Do not be fooled by The Florence's impressive website. They do not want your business. They do not want you to host private parties or functions in their pub. They do not answer their telephone more than one in 500 times. Unfortunately I got lucky just once and, following a conversation with a member of staff, booked the pub for a private function; a champagne reception with food for 60 people before a gig next door at the Assembly Rooms.
After my initial "no problem" telephone conversation I was urged to call again to chat through fine details with the landlord. But the telephone was never answered again - try it now... you won't get an answer 020 7354 5633. They don't respond to emails either. But, I was assured by those in the know that the landlord has a pretty relaxed attitude and that I was, perhaps, worrying unnecessarily. But I was uneasy and, since I don't live in London, got a friend to pop in just to make sure that everything was ok with my booking. She saw the landlord who reassured her that "yes, the booking is in the diary and we can do Thai food for the event." Ok... Thai food wouldn't have been my first choice and somewhat contrary to what the website promises, but by this time I'd sent out invitations.
The day of the event dawned. I headed to The Florence early (with an uneasy feeling) to prepare for the champagne reception and the promised Thai food... But the Florence was shut. The sign on the door advertised the pub's opening time and it was now 45 minutes beyond that. I rattled the doors, I banged on the windows to no avail. I now had to find a venue nearby that could accommodate the party I'd been planning for three months. I managed to find a venue that could take us - The Vineyard opposite - and we relocated.
Had it not been for an exceptionally brilliant group of relaxed friends (who ended up eating fish and chips in the street because the dishwasher broke down at the Vineyard which meant no food) and the ability of the Vineyard to accommodate 60 people, the evening would have been a total disaster.
Still... that's £900 (our final drinks bill) that The Florence of Islington can obviously afford to turn it's nose up at. I have no idea who owns this pub but whoever's running it shouldn't be.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS.
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Area to hire
Essex Road 0.2 miles
Highbury & Islington 0.4 miles
Highbury and Islington 0.4 miles
Angel 0.6 miles
Caledonian Road and Barnsbury 0.6 miles
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