. Very quiet with no atmosphere. The shared bathroom was clean and modern, but it could do with having more than one spotlight as it was difficult to see where things were. The shower was a bit temperamental as well but all in all, ideal for the price and what we needed it for. I probably wouldn't stay here again, but it has the potential to be a good stopover b&b.

Room Tip: request a room nearer to the ground floor if you have lots of luggage
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank jaffatinx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2012

My only regret is that I didn’t write this review a couple of weeks earlier. Nelson, the proprietor of what is essentially a bed and breakfast above a pub, not just a hotel, deserves a great review for the place he runs. My boyfriend and I stayed there for 4 nights while we explored London and Cambridge for the first time. Reading other reviews, I can understand how people might have a tricky experience with check-in, but ours was kind of fun and quintessentially English. We arrived around 10:00 pm and came in through the bar. The patrons teased us a good-naturedly and then directed us to Nelson’s office, where check-in was simple once I just gave my name. He showed us where everything was—common kitchen, roof patio, both bathrooms, and then showed us to our room.
Our room was nice and big with a hardwood floor. It was a nice change from a chain hotel because it felt homier. My only wish is that there was a room available with one big bed instead of two twin beds. We ended up pushing the two beds together, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. There was lots of storage space—a tall dresser, armoire, and a few low-to-the-ground tables where we could keep things readily accessible. It was also nice having a mini-fridge. The television didn’t have that many working channels but who comes to London to watch TV anyway? We mostly just kept Top Gear on the telly while getting dressed in the morning (you can always count on Top Gear to be on at any time on some channel or other). The view out the window was interesting—the Castle Bar is right across from historical Holloway Prison, a place for women and juvenile offenders, and it’s had songs written about it by bands like The Kinks. No need to fear—the area is very safe. It’s a little noisy from traffic on the street below but again, nothing that kept us from sleeping—I was so tired at the end of the day I could fall asleep with the TV and the lights on! It wasn’t a problem having a shared bathroom either, simply a matter of taking turns with our neighbors. The bathroom was kept very clean for the guests, and we always found our beds made and the room clean when we came back at the end of a long day sightseeing.
Another great feature of the Castle Bar is that Nelson has set up a free breakfast service, essentially making the place a B&B. The man serving the breakfast was quiet, humble and somewhat shy. It’s a modest but filling continental-style breakfast (fruit, bread, tea, orange juice, cheese, slice of ham). On the weekend you get a few more choices, including a full English Breakfast.
Like I said above, I felt safe in the area of Islington at night, even walking from Caledonian Road station down Hillmarton Road. The houses on the street remind me of where I used to live on the East Coast of the U.S. and a lot of students live there. Quick note about the market across the street from the bar/hotel—The food in there is not exactly fresh. I bought us a couple sandwiches because we were tired and hungry and they were gross. If you are looking for a quick bite on the run or a late night snack nearby, I think the Tesco Express across the street from Caledonian Road Station is open until 11 pm.
When we checked out, we were able to keep our bags safely in Nelson’s office for the day, and when we came back to get them later on we got a warm sendoff from him and from the friends he had visiting from Colombia. Cheers to Nelson and the Castle Bar Hotel for making us feel at home in London! A great value for a nice experience.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank BurghDocsDaughter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Castle Bar

Address: 392 Camden Road | Lower Holloway, London N7 0SJ, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > London
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #196 of 573 B&Bs / Inns in London
Price Range: $79 - $118 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — The Castle Bar 2*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Castle Bar is a pub with accommodation (B&B), situated in Camden Road, a prime location in central London. The area is a quiet residential part of Islington with excellent connections to London's main shopping, cultural and Business in the heart of Central London. There are a total of 9 rooms in the hotel ranging from single, double and family rooms, with budget prices for a quality bed and breakfast accommodation in London. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Castle Bar London, England

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