London is full of historic and exotic pubs on every corner. Each one is well equipped with a unique atmosphere and décor to match. They are the best places in the city to stumble upon divine pub grub and a remarkable selection of drinks.
From enjoying pub classics on the river with a glass of wine, to drinking craft beers over a game of ping-pong, the pubs of London are full of entertainment. Each one of the city’s much-loved drinking venues has something to offer – whether it’s a roof terrace, live music or just a hidden spot to grab a cheap brunch with friends.
Take away leaving it to chance to discover the finest pit stops around and have a read of our best English pubs in London to enjoy a taste of culture with a refreshing pint.
The Dove, Hammersmith
Out by the river, you can visit the smallest pub in London (and in the world!) to enjoy a cheeky pint over an open fire on the balcony. This charming pub with an incredible history is renowned for its fish and chips like no other. With the scenic views, it’s also the perfect place to enjoy a roast dinner on a Sunday afternoon before getting ready for the week ahead.
Here at The Dove, you’ll have the choice of cosying down amongst the quaint interior décor inside or sitting out in the fresh air on the terrace. If it gets too cold, blankets are available all over the seating area, so you can get snug as you drink wine and take in the impeccable views.
Ye Olde Mitre, Holborn
Between The Old Bailey and Fleet Street, tucked away in the backroads, is Ye Olde Mitre, thought to be the oldest pub in London. Even though it was built over 500 years ago, it’s still a popular drinking hole for modern city workers to set up camp for a refreshing pint.
You have to head down an alleyway to get here, but it’s more than worth it to take in the historic vibe and snugness! Inside, you can take a perch on traditional bar stools on the high tables. If that’s not your style, then you can always mingle with the city workers on the standing barrels that smother the outdoor alleyway.
The George, London Bridge
In the shadow of The Shard lies The George pub, famous for its spacious courtyard that youngsters and city earners adore heading to on a Friday night. Back in the day, Shakespeare was a frequent guest, and you’d probably find him quietly jotting scripts in his diary in the corner. Nowadays, it’s the ideal spot to catch a live sporting event on the sizable TV screens while jostling in the beer garden with friends.
It’s known as one of the best English pubs in London to enjoy punchy ales over a hearty meal, with traditional pub classics smothering the menu. To top it all off, it’s also a pub that LGBTQ+ proud, with a home-brewed ‘progress pale’ that donates to Switchboard LGBT+ with every pint sold!
Pub On The Park, Hackney
The tell is in the name at Pub On The Park – it really is a pub right next to the park! With its spectacular views of London Fields and undercover outdoor seating area, you can enjoy a great craft beer or a vodka mixer over an open fire with friends.
This Hackney pub covers all the major sporting events on their TV screens, even playing numerous games at once to avoid clashes. No need for one friend to stay at home to watch the cricket while you enjoy the football! Most days, you can either revel in chilled drinks with relaxing tunes or a buzzing vibe that gets you ready to party.
Radicals & Victuallers, Angel
For quality food, live music and a huge selection of craft beer, Radicals & Victuallers in Angel is your top choice! This quirky pub is a unique spot to unwind away from the bustling city on your nights off. This drinking hole is renowned for its beautiful cocktails and astronomically sized beef cheeseburgers – served with a side of delicious dirty fries.
Here, you can sit on one of the wooden benches early in the evening or stay late for the dimmed lights and party time on the dance-floor! If you’d rather call in early, they also serve filling breakfasts and a fab choice of veggie options on the menu. Oh – and it’s also full of TVs for spectacular sports game viewings!
The Islington Townhouse, Angel
The Islington Townhouse is an inviting pub that welcomes you to explore the nooks and crooks on different floors at this spacious venue. With a combination of airy lounges and snug corners, it’s a pub with a touch of class fit for all occasions. Whether you’re on a casual date or out for a laugh with friends, the quirky pub classics on the menu are perfect to enjoy amongst the cheerful ambience.
At this three-floored tavern, there’s a spacious attic for parties, a speakeasy cocktail bar for sophisticated drinkers and space for high-class ale drinkers casually dining on the ground floor. If that doesn’t sound like enough, there’s even an outdoor terrace (complete with blankets) for a refreshing glass of wine in the sunshine.
The Cat and Mutton, Hackney
With pub quizzes galore and live DJ nights, the antique vibe at The Cat and Mutton is sure to make the perfect end to a day in the city! Inside you’ll find brown-gold furniture and old-fashioned paintings, with classic wooden tables centre stage. For a place to lounge with a cocktail, you can sit back on the green sofas and enjoy a chat with your mates.
If you’re hungry for more, this Hackney pub also features highly praised drag duos for a fun-filled night full of Bloody Mary’s and great talent. With a wide selection of vegan and veggie meals, this traditional gastropub has a welcoming vibe that opens its doors to all. Even doggo’s are allowed!
The renowned Montpelier is known for its tasty small plates and DJ nights. It’s the ideal venue for filling up on picky food before staying late for a dance as the volume ramps up.
