The Stag was always the straggler of the pubs around Hampstead, being both behind the hospital and away from the Heath. Well, having been refurbished, the new owners are hoping to redress this. For starters, they've given back some of the warmth it once lacked, with bench seating, rich colours, plenty of mirrors and a multitude of logs around the fireplace. The original bar still dominates, where you'll find a some pretty interesting ales (look at the bottles behind the bar), some good whiskeys and a large wine list. Food comes organic - with commensurate prices to match; burgers ranged from £7.50 to £9.50 (sans the chips), whilst the cheapest main course was a credit crunch defying £10 for macaroni cheese. There was also a good selection of cheeses. The main draw, however, is the garden. While we once enjoyed its natural look - it was very much like someone's back garden - it's now a landscaped, decking and gravelled extension of the interior. Booths, complete with heaters, accommodate those previously left out in the cold by the smoking ban, while the number of prams gave a clue the clientele mix here. Overall, they've certainly added elegance to the interior and achieved a good balance between eating and drinking, but whereas it once felt like a refuge from other, more crowded places further up the hill, now it's another aspirational gastropub with a clientele to match.
Reviewed by redcat
23 Mar 2011