"One of Hampstead's iconic pubs is gone for good"
Jack Straw’s Castle was such an integral part of Hampstead and the area’s pub scene, that it’s genuinely disturbing to think that it’s gone the same way as the Hare and Hounds, the Nag’s Head and other lesser-known NW3 boozers. JS was in a fantastic positon just by the Heath at Whitestone Pond where Hampstead really begins. Apparently, it used to be a coaching inn, with the current building dating back to the 1960s.
It’s a handsome-looking, white weatherboarded building, and a real landmark. It’s got several storeys and used to have a pleasant restaurant on the top, overlooking the Heath. Despite its natural advantages though, London-RIP feels Jack Straws never quite lived up to its promise, and it got very run down before it closed in the early 2000s, another victim of London’s mad property boom. Ultimately, we think ‘a good place to start a pub crawl’ would have to be its epitaph.
It’s now been turned into flats, with a small cafe where the bar used to be. It’s kept its pub facade though - which is just daft, we think. Who wants to live somewhere that looks like a pub? And, even worse, who wants to think they’ve found a pub, only to discover that it’s actually a collection of flats and a cafe?