The Faltering Fullback Pub

A couple of weeks ago, we ventured to Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal take on Fulham. It was my first time visiting Emirates and I have to say I enjoyed it. The match, the second half at least, was exciting and Arsenal won. Not a bad day. Two of our friends were visiting and one of them is a huge Arsenal fan. I was thrilled that Arsenal won since I knew it made my friend’s day.

Afterwards we met up with some people at The Faltering Fullback, a pub in Finsbury Park, London. When we first walked in I was in awe. The place was packed. I had to turn sideways to get by people. And it had several rooms. I actually lost count since the six of us wandered through the entire place a couple of times in hopes of finding a seat. They had several televisions showing a Liverpool match and I’m assuming they showed the Arsenal match earlier. We were out of luck inside.

Even though it was a cold night, we ventured outside and spied a table large enough to seat all six of us. I felt for our friends who are from Asia, but they insisted we stay. The Better Half and one of our friends headed inside to get drinks. It seemed like a simple task. As it turned out, the bartender was quite rude. One of our friends doesn’t drink alcohol and wanted a cup of tea. When The Better Half ordered a tea the bartender said, “This is a pub, not a tea house.” I have to admit, this is the first pub I’ve been to that didn’t serve a simple cup of tea. Usually I don’t like rude service, but since we were there with friends, I didn’t insist we leave.

And I have to admit, the garden area out back was quite charming, even on a frigid winter night. I would love to see it in the summer. Maybe the mean bartender won’t be there anymore.

Some of our group ordered food. This is an Irish pub but they serve Thai food. I wasn’t hungry, but heard from everyone who ate that the food was quite tasty.

The mean bartender came out to the garden area to retrieve empty glasses and she snatched two glasses from our table with such a vicious gusto I was shaking by the time I figured out what happened. Clearly she hates her job and wants everyone to know that.

I apologize. I didn’t snap any photos of the inside. It was too hard to maneuver with all the people and I forgot to take more photos of the outside since I was talking with my buddies. Here are two I snapped with my phone–they aren’t great.

20140118_175505_LLS 20140118_175217_LLS

If it wasn’t for the bartender I would love to give this pub a great review. Yes it was crowded, but we were in a football part of the city on a game day so I can’t fault them for that. The garden area is lovely. The drinks were tasty and for those who want to know I’m not sure what type of beer I had. The Better Half ordered for me and I forgot to ask. The food, according to my friends, was good. The bartender—a mean, cranky lady. How hard is it to make a cup of tea? Even I can manage and I not that great in a kitchen. I’ll give this place three out of five stars.

By the way, does anyone know why they water the field during halftime?


About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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52 Responses to The Faltering Fullback Pub

  1. I’ve never been to a stadium in England. I would like to go one day though. I’m a Manchester United fan 🙂 If I go to the Emirates, I must keep this pub in mind. It sounds good, perhaps the bar woman was ‘off form’ that day. I would imagine they water the pitch to make the game a little faster, as the ball will fly off the surface. I’m not sure though. One more thing, wasn’t that the game where Arsenal scored that AMAZING goal, with all the tiny one touch passes?

    • TBM says:

      I toured Manchester’s stadium, but haven’t seen a match there yet. I would like to at some point. We actually cheer for Liverpool since The Better Half’s family are Liverpool fans. I hope the bartender was just having a bad day and normally she’s not so surly. Seems like a lot of wasted energy. I like your theory about watering the pitch. That makes sense. As for the goal–I’m not positive. It’s so much harder when they don’t do instant replay. How awful is that?

  2. Since when does a put not have tea?!? It’s an outrage!

  3. bulldog says:

    Sounds like another hard days night…
    And I’ve been working like a dog
    It’s been a hard day’s night
    I should be sleeping like a log

    Have a great time….

  4. Colline says:

    Watching a soccer match live is something my husband would like one do one day. He will need to find another companion to go with, though, as I do not really know much about the game.

  5. Um, doesn’t sound like I would have given it more than 2. I think I’ve been to two football grounds, Enfield and Elland Road. Emirates Stadium is a terrible name. Can’t remember what it used to be called. Highbury Park, I think. Never did like Arsenal, nasty vicious team.

  6. Lucid Gypsy says:

    My uncle lives very closeby but I’ve never noticed the pub – I’ll give it a miss anyway as I can’t stand rudeness.

