Friendliest Pubs in London
Seeking somewhere familiar? Somewhere cosy and welcoming, where the staff know your name and your order before you’ve even had the chance to stride up to the bar? We’ve toured the town in search of the friendliest pubs in London, noting down the best places for a traditional and relaxed pubbing experience and gathering them together in this handy little guide.
Last updated on 21st September 2016
The best time to visit the Joker? Friday afternoon’s of course, when Islington’s work weary spill out onto the streets and arrive on Penton Street, where an infectious, feel-good atmosphere awaits. The pub is named after Joseph Grimaldi - early nineteenth century local lad and creator of the modern-day clown as we know it - so it’s probably only right that you sample their Grimaldi signature cocktail while you’re here.
With a liquor licence dating back to the 1800s, this Amhurst Road site is a renowned site for drinking and socialising near Hackney Downs. Featuring an interior design of giant maypoles, wicker masks, brass icons and straw bears, this is a colourful space which celebrates British folk culture and offers a unique London pubbing experience.
Looking to get familiar with the Notting Hill area and hatch a plan for pints at a friendly London pub? Well then, it's off to the Duke of Wellington for you. From casual pints and ales to a roster of favourites on the pub menu, this is the perfect Duke to be spending your time with.
Sometimes you need to venture further afield in order to find London’s friendliest pubs. The Bridge Hotel feels a world away from the stressful scenes of central London despite the fact that it’s only 20 minutes on the tube, with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere complemented by an excellent drinks menu featuring seasonal ales, worldly beers and classic cocktails. Linger into the night and don’t worry if you miss your last train; there’s 68 en-suite bedrooms to bail you out!
The Chelsea Pensioner brings friendly vibes and affordable drinks to Fulham Road. A kooky spot that might rival your nan’s front room, come for a few games of pool, a build your own Bloody Mary sesh or just a retreat to the secret beer garden. The pub boasts some of the friendliest happy hour deals in town too; there’s two cocktails for £10 and £15 bottles of prosecco if you’re visiting on a weekday between 4 and 9pm.
You’ve not lived until you’ve checked out this gem of a Battersea boozer. The Four Thieves is a pub with more than 70 gins lining its shelves. There’s comedy nights, pub quizzes, soothing jazz sessions on a Sunday, bottomless brunches and a snug which hosts Lady Chastity’s - a super fun immersive team game. Rally up your mates and explore everything this friendly pub in London has to offer; there just might be a vintage arcade room to stumble upon while you’re here.
Pegged as a beautiful place for eating, drinking and socialising, The Jackdaw & Star brings a friendly, neighbourhood feel to Homerton. So fond of the residents of E9 are these guys that they’ve got their own ‘Local’s Card’ - a loyalty scheme offering up exclusive invites, discounts on private hire and a cheeky bottle of prosecco on your birthday. Check out the prized choice of ales which rotate weekly to offer something different upon each visit.
The Crown Tavern might be a long old poke for some, but the friendly service and welcoming nature of this traditional boozer makes it all worthwhile. Featuring a lovely front terrace that fills up with contented drinkers in the summertime, the main bar has a top range of cask ales, world-class wines and refreshing long drinks while there’s a beautiful function room with its own balcony upstairs.
Quietly nestled away in the back streets of W6, The Cross Keys offers everything you could want from a traditional pub in London. Serving good, hearty comfort food washed down with only the finest real ales, there’s a cosy ambience and plenty of banter to be had here. Rock up on Sunday for a roast of prime meats and home-made Yorkshire puds, or come during the week and relax with some darts, poker and board games.
Beautifully decorated and with a bar stock full of all your favourite drinks, the Roebuck in Hampstead is a traditional pub that's perfect for those lazy weekends. Alongside the traditional, dark mahogany bar area, the venue boasts a cosy basement area, a serene private dining room and, most importantly, a stunning, elegant beer garden. Decked out with heaters, sheltered seating areas and a collection of bright garden furniture, its vibrancy and laid-back atmosphere has quickly made it into a favourite summer spot for Hampstead's locals.
Situated amongst the row of Victorian terraces on Bow’s Coborn Road, this is a charming drinking hole for all occasions. Seek refuge in The Coborn if you need a break from the constant bustle of the city, with plenty of cosy spaces to set up shop and enjoy a tipple or two. Young’s award-winning cask ales, craft beers, premium spirits and vintage wines are all available at the bar, and there’s freshly prepared pub grub if you’re here in search of food.
A Grade II listed, early-19th century boozer on the banks of the Thames, The Gun is a handsome space to enjoy some dinner and drinks. Comprised of refurbed dining rooms and snug bookable areas, the friendly service adds to an already impressive package of seasonal British menus and quality wines at this riverside beauty. Get yourself on the terrace come the warmer months for sweeping views of the Thames and O2 Arena.
A Victorian gem with bags of charm, The Flask is one of the top pubs in Hampstead. Grab a pint of Young’s ale at the bar or make for the conservatory, where seriously good pub grub is served up as the natural light comes flooding in. There’s a neat little outside space to chill in if the weather allows, the Pimm’s gets flowing in the summer and there’s mulled wine for the winter, all in a friendly and familiar atmosphere that won’t fail to impress.
Need a breather from the bustle of Islington? The Duchess of Kent is one of the area’s best kept secrets, beckoning you inside where a friendly ambience is waiting. This cosy spot is great no matter what time of the week you’re in town, with an excellent range of ales on tap, a fresh and vibrant wine list and tasty comfort food served throughout the week. Our tip? Go on Sunday for a delicious roast, a Bloody Mary or two and an afternoon spent playing board games.
They keep most of the tables free for walk-ins at The Cat & Mutton, so you’re free to stroll on down and enjoy some pub grub and drinks in your own time. One of the very best pubs in East London, this Broadway Market boozer serves fried chicken and deep-south fare, with a glorious range of drinks on the side. There’s live music throughout the week and it’s the perfect spot come Sunday, when roasts and Bloody Mary’s are the order of the day.
The White Hart is a pub at the heart of the community, promising great service, the finest ales and delicious, freshly cooked food to the people of Barnes from its riverside location. Originally built in 1660 there’s an unmistakable Tudor grandeur to this place, and it’s a lovely pub to stop by to catch up with friends over a drink or to indulge in some tasty British cooking.
Bringing “a taste of country life to London’s bustling suburbs”, The Eagle ticks all the boxes for a traditional pub experience in Shepherd’s Bush. You’ll be chilling in the pub garden come the warmer months; the BBQ will be on the go and there’s ample beanbags to kick back and lounge on. If there’s a chill in the air retreat inside to find a cosy and snug pub environment, with sofas, open fires and plenty of ale and seasonal food.