The pub culture in London is truly superb. The city is ‘falling down’ (tee hee) with great boozer’. Many of the city’s best pubs are hidden gems, and the British capital also has its fair share of tacky, trashy, and downright bad pubs. So doing a little bit of research before you go pub-crawling in London is definitely a worthwhile endeavor.
Luckily for you, we’ve been researching away to our liver’s discontent! And here is our list of the seven best London pubs in which you can truly drink like a local. Peruse the list and then stick the pubs that most tickle your fancy in your BUCKiTDREAM planner. Bottoms up!
The French House Is a Cute Little Pub In the Heart Of Soho With a Certain je ne sais quoi! The inside of this pub is part quaint old London pub, part Parisian backstreet bar. Due to its location just off Old Compton Street in the heart of the West End theater district, this place is a favorite spot for actors, writers, directors, and musicians working in the theater scene. It has a definite bohemian vibe and finding a seat at the bar almost guarantees you will get to meet some colorful and eccentric old Soho characters.
The John Snow Serves Some Of the Best Ale and Pies In London, This ancient boozer is named after the 19th Century physician credited with ending the cholera epidemic that raged in London in 1854. He did this by tracing the outbreak’s source to a rancid water pump in the middle of Soho. The pub is surrounded by narrow cobblestone streets in central Soho, just behind Carnaby Street, so it’s a great place to come for a relaxing break from a long day’s shopping. A lovely old exterior with leather couches and lots of old oak provides the perfect surrounds in which to enjoy an awesome beer menu. We recommend the Nut Brown Ale – yum!
In the Shade Of BBC Headquarters in Shepherds Bush, The Defectors Weld Has Been a West London Favorite For Many Years This is a great place to mingle with seasoned journalists and newsmen, pencils still wedged behind their ears, sipping beers after a long day breaking stories in the BBC newsroom. Great music and an extensive beer menu (the Italian strawberry beer Fruli is oddly delicious) give this place a lovely atmosphere. They have a great cocktail menu too. We recommend ‘The Defector’ – creamy, refreshing, and it certainly packs a punch!
The Chandos, Trafalgar Square, is Friendly, Down To Earth, and Serves Great Beer The stained glass windows and quaint yellow wood exterior of this ‘spit and sawdust’ boozer just off Trafalgar Square give it a lovely old-world feel. There are two floors with cozy and intimate booths downstairs and soft couches upstairs. The Taddy Lager is a lovely beer that is not available in most pubs in the city. There is always a happy atmosphere in this place which attracts a good mix of tourists and locals. It’s especially busy early evenings when workers from nearby Covent Garden congregate in the bar to quench their thirst, munch pork scratchings, and play darts.
The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden Has a Long and Colorful History The Lamb and Flag has been a pub since the mid-17th Century. During the 18th Century, its neighborhood became London’s main red-light district, and the Lamb and Flag (known as The Coopers Arms back then) was a well-known haunt for prostitutes and people from the lower levels of society. It was a favorite venue for unlicensed bare-knuckle boxing. It hasn’t changed much in the intervening years, although today there are fewer prostitutes, and only the very odd outburst of bare-knuckle boxing.
Visit Charles Dickens’ Local Watering Hole, The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping There has been an inn on this site, on the north bank of the Thames, since 1520. The original inn was rebuilt in the 18th Century, and it became a regular drinking venue for many famous London writers, including Dickens, Samuel Johnson, and Samuel Pepys, as well as an assortment of smugglers, sailors, and pirates. It was known as a place to come to see cock fights and (you’re going to get the wrong idea about the city) bare-knuckle boxing. This old pub is quaint and lovely, with window boxes teeming with colorful flowers, a cozy interior, and a great beer menu.
The Nags Head, Belgravia is Part Bar, Part Curio Shop Situated on a peaceful side street in the heart of Belgravia, this old pub has a very eccentric feel. Mobile phones are banned, and the walls are crammed with bizarre curiosities including toys, arcade machines, posters, and military memorabilia. The main bar is unusually low (complete with funny little short bar stools!) and the beer pump handles are made of 150-year-old Chelsea pottery. The beer is great, the grub is tasty, and the atmosphere is electric.
So that is our list of some of the best pubs in London in which to drink like a local. So whether you are discussing the day’s political intrigues with an old BBC newsman in The Defectors Weld, quaffing a tasty Nut Brown Ale in The John Snow, or mingling with the theater folks in The French House, be sure to share your London pub experiences on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!