From the High Street you'd be forgiven for missing the Old Ship, it's entrance simply a long passageway leading off to who-knows-where. Look more carefully though and the old Courage tiling offering luncheons gives a small glimpse of more ornate days-gone-by. Still, after a refurbishment, a sign with the words "'hotel, bar, grill" lets you know things have changed. Indeed the launch night details in April 2008 described it, in cringe worthy PR parlance, as an "Urban Inn". This apparently means being treated to a refurb-by-numbers; leather couches, light pine and heavily patterned wallpaper all make their mark, while half the space is bedecked with cutlery for benefit of the non-existent eaters on our Friday night visit. Instead, the young Hackney residents priced out of Islington were either outside or in the drinking section, where the inclusion of a plasma screen showing BBC News 24 with the sound off was an unnecessary distraction. Still, service was pleasant and there was a reasonable selection of ale, though lager drinkers fared less well, with San Miguel being the best option. The pub grub food was also reasonably priced and the bar snack menu more interesting than most. Overall, though, it didn't set our juices flowing here, so we can only award a two pint rating.
Reviewed by redcat
31 May 2008