One of the most friendly and cool traditions here in London is to visit a pub. It doesn’t matter if is winter or summer, people tend to go to the pub to celebrate, gather, to have a drink, to grab lunch, self-pity…
The reason doesn’t matter, we just love when someone says: “Let’s go to the pub!”.
But with more than 3000 pubs in the city, it is hard to know how to pick one, and I confess that it was challenging to make a list of some of my favourite pubs in London.
There are so many that I like and maybe in future, I’ll make a second list with more options. But for now, let’s enjoy the following ones.
Trading House, Bank
Set in a former bank, the Trading House is, first of all, stunning on the inside, with dark wood pillars, worn parquet flooring and stylish metal bar, all punctuated with palm fronds and glass light colours.
And if you would like, The Mezzanine is available to host private occasions for up to 50 people.
The bar/restaurant serves cocktails, a selective list of small-batch gins from across the country, and a good selection of beers. I haven’t eaten there, but I heard that the food is quite delicious.
Address: 89-91 Gresham St, EC2V 7NQ
The Bull’s Head, Chislehurst
It has 3 bars: the main bar area is family-friendly and shows all the major sporting events; the Lounge Bar with wing back chairs, firewood and quirky decorations and the garden bar where they serve delicious chargrilled burgers in the summer.
The Bull’s Head have a nice collection of beers like regular cask ales and seasonal beers. But, if you are not so much into beer, they have a separate room for afternoon tea.
Address: 5 Royal Parade, Chislehurst BR7 6NR
The Ship Tavern, Holborn
The classic British pub has been part of the Holborn scene since 1549. Customers can choose between the mahogany-walled dining room decorated with antique paintings and roaring fires or the cosy pub downstairs.
They serve six ‘Cask Marque’ accredited real ales, with two rotating weekly, lagers from around the globe and a comprehensive gin and wine list. Also, on Sundays, the Ship Tavern have live jazz sessions.
Address: 12 Gate St, Holborn, London WC2A 3HP
The Cutty Sark, Greenwich
Sat on the Thames’ banks, this pub has welcomed guests for over two hundred years.
They have a good selection of fine wines from around the world, excellent real ales and delicious food, all in a cosy decor atmosphere.
With weekly pub quiz nights and our events with their favourite drink brands, Cutty Sark is a must-go in the area.
Address: 4-6 Ballast Quay, Greenwich, London SE10 9PD
The Horniman at Hays, London Bridge
This pub is in a lovely location on the Thames banks and was built on the formerly historic tea dealer’s warehouse.
Usually, when I have friends coming to sightseeing in London and we are around London Bridge, we ended up there for “fish and chips”, the eclectic range of real ales and see a traditional public house.
Address: Unit 26 Hays Galleria, London SE1 2HD
Waxy O’Connors, Piccadilly
London’s biggest Irish-themed pub, established on what looks like a labyrinth with 4 unique bars across 6 levels.
The remarkable interior has some fantastic features, including cathedral-like timber carvings, stained glass windows and the trunk and branches of a giant preserved tree.
The tree was planted 250 years ago in Ireland and died naturally in 1994. A local woodworker then cut the pieces and shipped them to England, where was ‘planted’ in Waxy O’Connor’s in August 1995.
The pub has frequent live music, pub food and a good selection of beers, plus they show sports on the big screen.
Address: 14-16 Rupert St, West End, W1D 6DD
Porterhouse, Covent Garden
It a large pub with gleaming copper pipes, and it is split over three main levels, with several mezzanines in between.
They have an extensive selection of imported draught beers and screening all major sporting events, particularly rugby, to customers from all over the world, not to mention a late-night music club.
Address: 21-22 Maiden Ln, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7NA
The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping
Claiming to be the site of the oldest riverside pub in the city, dating from around 1520, the pub’s history tells that pirates were hanged there, and a noose dangling is still around the back.
The pub has a long bar as you enter with the ancient flagstoned floor, wooden ceiling held up with massive wooden pillars and an old fireplace at the far end.
The open-fronted courtyard gives you excellent views of the river and Canary Wharf. They have a great selection of ales, beers, wine and spirits, and the menu has a fantastic offering, although I’ve never eaten there.
Address: 57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, E1W 3SH
Although the following pubs are too “touristy” for my taste, they are worth mentioning because they are lovely.
The Churchill Arms, Kensington
Built in 1750, the pub was frequently visited by Winston Churchill’s Grandparents, which eventually led to the pub’s naming after World War 2. Hence the Churchill memorabilia hanging on the walls.
It is known for its floral displays on its facade and the fantastic Christmas displays in the winter.
On the back, you will find a Thai restaurant serving delicious comfort food.
Address: 119 Kensington Church St, Kensington, W8 7LN
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, St Pauls
Considered one of the oldest pub in London, as there was a pub at this location since 1538. However, because of the Great fire in 1666, it was rebuilt in 1667.
The unique interior sprawls out over at least four levels, in an array of chambers, cellars and tunnels to walk around with another bar in the basement.
The ground floor consists of a wood-panelled dining room and a small bar, which usually has sawdust sprinkled on the floor.
As part of the Sam Smith’s chain, the food and drink range is unexciting but inexpensive.
Just be careful and not visit the wrong pub, as there is one called Cheshire Cheese nearby.
Address: 145 Fleet St, London EC4A 2BU
I also really like to go to Spitalfields Market, Kingly Court, Pergola Olympia, Greenwich Market, sit in the “square” and order a drink from one of the bars/pubs that are there.
It is funny but making this list, I realised how we tend to always go to the same places and since London has more than 3.500 pubs, I think it’s time for me to start changing this habit.
And how about you? Which are your favourite pubs in London? Make sure to share your tips below. Cheers!