If you were decorating a doll's house, wouldn't you want to stamp your style on it? That's just what Adam Towner and Katy Gray Rosewarne, the owners of the full-size Dolls House in Islington, have done. Prepare yourself for whimsical interiors, complete with hand-illustrated walls, buttoned banquettes and ranks of glass decanters.
So much more than your usual, the Dolls House has three floors, each with a different atmosphere, depending on your mood. And the dramatic performance starts as you approach the Upper Street bar, with the frontage white painted brick and dark window frames. A large bay window of leaded lights invites you to take a view, and dare you enter?
If you dare, you'll be rewarded with a convivial bar that makes time spent here a pleasure, whether meeting friends for dinner or pitching up for a refreshing pint of Symonds Founder's Reserve cider. The owners have worked their magic, with the Dolls House feeling personal, intimate and unique. Settle into the ground floor Parlour bar, and, if you have time to stay til late, watch the bar transform into a laid back music and dancing venue. Depending on the day of the week, enjoy the spinning glitter ball, flickering candles, and music from a visiting DJ or jazz band.
Upstairs, head to the Library, complete with its hand-drawn bookshelves on the walls, and stripey floor. Or for something altogether more special, there's the restaurant and members bar, known as The Ballroom, with its vaulted ceiling on the second floor. Until 11.30pm, this serves a menu that includes lobster and scallop burger and chargrilled poussin. And for those of you who like to be organised, a simple online booking form ensures your table reservation. After the diners have left, this lofty space transforms into the members club, with drinking and dancing into the small hours.
The three-storey Victorian town house has been a venue for food, drink and entertainment since 1856. The house party theme is adopted throughout and extends even as far as membership of the Dead Dolls members' club. Having submitted your application, you need to turn up with a bottle of spirits to help keep the cocktail bar replenished, when you collect your card.
For those who like to start their relaxing weekends early, there's Saturday brunch, with its own menu – and even the opportunity to get up and dance. If you're a traditionalist, then there's brunch on Sunday, too.
- Decadent feel
- Bookable dining room
- Unique late night membership
In the area
(Source: The B & the T)
The B & The T
The Blacksmith and Toffeemaker is named after a song by quirky performer Jake Thackray, itself inspired by Cider with Rosie. Great British grub in a venue that champions independent suppliers.
- Ciders and real ales
- Down to earth feel
- Great al fresco space
Big windows, high ceilings and fireplaces next to welcoming sofas, The Angelic is more front room than bar. Choose small or large menu portions, with a great choice of desserts.
- Regularly changing menu
- Great range of beers, ciders and lagers
- A juice bar, too
Feel like you are in the forest, with this wood-themed pub. Choose Palm Corner, the Copper Beech Cabin or the Enchanted Forest to settle with a pint of Symonds Founder’s Reserve cider.
- Italian-inspired menu
- Traditional board games
- Late night DJ every Thursday