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Arsenal v Man C: catering preview: The Swimmer at the Grafton Arms

By Tony Attwood

As the season began I raised the suggestion that we might do a review of places to eat before the games.  I’ve got a number of suggestions and some reviews, but I am keen to get more.  Ideally I’d like a review, but if not, please suggest a place with the name and address, and basic details of what it offers.

We are starting with The Swimmer, at the Grafton Arms, on the junction of Hercules Street and Eburne Road.

It is one of the strange things about the Holloway Road, that it is all hustle, bustle, noise, angry drivers, shouting pedestrians and the rest.  And yet one small street away you can be in a land of tranquillity, sitting outside in the sun, or inside if it is raining, with no traffic, calm conversation, no crush, and polite servers at the bar.

To find The Swimmer the easiest thing is either try this link to Google Maps or walk along Holloway Road.  If coming from Archway, Hercules Street is on the left, one after Windsor Road, and just before Seven Sisters Road.  Going away from Holloway Road and Highbury and Islington tube stations, it is on the right, first right after Seven Sisters Road.

And the mere fact that it is so close to the junction of Seven Sisters and Holloway Road shows just how amazing the peace and quiet of the area is.

Drew and I sat outside prior to the match – plenty of seats, a number of the patrons in Arsenal gear, but many looking like local residents.  Reading material was very much the Guardian and not the Sun, for those who wanted to take in the Saturday paper.

I knew that the food was going to be different when the guy beside me at the bar ordered a burger (“Oh God” I thought, “Drew’s brought me to a burger joint for the first review”) and then I heard him add, “and I’ll have that medium rare”.

Yes, it is calm, classy and clean.  It has real ales, a juke box, an open kitchen, and a TV on the wall – but the TV wasn’t on when we were there.   There is a collection of review here – just scroll down the page to find them.

To get to Arsenal from the pub walk along Eburne Road parallel to Holloway Road, cross Seven Sisters into Hertslet Road, turn left into Tollington Road, second right into Hornsey Road, and if you miss Arsenal, then you are not looking.

Time Out has a page and a map on the pub.

We’ll keep the reviews going, and if you have one to offer from anywhere near t he ground please do email it to Tony.Attwood@aisa.org

Just one other word in case you missed it – Cockfosters Station car park is closed now, so can’t be used for a car and tube trip to the Ems.

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The books
The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.

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