Pubs have traditionally been the focal point for Londoners to meet with friends and wind down after work.
The most popular drinks are draught beers, which means they are pulled straight from the barrel. There are two sizes of beer glass, a pint and a half-pint. Many pubs offer a good range of hot meals, sandwiches and salads at reasonable prices. Centrally located pubs are particularly busy on Friday evenings and weekends, when it can be difficult to find a seat if you arrive after 5pm.
Built in 1864, this pub has survived the Blitz and 1960s redevelopment. It includes many classic Victorian pub features: etched windows, mahogany bar and period clock. Good selection of bar meals and carvery – can get very busy at peak times.
52 Victoria Street, SW1 – Tel: 020-7222 5577 – Tube: St James Park
The Cittie of Yorke
This is one of London’s most historic pubs – a Grade II listed building. The main room, with its impressive trussed roof plays host to one of the longest bars in England. Huge barrels are displayed on the gallery above, each capable of holding 1000 gallons of wine. Small cubicles on either side of the room help to emphasise the Cittie’s old world charm, while in the main room, there’s another small bar and some cellar rooms.
22 High Holborn, WC1 – Tel: 020-7242 7670 – Tube: Holborn
The Lamb & Flag
This traditional pub, serving cask bitter, is one of the oldest in the West End and was first licensed in 1623. Delicious roasts are served upstairs at weekday lunchtimes.
33 Rose Street, WC2 – Tel: 020-7497 9504 – Tube: Leicester Square
This pub in exclusive Mayfair oozes character and charm, sitting happily with the exclusive shops on Audley Street. The dining room upstairs is also an excellent setting for a traditional style lunch.
41 Mount Street, W1 – Tel: 020-7499 1843 – Tube: Bond Street
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Historic pub on Fleet Street with an old world feel and charm. The front bar has hardly changed for hundreds of years, while the restaurant has a lovely open fireplace. In fact, you could easily imagine Dickens coming into the bar for a drink and not feeling at all out of place. Very pleasant!
145 Fleet Street, EC4 – Tel: 020-7353 6170 – Tube: Chancery Lane
Pleasant pub decorated with Winston Churchill memorabilia and various traditional English bric-a-brac. Good beer can be had on draught, while attached to the pub is a conservatory that’s home to a good Thai restaurant.
119 Kensington Church Street, W8 – Tel: 020-7727 4242 – Tube: Notting Hill
Originally a hotel, it was here that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote many of the famous Sherlock Holmes novels. Part of the pub has been kitted out as Holmes and Watson’s sitting room. Moreover, one of Doyle’s most famous works ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ actually sees Henry Baskerville meeting Sherlock Holmes in this pub! The facade of the Sherlock Holmes, which features window etchings of the famous detective, is particularly attractive.
10-11 Northumberland Street, WC2 – Tel: 020-7930 2644 – Tube: Embankment
Known by locals as the Welly, the pub used to be frequented almost solely by railway men. A nice spot which offers real ales and good grub. Near to the London Eye and South Bank.
81-83 Waterloo Road, SE1 – Tel: 020-7928 6083 – Tube: Waterloo
The Blind Beggar
Primarily known for its association with the Krays, who were major players in London gangland in the 1960s. It was in this pub that Ronnie Kray murdered a rival gangster with a bullet in the head. This association makes it a reasonably popular destination for tourists aware of the story. However, it is not a bad spot for a good drink either.
337 Whitechapel Road, E1 – Tel: 020-7247 6195 – Tube: Whitechapel
Historical pub on Bankside, right next to Southwark Bridge and a pleasant stop off point if you’ve just visited The Globe or Vinopolis. There’s a pleasant dining area and good sized beer garden next to the Thames.
234 Park Street, SE1 – Tel: 020-7407 1577 – Tube: London Bridge