From the street the Slug and Lettuce looks like any of a thousand London pubs: long room, dim lighting, yobs in suits elbowing women away from the bar. Its whole character changes when you mount the stairs, however. The first floor is more like a run-down gentleman's club, only more lively, with book-lined walls, half the floorspace taken up by squashy leather sofas and the other half by stripped pine tables. The atmosphere, too, is utterly different: perhaps a tad too cool to be completely comfortable, but a relief from the hubbub below. Directly over the road from the Screen on the Green.

The Slug and Lettuce, Islington Green, N1 (071-226 3864)

(Photograph omitted)