Highbury Arts Club

8 Reviews
Tapas, Cafes

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SquareMeal Review of Highbury Arts Club

“A bit of hipster cool in Highbury” is one reader’s verdict on this self-styled Arts Club – actually a dinky café, bar and tapas joint with easy-on-the-eye decor, cosy corners, occasional jazz musicians and comedy nights. “Pretty damn fine Spanish breakfasts” receive regular endorsements, and the food is authentic stuff – even if portions are “minuscule” and prices are on the high side. Mushroom croquetas, oxtail stew, grilled sardines, chorizo pinchos and hake with mussels in wine sauce have all been endorsed, and the Spanish cheesecake is reckoned to be “up there with Vina’s in San Sebastián”. There are also some intriguing Spanish wines to wash it all down (including a number of organics) – try the “delicious” white Pardas Rupestris. Otherwise, drop by for coffee and weekend brunch, with a chatty, affable crew on hand to deliver the goods.

Good to know about Highbury Arts Club

Cuisines
Tapas, Cafes

Location for Highbury Arts Club

73 Highbury Park, London, N5 1UA

07826 899 499

Website

Opening Times of Highbury Arts Club

Wed-Sun 8.30am-2pm (Sat-Sun 10am-2.30pm) Tues-Sat 7-11pm

Reviews of Highbury Arts Club

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8 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. To T

08 August 2014
eing a local to Highbury for many years, I somehow managed to pass this regularly without noticing… until last week. It's small and unobtrusive and doesn't look much like a tapas bar at all, and in a way that's because strictly speaking this is more appropriately described as piece of art that serves great tapas. After walking in and perching myself on the restaurant counter for a pint, I found the owner and staff very interesting and entertaining. I was told that on Thursday's they do Jazz so last night made my way. On arrival the Jazz was in full swing and a party of locals were obviously appreciating the mood. Despite this one young lady had decided to ditch her home office and finish off her work by the window clearly enjoying that fact she could enjoy the music whilst being undisturbed to do her work. This really is a place everyone feels comfortable and I felt at ease whilst deliberating over the menu. With the warm breeze blowing through the door and the atmosphere chilled, but lively I was soon talking to other local diners and felt part of the party. Although I knew what I wanted, the waiter was quite helpful in pointing out which tapas worked together. The resulting order came quickly and well presented, but the taste was nothing short of sensational. The meat was very high quality and had character without being overpowering. This is not food to be scoffed, it is a treat to savour, which I did. Two tapas is more than enough, so while the price for each dish looks expensive the overall bill is reasonable and thoroughly justified. So what is the Highbury Arts Club, for sure it's Highbury, certainly the food, décor and music are all art, but the real art is the combination of a walk in bar, with the option of great food, and if so inclined interesting company. The creation is a vibe rarely achieved and I am thankful for living so close.
Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. To T

08 August 2014
eing a local to Highbury for many years, I somehow managed to pass this regularly without noticing… until last week. It's small and unobtrusive and doesn't look much like a tapas bar at all, and in a way that's because strictly speaking this is more appropriately described as piece of art that serves great tapas. After walking in and perching myself on the restaurant counter for a pint, I found the owner and staff very interesting and entertaining. I was told that on Thursday's they do Jazz so last night made my way. On arrival the Jazz was in full swing and a party of locals were obviously appreciating the mood. Despite this one young lady had decided to ditch her home office and finish off her work by the window clearly enjoying that fact she could enjoy the music whilst being undisturbed to do her work. This really is a place everyone feels comfortable and I felt at ease whilst deliberating over the menu. With the warm breeze blowing through the door and the atmosphere chilled, but lively I was soon talking to other local diners and felt part of the party. Although I knew what I wanted, the waiter was quite helpful in pointing out which tapas worked together. The resulting order came quickly and well presented, but the taste was nothing short of sensational. The meat was very high quality and had character without being overpowering. This is not food to be scoffed, it is a treat to savour, which I did. Two tapas is more than enough, so while the price for each dish looks expensive the overall bill is reasonable and thoroughly justified. So what is the Highbury Arts Club, for sure it's Highbury, certainly the food, décor and music are all art, but the real art is the combination of a walk in bar, with the option of great food, and if so inclined interesting company. The creation is a vibe rarely achieved and I am thankful for living so close.
Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. Paul S

