Star pub makes Russian news as perfect London pub

Star pub makes Russian news as perfect London pub

A Colindale pub, the Chandos Arms on Colindale Avenue, is being heralded on BBC News in Russia as an example of all that is great about London pubs, and as a result it is already attracting Russians interested to find out more.


The Chandos Arms was selected as having the qualities that 1984 author George Orwell, writing 70 years ago, famously specified the ideal London pub should offer. He summed them up in a description of an imaginary pub, “The Moon Under the Water” but said only a few London pubs came anywhere near to his vision.


For licensees Emily and Are Kolltveit, who are also marking their second anniversary at the Chandos Arms, the accolade is a double celebration. Since taking over the establishment, the couple have worked tirelessly to transform it from a little used pub into a thriving hub that serves the whole community hosting groups ranging from the North London Board Gamers guild to St Michael’s Church.


Emily, previously a church administrator, and Are, a sound engineer and record producer, gave up their jobs to take over the Chandos Arms in 2014. Under their stewardship, the pub has introduced many of the features that Orwell thought were important. There is now a loyal following of regulars, an open fire, good food, friendly staff, an attractive outdoor area, an emphasis on families and Theakstons Peculiar IPA on tap, which Emily says is the modern day equivalent of the cream stout Orwell preferred.


The couple’s success in turning around the pub recently won them a Newcomer of the Year national award from Heineken owned Star Pubs and Bars. 

Emily says, “It’s our first pub and it’s great to know that so prestigious a person as George Orwell would have approved of what we’re doing although he definitely wouldn’t have liked our live music nights! We put a lot of it down to local residents who have welcomed us so warmly, supported us every step of the way and share our belief that good pubs have a vital role to play in the community.”


Adds Chris Moore, Star Pubs & Bars property & strategy director, “We’re delighted that Emily and Are have been recognised once again. Thanks to their hard work the Chandos Arms has all the enduring qualities associated with the best of British pubs which are as important now as they were 70 year ago; it’s a place where there’s always a warm welcome, people can come together and that gives back to the local community.”


Built in 1912, the Chandos Arms is the oldest pub in the area and has a lot of history attached to it.  Says Emily, “Many Norwegian fighter pilots flew of out of Hendon during the Second World War and used to frequent the Chandos Arms just before Orwell was writing. We often have Norwegians visit the pub after they’ve been to the RAF museum. Now we’re wondering if Colindale will start seeing more Russians as a result of the pub making the news there.”