North

Looking for somewhere to play darts in North London? The best pubs from King's Cross to Camden

The Carpenters - Kings Cross

A small, friendly pub near the station, featuring a peculiar raised darts area. The Carpenters Arns is one of the closest pubs to Kings Cross & St Pancras stations, the reason that we arrived at its doors, but the pub has plenty going for it once you've made it inside. The main purpose of the bar seems to be as a darts venue, with nightly league fixtures and a very prominent darts area. To the right of the bar is a raised triangle housing the oche, board and chalkboard. Playing on the darts board makes you the focus of the entire pub, so you'd better hope that the trebles are flowing ("20, 5, 1, your turn").

The Square Tavern Euston

Cosy isolated pub near Euston/Kings Cross, Darts board available but unlikely to remain Hidden away in the middle of Tolmers Square, this pub springs upon you just as you're convinced you've turned down the wrong alley into the wrong estate on the wrong night. A fairly unlikely location might be the reason the place has been reasonably empty on each visit, but as we all know this can make an evening's arrows all the better. The decor is modern but friendly with hanging lampshades creating a relaxed vibe. The Darts board is on the far wall, not hidden away, and surrounded by plenty of chalkboard for scoring.

First Class Sports Bar - Wembley

Less a pub, more a car park with scout hut attached. But you've got to play somewhere, right? Wembley isn't awash with excellent darts pubs and finding one so close to the station could be seen as a bit of a blessing. Despite what the name may suggest, First Class Sports Bar isn't a premium offering. Ahead of a major sporting event it will get crowded, the beer offering is mostly limited to lagers and the beer garden has more than a hint of Texas chainsaw massacre about it. Still, it's got a dartboard, although to be honest we didn't play, lest we hit one of the 200 half-cut Crystal Palace fans. It's probably fine for a game.

The Victory - Paddington

A battered old board in a deadly quiet bar. There are positives and negatives to a bar being completely empty. On the plus side there's no competition for the dartboard which in busy central London is an absolute godsend. On the downside there's no buzz in the bar, no opportunities to meet people, and when the music cuts out you worry the barman might shank you. But lets focus on the positives. Just 5 minutes from Paddington overground station and Edgware road station, as you walk into this large pub the dartboard is tucked away in a nook on the right. There's no oche, no electronic scoreboard, and a huge bulge in the board expanding the 7 halfway into the 19. So not a great darts experience. but beggars can't be choosers in this neck of the woods, and the large pub would actually be quite pleasant when full of people. Just don't take your eyes off the barman.

Williams Ale and Cider Pub - Liverpool Street

A Fantastic little pub hidden awa down a side road by Liverpool Street station. William, it was really nothing...but darts! If you find yourself in Spitalfields or Shoreditch looking for somewhere to play a spot of arrows then The Williams Ale & Cider pub should be top of your list. There's a lively atmosphere, great selection of beers and if you walk past the extended bar you'll find a dartboard at the back of the pub. It's discrete enough that you'll probably only play if you know it's there, and this manages to avoid giving the pub the sweaty old man vibe. At least until yer da enters! j/k he's toned it down recently, he's good. The board's in good condition, although there's no oche and limited whiteboard space. The location of the pub makes it perfect for a quick game before heading on anywhere from Liverpool Street Station, like for instance heading to the Olympic Stadium to watch Crystal Palace ineptly attempt not to concede 3 goals to the weakest West Ham side of the last 10 years. But the pub was welcoming enough that we returned after the game to lick our wounds and carry on the arrows. Nearby alternatives: http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/the-black-horse-brick-lane http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/cheshire-cheese-aldgate

Prince Arthur - Shoreditch

Good for a game when it's not busy, but plan back-up locations. Reliably informed that this Old Street pub had a dartboard, we made this the second stop on a darts pub crawl, but it took at least 2 full-bar reccies to locate it. Hidden away in the main room upstairs, behind the staircase, it's easy to assume that this nook serves no purpose. Incorrect. It serves the finest possible purpose. Darts. Inside the nook is the dartboard with a thin, narrow space to throw. It's not massive, and unfortunately the large table in the room means that the board is almost certainly out of use if the table is occupied. The upstairs room leads through to a balcony which may be more popular with drinkers in the summer months than the dingy allure of the darts. The fools. The Old Fountain (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/old-fountain-shoreditch) and Electricity Showrooms (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/electricity-showrooms-shoreditch) are valid alternatives nearby

Old Fountain - Shoreditch

A CAMRA pub of the year, but not great for darts. The Old Fountain is a welcome antidote to the chain pubs adorning East London's streets, a pub with a real sense of identity and character. Family-owned, welcoming, close to a tube station, and best of all it's got a dartboard. But, alas, no arrows were thrown on our visit. The board is located opposite the bar in the centre of the pub. Prime position, but obstructed by tables occupied by oblivious drinkers. On a Thursday or Friday evening there's no chance of a game. We'd recommend a trip to the Horseshoe in Farringdon instead (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/the-horseshoe-farringdon)

Parcel Yard - King's Cross

Excellent railway station pub with fully stocked games room. The Parcel Yard is a slightly surprising destination to find a dartboard. There's something about public transport and sharp flying instruments that doesn't seem to mix. So when a friend told us that this station pub had a dartboard we were more than a little dubious. But there it is. Walk down the long corridors beyond the main room of the pub and you come to a quaint little games room, complete with billiards, draughts tables and darts. The board is new and in good condition, there's plenty of space to throw and a well marked out oche. The room even comes with a retro pinball machine and HD TVs. What a treat.