  7. Sounds like a really fun day with friends, but I just can’t get over the fact that you were able to sit outside at the pub in winter. I can’t even imagine that here LOL!! I’m glad you had a nice visit :).

    • TBM says:

      The English are tough and when I first moved here I thought it was odd that they had drinks outside during the winter. Only smokers do that in the States. But now I’m used to it.

  8. Rorybore says:

    How rude! I’m Canadian and even I know how to make a proper tea! No excuse for that. But I suspect someone as cranky as that will shoot herself in the foot eventually. I dare say by the time you return to that lovely patio garden in summer, she won’t be there anymore.
    Would be amazing to see a live soccer game! how big is that stadium? It looks massive!

    • TBM says:

      I’m American and even I can manage a decent cup of tea. But you’re right, she’ll mouth off to the wrong person soon. And then I can go back.

      The stadium seats roughly 60,000. It has a wonderful feel and doesn’t seem that big when you are there.

  9. I imagine that watering the pitch at the half is for the same reason they water and sweep the infield at baseball games during/after the fifth inning. Keeps the dust down, evens out the surface so balls don’t take odd bounces and generally creates safer playing conditions.

  10. Sorry to hear about your experience with the rude bartender. Let’s just hope she was having an off night.

    You know, I’m a City fan (suddenly). I forgot if I’d told you about meeting one of the players in my office building here in NYC. A strange and wacky occurrence. At any rate, “my” team is ranked # 1 right now. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I do remember that story. That’s so cool. City had a rough start to the year, but they seem to be pulling it together. It’ll be an interesting finish this year.

  11. Novroz says:

    Maybe the bartender has just broke up.
    Anyway, I love your shots on the stadium. I am not a fan of Football (in fact I never see it accept during world cup) but would love to see the excitement there.

    • TBM says:

      It’s a fun experience even if you aren’t a fan. Football is such a part of the culture here and I recommend going to a game at least once.

      • Novroz says:

        Football is also very famous here but it’s not for me. I want to see a game in England one day just to know the atmosphere

      • TBM says:

        I didn’t know it was popular there. Will keep that in mind for when I visit. Do a lot of people play?

      • Novroz says:

        Yes…even the kids play it…but we are not that good 😉

        We used to be called as the tiger of Asia but then we got worse than before.

      • TBM says:

        Americans aren’t know for their soccer skills either. We do have a couple of players, that I know of, who play in England.

  12. It’s a drag when the service is rude, but at the risk of sounding like I’m defending your server, maybe that’s just the way she is when the place is jam packed. Be prepared for that if you ever return. The last time that Milton and I visited our go-to watering hole, our regular server shunned us and wouldn’t even serve us. We were appalled. We could not figure out what the problem was. We have not been back since.

  13. The Hook says:

    That bartender needs to embrace the positive aspects of her job – or hit the road.

  14. Jerry says:

    I hate it when people are rude. In some cases when I call them on it they turn it around. Some people don’t handle pressure well, and it sounds like she was under high pressure with the packed house. I never attended a soccer match in England, and I wish I had. Interesting about the sprinklers. I don’t know why they would water at the half.

  15. Jo Bryant says:

    well I shall pop my name on the list of people you should take to a soccer game if I get over there…then you can take me to that pub so i can take the mean bar lady down a peg or two

  16. The Guat says:

    Dude that totally sucks about the rude service. I’m with you, if there is a server like that I would have probably left too (although I understand that people have bad days and the massive game crowd might have had something to do with that). But seeing how you had pals I understand the willingness to stay. I mean an Irish pub that sells Thai Food…totally have to try that one out right? Well at least the scenery was nice 🙂 better luck at your next pub.

    • TBM says:

      That’s the best part of London. There’s always another pub so if one makes me angry, so long–I’ll find another that can be nice to me. Yeah, Irish pub that serves Thai–I love it!

  17. elisaruland says:

    Oh wow, this looks like it was great fun!

  18. Vishy says:

    Nice photos and review, TBM. Sorry to know about the rude bartender. Sometimes a single sentence like that can ruin the whole evening. So glad to know that you all didn’t let that affect the fun evening you had.

    • TBM says:

      We don’t get to see our friends that often so we were able to ignore the comment and have fun. I felt bad for my friend who wanted a cup of tea. We did find a place for her after the pub.

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