King's Head, N1 2SF
Pub on Essex Road in Islington.
The layout is a little unusual, with entry via a small corridor which serves no obvious purpose other than perhaps insulation from the noise of the busy road outside. The decor is also somewhat unusual, combining hipster-ish monochrome wallpaper and stylised "bare bulb" lighting with a burgundy wall-to-wall carpet and not-on-purpose scuffed wood panelling.
A raised dais at the front, separated from the main space by a wood-and-glass screen, is home to a couple of tables plus armchairs and a battered leather sofa. An original-tiled fireplace adds interest. Beyond this the long, narrow interior stretches back from the road, with the bar along one wall and seating provided by tall stools. Right at the back there's a dartboard and a door out to a part-covered patio garden.
On our September 2010 visit as part of the 38 bus route pub crawl, there was one real ale on offer — Sharp's Cornish Coaster, which was perfectly fine. Sport was showing on the flatscreens, but with the sound off.
When Kake visited again on a Tuesday afternoon in August 2019, there were a fair few people in at 1:30pm, all at least a couple of decades older than me. They all seemed to know each other, but were friendly and welcoming to this stranger in their midst. Music was playing, not too loud, but a rather odd mixture of retro, rap, and 90s pop. There were no handpumps, just keg taps. A pint of lime and soda was £1.40.
Accessibility: A step to get in, and almost all the seating is on tall stools. The only non-stool seating is up a couple of steps. All the toilets are up another step, even the "accessible" one (large cubicle with grab rails but no alarm cord). Three steps with handrail to the garden.