Even though the tapas-style dinners are the focal point of the week, on a weekend it’s a chilled pub to catch up over a few drinks and the gorgeous Sunday roast. We don’t know if it’s used, but there’s also a hidden cinema room mysteriously weaved into the pub. Even if you can’t catch a show there, The Montpelier is a cool space to dance the night away!
The Narrow Boat, Islington
For dinner and a drink with a view of Regent’s Canal, The Narrow Boat is a hidden gem worth trekking to. With its seasonal menus and tables out by the balcony, you can enjoy a warming brew over a hearty meal in the fresh air.
The Narrow Boat is known to play all the best rugby and football matches on accessible TV screens. For drinkers with a competitive streak, there’s also a selection of board games to play over drinks with friends. It’s the ideal spot for a romantic pub dinner or a chilled night out, with a vast selection of cask ale, craft beers and beautiful wines available. If you don’t fancy sticking around, you can even grab a pint-to-go and guzzle it down by the canal on a summer’s day.
Leather Bottle, Wimbledon
The Leather Bottle in Wimbledon is one of the best places to catch a game, with Sky Sports and BT Sports always circulating the TV screens. It has one of the best beer gardens around – complete with covered tables and heaters, so you’re set no matter the weather!
If you’re heading in with a crowd who’s ready to chat, laugh and drink all night long, then you can book one of their cosy huts that feel more like you’re drinking in a rural cabin than a beer garden. Plus, the fairy lights and umbrella’s make the perfect Insta backdrop! Ordering via the app means no waiting around at the bar all night for drinks, which is ideal when you’re huddled up in a booth.
The Mere Scribber, Streatham
The modern teal décor and fabulous beer garden at The Mere Scribber scream class and sophistication. Inside you can enjoy pub grub of all kinds – from burgers to bar food, sharing plates to dazzling Sunday roasts. Cocktail lovers will adore the vast selection of unique mixes, while beer-drinkers can indulge in plenty of draughts.
Sports fans can take in any of the latest games on the giant TV screens, which are perfectly positioned near the back of the pub. If you’d rather sip a glass of wine with friends, you can do so undisturbed and away from the raging football fans.
The Market Porter, London Bridge
Right in the heart of London Bridge, The Market Porter pub is famous for its scotch eggs and unusual varieties of cask ale hand pumps. It’s one of the best pubs in the city down by the river to stop for a sizable lunch or gather with your mates for a beer after a long day studying.
The traditional décor at The Market Porter will make you feel like you’re back in the Victorian streets of London, with red chequered floors, fireplaces, and bookshelves galore. It even serves roast dinners with a twist – with the meat and trimmings scattered across a wooden slate board for a finer dining experience!
The Colonel Fawcett, Camden
Just off the main hustle of Camden Town, you can enjoy a fully covered and heated back garden with a forestry feel at The Colonel Fawcett. This grand pub boasts TV screens, a classical interior décor, and a magnificent range of brilliant gins. There’s no shortage of fun at this Camden drinking hole, with quiz, comedy and DJ nights making a cameo almost every day of the week!
The chefs at The Colonel Fawcett are exquisite and pride themselves on making all their meals from scratch. Even the ice cream and chutneys are homemade! Provenance, sustainability, and seasonality are important to the head chefs at this conscious establishment, with all meats, fish and vegetables sourced from nearby farms and local growers.
The Heathcote and Star, Leyton
For a night of delicious food and beer pong tournaments, The Heathcote and Star over in Leyton is top of the list! It’s one of the best English pubs in London for young professionals, sports devotees, and loyal locals to knock back a drink from the impressive alcoholic collection.
The building at this drinking inn is full of character and entertainment, with DJ nights and pool tables open for all to enjoy. The thing that makes this Leyton pub burst out from the crowd is its unique menu of enticing meals. Aside from the usual contemporary British cuisine, they cook up a wide range of European meals and Thai street food that you can eat under the planetarian ceilings.
The Four Thieves, Clapham
There’s no shortage of offerings at The Four Thieves in Clapham and we dare you to tell us it’s a boring place to visit! It’s one of the best English pubs in London that delivers on the statement ‘we will entertain you’. The huge schedule of events includes comedy nights, bottomless brunches, bingo, DJ sessions and even Virtual Reality stations! But that’s not all. You’ll also find a huge beer garden covered in picturesque fairy lights, a pizzeria and vintage arcade games that envelop the entire top floor of this establishment.
If that sounds too exciting, then it’s not all hustle and bustle. Here at The Four Thieves, you can enjoy summer BBQ’s, Sunday roasts and a selection of artisan gins over a casual dinner with your mates. This Clapham pub really does have something for everyone!
The Iron Duke, Mayfair
For a fine dining experience in Mayfair without the hefty price tag, The Iron Duke is one of the best English pubs in London for a swanky evening meal. Home to outstanding cider and mouth-wateringly fresh food, this modest pub is a solid competitor amongst the more ratified pubs of Mayfair.
