Up a flight of fiendishly Maltese stairs off Heath Street, you will

encounter this pub tucked in a

corner of one of Hampstead's dinkier roads. This aged drinker, where rumour has it that carousing Royalists once hatched a plot to overthrow Cromwell, has a carefully cultivated air in its front rooms of having been left untouched since the days of sawdust. As the back rooms are a bit more brewery decor, they are a safe-ish venue for an illicit snog uninterrupted by more purist acquaintances. Sells a variety of mainstream beers and pub food of the more traditional type. It's a good contrast to the Everyman cinema just down the hill.

The Holly Bush, 22 Holly Mount, Hampstead NW3 (081-653 1258).

(Photograph omitted)