Historic pub The Cuckoo ready to welcome locals inside after refurbishment

The Cuckoo in Hemingford Road, Islington

The Cuckoo in Hemingford Road, Islington - Credit: The Cuckoo

Bosses at a historic Barnsbury pub are looking forward to welcoming locals back inside on May 17, following a refurbishment during lockdown.

The Cuckoo in Hemingford Road underwent an extensive refit during the latest lockdown, and is about to launch a new food and drinks menu when it is allowed to reopen under Step 3 of lockdown easing - at which point there will be no need to check the weather forecast every time you head to the pub or restaurant.

The Cuckoo has seen a rush of bookings, with customers booking inside tables for both lunchtime and evenings. 

Outside hospitality at the pub already opened back up on April 12 along with non-essential shops and hairdressers, as part of Step 2 on the government's roadmap out of lockdown. 

South African co-founder Sunée McKelvey said: "The whole time we had the decorators in we kept getting asked when we would reopen from passers by. 

"It’s been so encouraging and when we reopened for outside seating we were immediately booked up and it’s been incredible how much the locals here have embraced having their local pub back open.

“All of the locals here love what we have done with the place, the support and positive feedback has been overwhelming." 

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Sunée has brought touches of her homeland with her to Islington.

The wine list features South African wines, and  and South African dried, cured meat biltong is an option on the pizzas.

A spiced ‘Bunny Chow’ curry will be on the specials list, served in a bread bowl using loaves specially baked by the local SunFlour Bakery on Caledonian Road.

South African style canapes, which are now on the new menu at The Cuckoo in Hemingford Road

South African style canapes, which are now on the new menu at The Cuckoo in Hemingford Road - Credit: The Cuckoo

A pizza with South African dried meat, which is now on the new menu at The Cuckoo in Hemingford Road

A pizza with South African dried meat, which is now on the new menu at The Cuckoo in Hemingford Road - Credit: The Cuckoo


A pub called the Huntington Arms stood on the same site since 1856, until it was renamed The Cuckoo in 2011 when it was turned into an Indian restaurant - making this year its 165th anniversary.

Cinemas and theatres will also be allowed to reopen on May 17, along with other indoor attractions, hotels and holiday accommodation.

The fourth step of the government's lockdown easing roadmap is scheduled for June 21, when nightclubs, gigs, festivals and theatre performances can restart. 

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