In summer, you can expect a buzzing atmosphere full of punters that even scatter the pavements outside. Its well-kept ales and affordable prices make this pub a well-loved spot to enjoy a cracking pie or a tasty plate of bar snacks. There’s no doubt that visiting The Iron Duke will give you that authentic English pub experience!
The Three Crowns, Stoke Newington
The beautiful exterior at The Three Crowns isn’t the only enticing thing about this Stoke Newington pub. The stylish interior décor makes the perfect setting for a weekend brunch that will feel more like you’re in a posh café than a pub!
With live music, chilled out vibes, and delicious food, hanging out at The Three Crowns is one of the best English pubs for kicking back and relaxing after a long day of lectures. This Victorian pub is split into three different areas – a fine dining section, a cosy sofa hangout and a live music lounge just downstairs.
Old Brewery, Greenwich
Located just a stone’s throw away from Cutty Sark, Old Brewery in Greenwich is the perfect resting place for a cheerful brunch or casual night of drinking. The bright and airy décor makes it the ideal venue to stop and unwind after a long day.
Hosting events like gin and jazz summer’s, you can soak up the talent of London’s local musicians over a gin spritz. On a warm night, the outdoor terrace is the ideal pitstop to savour distilled drinks with a friend. Throw in the impressive dining room inside and you’ll have more than enough space to stretch out and relax here at the Old Brewery!
Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street
On the doorstep of Liverpool Street Station, Hamilton Hall is part of the JD Weatherspoon family and famous for refuelling office workers before they head on home for the night. Its expansive sociable space downstairs makes for an inviting atmosphere full of city buzz and cheap drinks.
Since it’s a spoon’s pub, it’s one of the best English pubs around London to enjoy a cheap meal and affordable drinks before hitting the eclectic bars of Shoreditch. On warm, dry days, expect to find suit-wearers spilling out into the streets and filling up the outdoor tables with chats of days passed over a pint.
The Cow, Stratford
For an impromptu nightcap with a friend or a pre-planned cocktail party, The Cow is the beating heart of Westfield Shopping Centre for fun-loving beer drinkers. With seasonal specialities made from scratch and some of the finest steaks around, this pub is an unmissable pit spot when browsing the shops next door.
The sophisticated menu at The Cow is sure to dazzle, with full English brunches, beer-battered cod, and vegan sandwiches. On the drink’s menus, there’s something for everyone! The new and improved bar showcases a fine selection of evening wines, real cask ales and grand gin spritzers to make your night a merry one.
The Star of Bethnal Green, Bethnal Green
The towering Star of Bethnal Green is one of the best English pubs in London to enjoy a budget-friendly night of exciting entertainment. With 2 for 1 cocktails on special nights and fantastic deals running throughout the week, you’ll be sure to have a great time at this Bethnal Green pub without breaking the bank.
Even though you can stay late and listen to wicked tunes from the DJ, it’s also the perfect spot for a low-key night full of friendly vibes. The gorgeous décor can be taken in over a rich beef burger and tasty salted fries. Daring visitors that are feeling bold can even pop along to a night filled with karaoke and rising stars in the streets of London!
The Victoria, Hackney
Famed for its live music programme, The Victoria (just a short walk from Dalston Junction and Hackney Downs) is a main feature of East London’s musical scene. The party space racked full of cheap pints is home to memorable gig experiences that you’ll treasure forever!
Despite the great music and rejuvenating décor, The Victoria is one of the best English pubs in London to enjoy locally brewed beers and continental wines until the early hours, with a closing time stretching until 2am. This pub in the centre stage of Hackney is a picture of the lively social scene that scatters the streets nearby.
The Stag, Hampstead
Well-known for its quality food and reasonably priced drinks, The Stag in Hampstead is a charming place to visit that’s well worth the trip! Serving up to 24 taps of great beer and 50% off on some nights, it’s one of the best English pubs in London to enjoy the fresh air over a pint.
Heading outside you’ll find a roof terrace filled with dazzling heated cabanas for a sociable evening with friends. On the menu, you’ll find a daring mix of great pub grub, including a cracking roast, spicy vegan burgers, and delectable small plates. This drinking hole on the outskirts is the ideal venue to enjoy a lovely evening on a sunny, London night.
Let’s head to the pub!
If this dynamic selection of the best English pubs in London aren’t making you want to race there immediately, we don’t know what will!
Remember to always stay safe when travelling late at night and plan your journey home before you leave. London is full of places to catch a bus, train, or cab, with Uber in operation almost everywhere in the city. The TfL GO app can help plan your journey and keep you posted on the last train times.
Feeling inspired to try the very best British pub food? Check out our post on the top British pub grub you can find on almost any London pub’s menu.
Looking for somewhere to go after your pub lunch or boozy pre-drinks? How about heading to one of these top-rated student bars in London.