The New Rose on Essex Road was introduced to me by my friend Ossie, as it was the venue where we watched the Arsenal and Manchester United match on the 29th of August this year. Arsenal lost, alas, to Man U, but the pub was fine. I had ale and ate pizza and knitted at the table while watching the game, hoping Arsenal would manage to come up and score some goals.
Since that day, which was the first full day I was in London, I’ve been to the New Rose quite a bit. Living in Holloway, I have gone to the New Rose a few times to escape the neighbourhood chaos that happens when Arsenal are playing a game at Emirates. I’ve also popped in for their two-for-one burger deals on Wednesdays (which I hope are still going to continue in the new year). And I’ve also met up with friends who work nearby for a drink or three.
So yeah, I’m well-acquainted with The New Rose. They’ve changed their food menu recently, but the handmade pizzas are still there, and the burgers, although I’m not sure about the veggie burgers.
I went recently to catch another Arsenal match, and I brought out-of-towner James in tow. The match was between Arsenal and Aston Villa, and was going on not too far from my flat in Holloway, but who has money for tickets to Emirates? Not me. Instead, we went from Hyde Park to Essex Road and waited for the game to start at 1:30 that afternoon. I ordered a dark ale, The Reverend James, which was one I’ve had before at The New Rose, but since I am in recovery mode from a cold I caught right before Christmas, in the end, I wasn’t able to finish it. James started out with a pint of The Reverend as well, but after finishing it, he went for a glass of mulled wine, which he seemed to like. Any case, I paid £3.40 for a pint of The Reverend James.
I did manage to finish a baked eggplant dish, however, which was tasty and yum. At £6.50, it was one of the cheaper selections on the new menu, but it won points with me for being nice and warm. James ordered a burger from the kitchen, and I forgot to ask how he liked it, as the game was in full swing by then, but he did remark the next day or so randomly about how he was thinking about the sauce The New Rose put on the burger. I guess it left a good impression, then. In the past, I’ve gotten veggie burgers at The New Rose, and they were quite fine. Veggie burgers at pubs tend to fall apart upon eating, and the ones at The New Rose were no exception. Still, they were good, and with the two-for-one deal they were having on Wednesdays (which are hopefully still going on), it was a great way to eat and have a pint or two for under a tenner.
It was a good visit to The New Rose. Arsenal won 3-0 (sorry, Villa fans), the food was good, and the crowd was all right at The New Rose, aside from a rather skittish dog who was brought to the pub by a couple. The crowd during the day is quite different from the evening crowd The New Rose sometimes plays host to. It can be quite a deterrent, actually, when weird spill-over crowds from I-don’t-know-where show up and take over. I remember one night being there and a drunken bunch knocked over a mess of drinks near me. It happens. It was particularly crowded that night, being a Friday night, and I also remember some guy on the bus loudly yammering to someone on the phone, “Oh yeah, I’m going to meet up with people at The New Rose!” And sure enough, he was there, with his trendy glasses and sitting at a table among his friends.
Sometimes, people develop love-hate relationships with their favourite pubs. They love the pub, but hate that all kinds of “wankers” or “jerkfaces” have started going to it. This leads to some starting a search for a new local. With the New Rose, I think I might stick with it being my local place to watch Arsenal games, two-for-one pizzas on Monday nights and afternoon drinks. Other times, it just has been getting too crowded for me.