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August 2021

Arsenal v Chelsea – a robust Faustino VII rioja perchance?

For the last few years the Untold team, when it has felt like a drink and a social prior to the match, has settled on the Auld Triangle – not for any love of the joint (and “joint” is just about the right word for this appalling establishment) but really out of habit – for it was at the Triangle that the idea of Untold first emerged after we had moved from the even more disgraceful Duke of Edinburgh – now reinvented as a somewhat more bijou drinking place.

However at an executive board meeting last week it decided that from next season we should take Untold on tour – a tour in fact of the watering holes around the ground.

In order to try out this revolutionary vision, we invited one of our number to try a preliminary report.  So here it is


Arsenal/Chelsea – match preliminaries at the Tollington

By Blacksheep63

Chelski at home in an early start, and as I was driving I got to choose the pre-match hostelry.

Since Tony and I were waking down the Holloway Road from the Archway (having arrived in good time by underground transportation from Finchley, whence we had parked) we had plenty of choice and in the end I opted for the comforting familiarity of the Tollington on Hornsey Road.

On a bright and sunny Saturday morning it was no surprise to find standing room inside and out at a premium – amazing then that we managed (eventually) to secure a firm wooden bench towards the rear. Large flat screen TVs beamed Sky Sports around the pub and the air was thick with football banter and the odd shout of ‘Red Army!’

So, first the positives: the Tollington is very close to the ground – a short hop and we were outside the Emirates. The beer on offer is pretty good too: the ubiquitous Irish stout (Guinness in this case), a reassuringly expensive French lager and that most obvious of English ales, Abbot.

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However the more adventurous can plump – as we did – for the cloudy freshness of Hoegaarden or the reliable thirst quencher of San Miguel. If you have more time the Tollington boasts a reasonable cellar; I noticed a robust Faustino VII rioja and a crisp NZ sauvignon blanc.

In all they have well over a dozen wines on their list including a Bollinger for those days (unlike today sadly) when we thump our London rivals.

Indeed, if you really want to push the boat out and have cocktails the Tollington offers the usual suspects – shame there are no local football specials, perhaps something to think about for the future? – however, too much indulgence here is probably best left to post match or you might not make it up the Emirates steps.

The Tollington also sells food. Alongside the Sunday roast it has an impressive looking Thai menu. I’ve never sampled it but I might have to return one day for the Kaeng Massamun which looks wonderful. Which brings me to the first of the two negatives: while they have a range of posh crisps (balsamic vinegar and apricot probably) they have no nuts. Even though my companion has cut his nut intake in recent weeks due to cholesterol concerns, it would have made him happier to be able to ingest some salted nut based product. Alas, not today.

Finally the second grumble had nothing to do with the pub itself but with a couple of colonials standing outside. I am all for embracing the  diversity of Arsenal fans but the small knot of Americans that were gathered near us seemed intent on making everyone in north London a party to their conversation. It really isn’t necessary to SHOUT THAT LOUD ALL THE TIME and we beat a  hasty retreat to the relative quiet of the bar.

So there you have, the first in an occasional series exploring the many pubs and eateries clustered around Ashburton Grove. See you again in August


 Untold Arsenal

10 comments to Arsenal v Chelsea – a robust Faustino VII rioja perchance?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Don’t forget to tell me where you will meet before the Norwich game. 😉

  • Bootoomee

    Behold, a nugget of ‘wisdom’ from the genius, and perpetual Mr Know-it-all, known as Geoff from Le Groan:

    “I was thinking about what went wrong with Arshavin, the player who got 4 against Liverpool was rarely seen again, here’s my take.
    I think Arshavin was a Gazidas buy, I think the board forced his hand and Wenger was never happy with that.
    If my memory serves me right I also think all four of those goals came from the middle and the hole he loves to play in, he was forced out of position and with that his form went south.
    Wenger was sulking and Arshavin paid the price, that’s only my opinion though and I could be wrong. (I doubt it though)”

    Have you ever read a more ridiculous nonsense? EVER?

    This is my problem with the AAA (and who is the number 1 AAA if not Le groan’s Geoff?). They ‘think’ about issues and then present them as facts. If you ‘think’ differently and disagree with their ‘thoughts’, you are a brainwashed idiot!

    My apologies Tony if this violate Untold’s policy but I just couldn’t let this go!

  • Gord

    Being in western Canada, I will never be able to visit any of the establishments this series (?) will talk about. But, if you are visiting a place which allows you to bring your own food, I can offer you a recipe.

    Do you have Mrs.Dash seasonings in the UK? They are salt free.

    In any event, the recipe is for a 21 Thai Chilli – Mrs.Dash – ancient cheddar sourdough bread. You will need a strongly flavoured brew to drink with it.

  • Herbert Chapman next game anyone or the Che Guevara (Lord Palmerston) perchance?

    I would recommend that you avoid The Coronet like the plague.

  • The catering report returns!

  • Anne

    I had the Pad Thai at the Tollington. It was quite good.

  • nicky

    Thoroughly enjoy these tales of “orf the piste” libation places, which make a pleasant change from the grind of the EPL.
    Keep them coming as the season nears its climax.

  • Best Pub bar none in walking distance is Duchess of Kent Liverpool Rd . Excellent ales in glass, no doormen needed Barbecue burgers on forcourt gets a little full on matchday dinning area booked up to 6 weeks in advance, nice crowd even
    odd groups of discerning away fans please don”t all come a once.

  • Micko

    Duchess of Kent Liverpool Rd – Good call. I’ve been there a few times as well. Nice to get a real glass so close to the ground.

  • Blacksheep63

    Duchess of Kent looks worth a visit, sadly I’m unable to make the Norwich game because my mother has unreasonably decided to remarry on that Saturday… But a pal of mine has just moved into a flat off the ‘olloway road so I may do some pre season hunting ahead of late July. Thanks for your feedback!