Good London pubs are hard to come by sometimes, but if you head south of the river then a visit to Balham Bowls Club is a must. Something of a retro outfit, this boozer comes with bags of tradition and vintage furnishings to create a really social and laid-back atmosphere.
Best London Pubs
The UK is renowned for its pubs and London certainly offers up a good selection... You have the traditional English pub where the landlord is on hand serving real ales or food-focused gastro pubs with artisan-brewed beer and a food menu to rival Gordon Ramsay. Our top London pubs have everything from secret beer gardens to large screens perfect for watching sports. There are literally thousands of boozers in the city, so we have picked out our recommended London pubs to act as your guide and bible.
Suitably one of the most unique pubs in London, and harbouring a witchy twist, not only is Hand Of Glory the spot for pints, candlelit meals and gin combined, be sure to indulge in their pagan themed interiors and menagerie of independent artwork on the walls.
A cosy little retreat from the busy streets of Mayfair, The Windmill is a classic British boozer specialising in cask ales and beautiful pies - the steak offering has won no less than three national awards. Come for some lunch or linger into the evening, it's a pub for all occasions and there's a hidden roof terrace to discover to cap things off.
The White Swan is a popular gastro pub on Fetter Lane. With a traditional bar area and upstairs dining room, it is a lovely pub for having a drink or a meal. Renowned by those in the area for their delicious pub lunches and great drinks selection, it is worth stopping by. If you're looking for a nice pub for a private party it can accommodate up to 140 guests!
It's not hard to find a decent pub in the city of London - there's scores of them - but we've always had a soft spot for the Lamb Tavern. Sitting alongside the iconic Leadenhall Market since 1780, this majestic three-storey boozer is a popular haunt of city workers and is a great choice for private hire, with weddings, birthdays, Christenings and retirement parties all held here.
This superb local pub is located in the heart of Chelsea. The Hollywood Arms is a luxurious bar and restaurant with beautiful interior, serving premium drinks and fresh British food. The Hollywood Arm's premium location makes it ideal for drinks and a delicious evening meal and there's a whole host of entertainment with weekly Adventure Quiz nights, Sunday cinema evenings, cookery & mixology masterclasses as well as cinema and sessions for the local yummy mummies and their families. Definitely one of the best pubs in London.
Fronting impressive quality right across the board, The Elgin is Maida Vale's homely, personal local. Come early for some breakfast treats, or stop in later where top-quality, locally sourced produce comes from the kitchen. Craft beers are a huge strength, wines are selected to match the food and there's a first floor private room equipped to host functions for up to 120 guests.
Easily one of the best pubs in London, this fantastic venue hosts live music nights every week and have been graced recently by the highly-acclaimed up-and-coming singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka as well as by well-known British bands The Kooks, Bombay Bicycle Club and Foals, just a show of what's on offer at The Old Queen's Head. On top of this they also host occasional comedy nights, with legendary comic Lenny Henry one of the names to have made an appearance.
The Jugged Hare is a stylish city pub boasting delicious food, great atmosphere and a huge drinks list. Attached to a listed brewery they naturally have great ales and craft beers, while the walk-in wine room lets you hand pick your favourite. Sit by the open kitchen and watch a chef prepare your seasonal and fresh dishes, or sit by the bar to just enjoy a drink. The sophisticated interior is sure to impress anyone.
A haven for craft beer lovers, The Union Tavern is a renowned North London watering hole. Offering a wide selection of craft beers, served alongside a menu of fresh food and an all round great atmosphere, The Union Tavern is a delightful drinking space, whatever the weather.
When it comes to creating the perfect London pub, it's important to have all bases covered, and The Victoria do just that. A vintage gem in the heart of Dalston, head on down for the booze and bites but stick around for their regular music roster in the back room.
When it comes to London pubs, Young's is a name that will always have you covered, and their Woolwich offering is one of the prettiest yet. Heralded for its charming interiors, gastro food and pretty prints, head on down to one of the best South London pubs in the business.
When it comes to some of the greatest pubs in London, it's important to remember that it's not all foodie charm and booze that wins it. Not only whipping up gastro bites, this Clapham gem promises bottomless brunches, a games room, a beer garden and events aplenty.
Shoreditch has something to say for itself when it comes to some of the best pubs in the city, and it's saying it in the shape of the Owl and the Pussycat. An unrivaled haven of traditional interiors set alongside sport screenings and grub, get them ticked off of your pubbing list, sharpish.
Once an elegant Victorian townhouse, Three Cranes is now a multi-floor pub, restaurant and guesthouse. Headed up by Douglas Brunen (formerly Harvey Nichols Firth Floor), the menu here is made up of classic dishes from the grill as well as salads and simple seafood. The perfect cosy spot for a rainy day, the sleek interiors feature muted tones and deep mahogany furniture.
Just a short walk from Peckham Rye station, this quirky pub certainly has a trick or two up its sleeve. Boasting tasty British seafood plates, a great beer selection and even a quirky hidden cinema room, it's one of South London's finest watering holes.
Churning out some of the finest food an drink in Fulham, The Rose have earned themselves a place on this list of the best pubs in London. Not only boasting one of the prettiest beer gardens, gorge on a roster of gastro plates and ales that are set to impress.
Leading the charge when it comes to being a unique pub in London, there's nothing that the Aeronaut can't do for you on a night out. From one of the best beer gardens in the city to regular circus events and craft beer that'll make your belly bulge, let them impress.
A popular pub in Soho, Sun & Thirteen Cantons is an intimate venue near Regents Street and is a great choice for those seeking out real ales as their selection is extensive. Their basement bar is also a cosy space perfect for those wanting a chic, yet traditional party space. This London pub is very popular with the after work drinkers of London and often spills onto the streets of Soho for some alfresco drinking.
The Hero of Maida is a charming British Victorian pub complete with elegant muted blue interiors and an a la carte menu jam-packed with French classics. Enjoy cocktails in the ground floor bar before heading upstairs to the elegant dining room and enjoying a sumptuous feast of Jersey oysters, bavette steak and dauphinoise potatoes.
A decadent pub with a beautiful beer garden out back, The Devonshire in Balham has it all. It's been here since 1821 and remains at the forefront of south London's boozing scene even today, thanks to a passion for drinks that extends to their choice of ales, craft beers, spirits and wines. Excellent pub grub (don't miss their smoked scotch eggs) is a given, and there's a lovely alfresco space offering a BBQ menu for the summery months.
When it comes to a top pub in London, can you think of anything better than a beer garden plotted by the Thames, and some seriously good gastro grub? We thought not, and that's where The Waterside comes in. Head on down for a British pub experience to remember.
With a quaint beer garden and a balcony area that boasts stunning views over South London, the Old Ship in Richmond is fast becoming a favourite spot for those lazy summer weekends. Styled as a traditional haunt in South London, the mahogany furniture and the nautical themed antiques spread across the venue gives the pub a rustic, cosy feel. Completing the experience, their flavoursome menu is filled with classic British dishes; think delicious roast dinners, succulent steaks and steaming hot fish and chips.
The Joker of Penton Street is an N1 favourite for laid-back boozing, cracking entertainment and a kitchen that boasts pop-up residencies from some of London's biggest and best street food patrons. Strong on their burger game, the Burger Bear himself has cooked up a patty storm here. With live music, comedy shows and plenty of craft beers to keep you quiet, this place is a dime.