Good food, tiny portions
04 February 2014
Nice location in a cafe style, small bar, with the emphasis being on small – there is probably room for 20 diners max here and that is pushing it. The menu is very limited here too, with only about 8-10 dishes but the good news is that food is tasty and fresh. The bad news is that is is tiny. The calamari for 6 quid was miniscule as was the chorizo and six dishes between two people was nowhere near enough. Fifty quid between two with a bottle of wine was not overly expensive, but when you factor in how little we had it's getting on for pricey, which is a shame as the food is pretty good and should be a good draw.
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Mr. Tony H

On trend without trying too hard
20 November 2013
Been to the Highbury Arts Club quite a few times now. Great place to hang out in the evenings and breakfasts there pretty damn fine too. The tapas are very authentic (the chefs apparently both hail from a Madrid) and their cheese cake is up there with La Vina's in San Sebastián. Decor is easy on the eye (on trend without trying too hard), the wine list interesting (quite a few natural wines) and the service relaxed. Absolutely what we need in this neck of the woods.
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Ms/Mrs. Claire T

Great place to meet with friends
09 November 2013
I went to Highbury Arts Club earlier this week with a group of friends and really loved the place. It has a great atmosphere and is perfect for sharing some food and drinks and catching up with friends. The tapas is delicious, especially the mushroom croquettes and chorizo. Their signature Spanish cheese desert is so delicious, I haven't stopped talking about it since! A very welcome addition to the Highbury scene, I'll be going again soon.
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Ms/Mrs. Phoebe S

A bit of hipster cool in Highbury
08 November 2013
The sound of live jazz trumpet snaking its way around a pared-back, stylish and inviting interior as you eat freshly prepared tapas. I particularly liked the mushroom croquettes, oxtail stew and sardines – great homemade, real food flavour. The wine selection was intriguing ( many of them are organic); we had a delicious white Pardas Rupestris. Perfect Thursday night out. Going back for coffee and brunch soon. Great to have a bit of hipster cool in Highbury at last.
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Ms/Mrs. Catriona O

A great addition to the Highbury cafe scene
07 November 2013
I live round the corner and work for myself so am always looking for friendly places I can pop into at lunchtime for a bite and a break from my computer! Dropped in today for some delicious chorizo stew – very tasty and warming. Friendly and helpful staff and a mention of jazz in the evening to come . . . I can't wait and shall spread the word.
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Ms/Mrs. Emily N

Where the staff will make their own coffee, but not yours.
03 November 2013
Living just round the corner, and a regular to what used to be the Clock Cafe, my neighbours and I went to try this place since its re-opening in the hope that is would be a lovely little place for Sunday brunch. Unfortunately this was not to be. The place itself is quite small with only a few tables, yet with 4 staff behind the counter making what turned out to be their own coffees it was up to us to clear the table. We then had to go up to the counter to ask if they could please wipe it down, then ask again for menus and after waiting 15 minutes, I eventually took everyone's orders and went up to give it to the staff who had refused to catch our eye (which is quite an achievement in such a tiny place). The coffees arrived cold with no spoons and upon going up to ask for spoons (as again, no one would come up to check on us), I was given one spoon (there were three of us…). The menu is limited and my friends ‘spanish’ breakfast arrived first, cold. 10 minutes later the other ‘sydney’ breakfasts arrived, also cold. It would have been tasty, even cold, had the poached eggs not been completely overdone. When you're paying through the nose for egg on toast, a runny yolk would be nice. Our plates were never cleared away, not even when we left. We had our cards out on the table for 20 minutes before I had to again go up and ask if we could pay. We were then told it was cash only. Luckily one of us had enough cash and we sat waiting for our change. As we were waiting the owner, who had just arrived came up and advised us “A private event is starting in 5 minutes.” Just as I was about to open my mouth to say we wouldn't really want to go based on the service we received, he said “So could you please leave.” And really that says it all. Stunned into silence, and informing him that we were just waiting for our change we promptly left. I'm not sure what kind of clientèle these guys are trying to attract but clearly they don't give a toss and are more interested in making coffees for themselves than, god forbid, a customer. A shame as Highbury is such a lovely, friendly little place and without the support of local customers it is going to fail pretty quickly. I hope the service picks up soon as it would be a shame to see this place closed once more when it has the potential to be great but when even the owner is trying to chuck you out to make way for a ‘private ’ event, it doesn't bode well. Put down your coffees, pull your socks up and make an effort please.
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