Saturday 8 December 2018

The Saturday List #198 - My ten favourite lost pubs of the London Borough of Barnet

Image result for The Beehive Edgware
The Beehive - Pic Kevin Fenaughty
Last week, I went for a beer with a group of friends, for a reunion drink at The Railway pub in Mill Hill. I've not seen some for over 30 years. Inevitably, the topic of conversation turned to pubs. The question was asked "What was the best pub?" Bearing in mind that this was based on being a teenager looking for fun, the unequivoable answer came up as The Beehive in Edgware. Sadly, the Beehive is no longer a pub, it is now an Indian restaurant. in the 1980's it was a den of iniquity. It was the pub of choice for the numerous Au Pairs looking for fun on their night off (which was usually Monday). There were a bunch of bikers who were dealing various substances of varying degrees of illegality at the back. The local Jewish kids (many were friends of mine from Orange Hill School) of  a naughtier persuasion would congregate at the front on the right. Our little group would congregate by the Juke Box, the Au Pairs would congregate by the bar, looking for mugs willing to spend their wages on drinls for them for the evening. Although each group had their own little space, there was no problems or animosity and often people would mix between the groups. Every once in a while, there would be a Police raid, usually unsuccessful, as they'd try and catch the bilers out for selling their wares. Usually though, they'd only bag some poor, unsuspection mug who had just purchased an eigth of an ounce of Morrocan or the such like, and was off home to enjoy it. The bikers knew that as the bar was long and thin, they had plenty of time to dispose of any wares. Whilst I suspect some thought the pub was a den of iniquity, in truth it was reallymainly  just a group of fairly middle class kids trying to enjoy themselves. Even the naughty bikers, were quite a nice bunch, who kept themselves to themselves and mostly just enjoyed listening to ZZ Top on the jukebox.

Pubs are a subject which has proven very popular in our Saturday lists. The complete list of pubs in the Borough is in our top ten for views. One day, I may well try and put together a complete list of closed pubs (or as complete as possible) for the Borough, however for today, I thought I'd put my top ten favourite closed pubs. Here's my list

1. The Beehive, Edgware(see above).
2. The Torrington, North Finchley. An amazing music venue. Any pub where you could see Stevie Marriott surely is a huge and very sad loss. Now a Starbucks and a barbers.
3. The Sparrowhawk. Another fine music venue, with snooker tables. Also a big venue for weddings and local social events. Now a Tesco's
4. The Red Lion, Colindale. Another pub which held regular music gigs. I had many a great night in there. More flats
5. The Railway Hotel, Edgware. This is a scandalous loss. The shameful neglect is something we've chronicled here. Sadly it still has a large hole in the roof from the fire. Sadly the local councillors are stillshamefully pretending all is tickety boo and the local council and English Heritage are sitting on their hands, doubtless wishing the whole place had burned down.
6. The Load of Hay, Hendon. I have fond memories of my Uncle George's wake there. It was a pub that always seemed strangely rural to me, given that it was just off the High Street. A nice pub and a big loss. Now flats
7. The Prince Albert, Golders Green. This was another pub that had music and was a nice venue. I played it during the 1980's with my band The False Dots. It was always packed, it seems to me incongruous that it disappeared, given the dearth of pubs in the area. Now flats
8. The Bald Faced Stag, Burnt Oak. I daresay that some people will say "how can you possibly miss the Stag?" It wasn't the most solubrious pub. However the False Dots had a residence at the pub in 1984. Whilst the pub had a rep for being like the Country and Western bar in The Blues Brothers, at the time we played, it had a brilliant landlord, who saw music and food as a way to build a successful pub. It was so successful that the brewery moved him to a posher gig and the Stagg returned to its core market. It taught me a vital lesson though. If you have the right product, you will do well anywhere. Sadly no one else ever had the vision to make the Stag the great pub it could have been. currently a building site.
9. The Mill, Mill Hill East. Yet another lost opportunity. This was one of the favourite venue pubs for The Mill Hill Music Festival. I think that when we had our soul night there 16 years ago, it was perhaps my best night watching live music in Mill Hill. It was a large, 1950's style establishment, which priamrily served the local market.
10. The Alexandra, Barnet. A large, attractive pub, that at one point in the early 1990's was somewhere I'd drink at quite regularly. A landmark and a real hub of the community. Sadly, like many pubs it got rather neglected and unloved.  Look at what it is now. Tell me what you think. Which looks better?
Site of Alexandra now (courtesy Google Maps)
The Alex as was (Courtesy

Do you have a favourite closed pub in the Borough of Barnet? Please leave a comment. Oh and if you are one of the eejits who thinks that pubs should be closed down etc, don't bother posting any comments, because they won't be published. Set up your own blog if you want to spout nonsense.

---- Don't forget to make a date in your diary for The Barnet Eye Xmas party and Community awards at Mill Hill Rugby Club on Fri 14th December at Mill Hill Rugby Club at 8pm. We really hope you can come down and say Hi. Admission is Free.


Anonymous said...

I was in Rotaract in the late 80s/90s.We met and drank at the Black Bull in Whetstone which was great. We also drank at The Bull and Butcher, a bit dingy but we had fun. We met at The Moss Hall too which was infamous, the football team there were horrors. Once I left school in 1982 I frequented The Grove Friern Barnet every Friday and Saturday, it was always heaving and full of smoke of course.

Unknown said...

THE CORNER HOUSE, EDGWARE. A real community pub which was also a regular go-to for supporters going to events at Wembley, being the first pub you reached after leaving the M1. Now, sadly, been turned into a McDonald's.

Colin said...

I found the White Bear near Hendon Town Hall convivial (now under site development) and the time was good when Wetherspoon ran the White Lion of Mortimer (almost became a sister to a Hendon Supermarket but never opened and derelict since, think it was Woolworths way back)

Anonymous said...

The Chequers, Manning's, The Bell

GreenBeltMan said...

One of the last standing, the Midland Hotel in Station Road Hendon won't end up as faceless flats ... recently under threat of development.

Anonymous said...

Royal scot at apex corner a proper pub

Anonymous said...

Worked behind the bar in the Beehive, early 80's. A great pub and as you say a local hangout for al sorts - ended up marrying one of those lovely au-pairs !!

Anonymous said...

The white lions beer garden was huge (a crafty spiff)

johno said...

my brother eddie worked on the door of the beehive, i was just a regular there and at last couple of years of the royal scot- which had a great sunday night disco!. ll sadly missed , but great memories. john. edgware