Devonshire Arms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hobgoblin, formerly The Devonshire Arms (March 2008).
Devonshire Arms pub sign in July 2006, featuring the Latin inscription "Cavendo tutus" "I'll be safe being careful").
Hobgoblin in June 2011.

The Hobgoblin, commonly known by its previous name The Devonshire Arms, is a public house in London, UK, said to be "London's most famous alternative venue "[1] It serves a clientele drawn from a variety of alternative subcultures including Industrial, Metal, Punk and Cyber, although its décor is gothic and this is the subculture with which it is widely identified.

Located in Camden Town, a area of North London famous for alternative shops and markets, the pub attracts a mix of London regulars plus visitors from elsewhere in the UK and overseas. The Devonshire Arms is widely known in alternative circles outside the UK because of the London scene's notably cosmopolitan composition.

At the end of May 2012 it was put up for sale by its owner Enterprise Inns.


Amongst locals and regulars (and also within certain alternative subcultures), The Hobgoblin is often referred to as "The Dev", from the name "Devonshire Arms",[1] changed when the pub changed hands in early 2008.[1]

The "Devonshire Arms" sign with coat of arms still hangs from one of the upper storeys.


The Devonshire Arms is the longest-surviving Goth pub in London and has remained a focal point for the city's alternative scene for many years. During the 1980s, Spider Stacy and Shane MacGowan of The Pogues frequented the pub.[2]

It is close to several live music and club venues - notably Slimelight in the nearby area of Islington. Slimelight claims to be the longest-running goth nightclub in the world and its unusually permissive opening hours (it runs until 7:30am) make the Devonshire Arms a popular choice for pre-club drinks.[citation needed]

Hobgoblin in December 2008.


The pub is situated at 33 Kentish Town Road on the corner of Hawley Crescent, about two minutes' walk from Camden Town London Underground station on the Northern line. It is adjacent to the headquarters of MTV Europe.

It occupies a three-storey mock Tudor building with black beams and white plaster rendering. The public bar is on the ground floor.

Dress code[edit]

There is no longer an enforced dress code. In previous years, there used to be a goth and alternative dress code – which was routinely enforced. Customers who did not specifically conform to this style were generally expected to observe an all-black (or near to) minimum. As a point of principle, it was regularly cited (often by goths themselves) as being incongruous with the scene's professed axiom of nonconformity. This is a specific instance of a widely observed paradox regarding the alternative scene as a whole. This argument, however, does not acknowledge the dress code's stated and overriding purpose - which, as noted, was the preservation of the pub's hassle-free ethos - rather than the imposition of an arbitrary style.

In popular culture[edit]

Shots of the interior of The Devonshire Arms, including some of its artwork, featured in "Goths",[3] an episode from a 2003 BBC anthology series, Spine Chillers.


The Devonshire Arms was part of the estate of Pubs N Bars PLC (AIM: PNB),[4] until that company went into administration in 2009.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Polly Vernon (24 May 2008). "London's most famous alternative venue does a roaring trade in Snakebite and Black, and mysterious - and very potent - shots". Cocktail girl. The Observer. Retrieved 2011-11-05. London's most famous alternative venue does a roaring trade in Snakebite and Black, and mysterious - and very potent - shots 
  2. ^ Carol Clerk. Kiss My Arse: The Story of the Pogues. p. 144. ISBN 0-85712-019-0. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  3. ^ "Goths (#1.5)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  4. ^[dead link]
  5. ^ Naomi Loomes (10 December 2009). "Hobgoblin pub closes its doors and brings in temporary landlord". The Argus. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 

Coordinates: 51°32′28″N 0°08′33″W / 51.5410°N 0.1424°W / 51.5410; -0.1424