The Boot - King's Cross

The Irish tricolour flying outside and slightly run-down appearance might have you faintly threatened, but this is a very welcoming Irish tavern. A proper pub, make no mistake about it. We were handed a free half a pint - they were trialling a certain Guinness beer variation - as soon as we walked in, which is a first. The darts board is set to the corner of the room, within reaching distance of the long bar. On the downside, most of the pub can see you throw. So, it's about coping with the pressure and making sure hardened regulars don't see you throwing a 7. There's no oche or line to throw from, but that's not a big problem in a place with a good atmosphere like this. This pub has been here for a long time - Charles Dickens apparently used to get boozed up here and even mentioned it in one of his books - and here's hoping it stays for a good while yet.

Escape Sports Bar - King's Cross

Looks like a prison, home to 2 lovely boards. What a curious sports bar. From outside the bar looks like the inside has seen some shanking, but step through the door and the most threatening thing in sight is the Millwall shirt above the bar. The aquarium in the centre of the room gives the pub a calming glow, and all around Van Gerwen's face beams down from the television (ok, that's the scariest thing). To the left of the bar is a flight of stairs leading off to mezzanine darts area, with slightly too low ceilings. The board is reasonably modern, but the owners haven't gotten round to installing the electronic scoreboard so it hangs limply from some string on the wall. To the right of the bar is a large function room, with a second board. On our visit this was partly obscured by tables and chairs, but would presumably be available if needed. Ultimately we had a lovely evening throwing arrows, at least until 2 kids came up and told us that "for a couple of lads who travel London visiting darts pubs, you two are shit". A not entirely inaccurate assessment, but certainly unnecessary.

Sheephaven Bay - Camden

Situated just 3 minutes walk from Mornington Crescent, Sheephaven Bay is the perfect place to stop for a drink before a gig at hip music venue Koko. So when Phil Collins announces that comeback tour, don't think you won't be able to get a quick game of arrows in before he takes to the stage. No jacket required. Avoid the overcrowded pubs on Camden High Street and walk round the corner to Mornington Street for a spot of darts. Inside the pub are two dartboards, one directly in front of you as you enter, and one on the opposite side of the U-shaped bar. The first board is in good condition but the throwing area is blocked by double sofas. A spectacular waste. Around the corner is the main board bordered by blue rubber, with a large chalk board to the side. A large TV shows the sports to the left of the board, just distracting enough to sabotage your throw as England concede a 4th at the Euros.

The Duchess of Kent - Islington

We're a mile and a half away from Emirates and you certainly know about it here. This pub is Gunners through-and-through; there's about 20 photographs of Arsenal players through the ages holding trophies aloft to the side of the darts area. If Mauricio Pochettino fancies a game of arrows, not a good idea to do it here. Past the long bar and a few venerable locals chatting to the barmaids - it was pretty quiet when we arrived at 9pm on a Tuesday night - there's a dedicated darts board; we just had to move a table and chairs out of the way to get at it. The board itself has seen better days, with a few white smears and roughed up damage to some beds causing a few bounce outs, but nothing too bad. Two stand-out features to report: a clear red line of masking tape on the floor (well, this is an Arsenal pub) marking out where to throw from. Good idea. Secondly, we've never seen such a big blackboard area for scoring - about three times the space of usual ones. If you're feeling lazy - and we were - you can just score in different parts of it for different games, rather than having to laboriously wipe off the old one. Result.

The Mucky Pup - Angel

Tucked away on a side road a few minutes off the main Angel thoroughfare, this is an unpretentious haven from the nearby busy bars and pubs. Don't be put off by any thrash metal - as we nearly were, thinking we'd strolled into a Satanic bunker - playing, it soon turns out the place has a cracking free and varied jukebox. The barmaid and regulars by the bar were friendly, which scores points in our book. Pints were about £4.60, probably par for the course around London nowadays, sadly. The darts board has its own space in the other room through the bar area, the only downside being that it backs onto a pool table. If someone wants to throw a dart and play pool at the same time, it just ain't gonna happen. The board itself is good quality - very few bounce-outs - and there's chalk provided and spaces for scoring, as well as a jug full of darts for anyone who's forgotten their arrows. It was quiet. But almost too quiet. We played on a Tuesday night and the pub was literally empty when we left. Some might find this place a bit spit-and-sawdust; we quite liked the down-to-earth vibe. Oh, and bonus points for a decent, vaguely fresh pub name.