UPDATE 2019: Earl Haig Hall has now closed. Antic sold it on, it is now board­ed up and its future is under review. Lat­est plans are for the build­ing to become a chil­dren’s nurs­ery. I will keep this post here as a mem­o­ry of what was a much-need­ed and loved com­mu­ni­ty bar/restaurant and venue for music. It is much missed.

How time­ly for Crouch End is the reopen­ing of the Earl Haig Hall, the for­mer British Legion meet­ing place, now in new hands and revi­talised as a social club. The north Lon­don area has been sore­ly in need of a fun, all-embrac­ing com­mu­ni­ty venue. A peek at the club’s mes­sage board points to a diverse range of activ­i­ties already in situ: yoga ses­sions, par­ent and baby meets, art class­es and ‘Sty­lus Sto­ries’ nights, which offer an oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring along your much-trea­sured vinyl and share with every­one just what makes a par­tic­u­lar song so spe­cial (more about them in Vinyl Mem­o­ries Released).

Indeed, music is form­ing a major part of the Earl Haig’s rai­son d’être, from reg­u­lar Thurs­day swing and jive evenings to Fri­day and Sat­ur­day nights which have a loos­er agen­da, they may fea­ture any­thing from bands to DJ nights to themed par­ties. Price will hard­ly be an issue – Earl Haig man­ag­er Adam intends to keep music evenings either free or with a nom­i­nal charge, maybe around the £5 mark. So far in four vis­its, I’ve seen two bands, sev­er­al DJs and danced – bad­ly – at a swing night.


The Earl Haig is a clas­sic British Legion build­ing which closed its doors around two years ago. It was spot­ted by pub devel­op­ers Antic, who even­tu­al­ly reopened it towards the end of 2013, and in a stroke of genius, left the inte­ri­or almost as it was, gen­tly coax­ing the space into some­thing more work­able instead of sledge­ham­mer­ing it into some hard-edged poseur palace.

Best described as sub­lime­ly retro, the spa­cious room is a pleas­ing­ly cohe­sive jum­ble from the 50s, 60s and 70s, with more than a touch of Dad’s Army –  pol­ished wood, Formi­ca, sag­gy arm­chairs, Union Jack flags and sun­burst clocks. Scruffy mis­matched tables and chairs dot the room; the stage at the side looks dressed as the set for a 50s play, with its frilly stan­dard lamp and old sofas.

Part of the club’s agen­da is to offer good food. Plans are afoot to even­tu­al­ly move the din­ing side of things to an adja­cent room, but for now meals are served in the main hall, which suit­ed us just fine on the night we ate there, as it meant we could watch the band while we ate. We were there the week the kitchen opened and it seemed oper­a­tions were run­ning smooth­ly; the menu is fair­ly stan­dard gas­trop­ub in style but with the added bonus of top qual­i­ty ingre­di­ents, such as our Burg­ers with Fat Chips, juicy steak mince mar­i­nat­ed in Redemp­tion beer with fresh­ly cooked chips, no stint­ing on quan­ti­ty either. We ordered a bot­tle of Vina San Este­ban Caber­net Sauvi­gnon, £14.75. There are local beers on offer too, next time I’ll be sam­pling Beast of the Deep, 6.5%, pure­ly on the basis of its appeal­ing name. There are now Host Your Own Roast evenings too.

Last Fri­day night’s line-up was the Hal­lelu­jah Trails and One-Eyed Wayne, with Xfm’s cool look­ing Liam Young DJing. Local act Hal­lelu­jah Trails fea­ture beau­ti­ful, plain­tive har­monies and a hon­eyed coun­try sound; their ver­sion of Jack­son is a stand­out track. Bass play­er Span­ner Robin­son also sings with Hank Wang­ford, who makes reg­u­lar appear­ances at the Half Moon in Putney.

Hallelujah Trails at Earl HaigThe sec­ond band of the evening was One Eyed Wayne, a group of local Hornsey boys who enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly deliv­ered a fair­ly punky set with a touch of Pogues, Gyp­sy Kings and Gogol Bor­del­lo all in the mix too.

WHO: Hal­leluhah Trails and One Eyed Wayne
WHEN: Feb 5, 2014
WHERE: Earl Haig Hall, London
TICKETS: Free entry


Earl Haig Hall


** Stylus Stories perform at Earl Haig, read about their vinyl memory evenings 

3 thoughts on “The Earl Haig Hall revival in Crouch End: music and more

  1. It’s a good local venue – great to see how it’s being used and we’re plan­ning to check out the food as well as the music.

  2. Pingback: Fab free London gig and a festival for autumn | Gourmet gigs

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