The Devonshire Arms, AKA "The Dev" is a pub in London. It is located at 33 Kentish Town Rd, London, NW1 8NL

It is less than five minutes walk from Camden Town underground station, in the general direction of Kentish Town. It is not particularly large. The selection of drinks is not particularly wide, and the prices are fairly average for London. The bar staff are variable - they can be attentive, or can often be not so good. The floors are not very clean, and the whole place looks a bit dingy and worn. The toilets are very grotty indeed. The pub does not sell hot food. The volume levels can be high in the evenings. The ambience is enhanced by low light levels that disguise the state of the décor.

There is a lot of decoration in the style of modern Gothic memorabilia/bricolage. Band posters cover the ceiling. There is a broomstick, a plastic skeleton, a skull, a spider web, etc. forming a busy pile of random dark stuff. A sign behind the bar reads "No football colours".

The Dev is an Goth/alternative bar, probably more so than any other bar in London. See also The Intrepid Fox in Soho, which is more of a rock and metal bar as well. Other Camden pubs frequented by what William Gibson termed "The Children's Crusade"1 include The World's End (situated across the road from the tube station exit), The Dublin Castle (a more well-known live-music venue) and really, any pub within range.

The Dev is not just frequented by Goths , the pub has a dress code to that effect: strictly no football kit, alternative dress preferred. They always have people at the door to guard entry. Indeed, this door policy is the pub's unique selling point. However it's not that hard to get in if you are that way inclined - jeans and a t-shirt will do so long as they are in basic black. Some people inside will be very dressed up, but not everyone. The dress code is more likely to be relaxed during the day when the pub is relatively empty. Resident DJs play some evenings, live bands some Thursdays.

The Dev's patrons do not in general go to the Dev because it sells beer. Beer can be had at a multitude of pubs and off-licences in London, many nearby. They go to The Dev because that scene is what they want. They know for certain they won't be hassled about their look there, though the odds of that happening elsewhere in a Camden pub must be quite low anyway. If you don't like it, then there are many other pubs in Camden that you might like more. If you are into wearing too much black, it's a very well-known place, and it’s worth going to see it at least once.

When you want some interesting beers, exit the Dev, turn left, and walk five minutes Northish (away from Camden tube) on Kentish Town road, over the canal and under the railway, until you come to a blue-painted bar called Quinn's. Ignore the sports on TV, the geezers and slightly rough locals in the front. Try the guest ale, a bottled beer or a fruit beer; and take a seat at the back. There's lots of room, it's cleaner and they also have basic bar food.


Update: In December 2007, the Devonshire Arms has changed management. The previous management/publicans were evicted for failing to turn a profit. The new management has cleaned the interior and relaxed the door policy. The clientèle seems to be much the same as ever. the more notable change is that due to new anti-smoking laws, people stand outside, even in winter.


1) Pattern Recognition (2003) - A novel set partly in late 1990s Camden.

This was originally written for http://www.beerintheevening.com/, to inject some semblance of factual, informational writing into the flamefest of their reviews of this pub. It has since been revised.

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