Best Pubs in London

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Silver beer pump and man pulling a pint of beer in a pub
Amie Johnson, Unsplashed

The pub is a reassuring feature on the London High Street. They’ve changed over the decades but there’s nothing quite like the familiarity of strolling to pub on the corner, ordering a pint (or your favourite tipple) having some friendly banter at the bar, and finding a nice quiet stool to soak up the comings and goings. It’s hard to pick the best pubs from across London because there’s so many. Here’s’s pick of the best:

North London

The Flask

Lots of people sitting outside the Flask pub, Highgate, London, on wooden tables and chairs in the sunshine
The Flask

77 Highgate West Hill, Highgate, London, N6 6BU

The Flask is a well-known ‘North London institution’. Dating back to 1663, it sits unobtrusively at the back of Highgate’s main street and gets its name from the flasks, people used to collect water in, from the springs across Hampstead and Highgate.

It’s had, and still has, its fair share of well-known people adorning its tables with Byron, Shelley and Keats all reputed to be regular visitors during its lifetime.

It’s a cosy, family (and dog) friendly pub today with a fire. It offers a broad pub menu featuring refined pub classics crafted from fresh, seasonal ingredients including:  Salt-baked beetroot tartare, Brazilian mixed seafood stew, and the usual pub favourites – sausage and mash, fish and chips and a varied Sunday roast line-up.

Hawley Arms Camden

Green and yellow Camden Lock pained sign on a railway bridge over Camden High Street
Stephen Kidd, Unsplashed

2 Castlehaven Road, Camden, London  NW1 8QU

The Hawley Arms is infamous for one musician, Amy Winehouse who once lived a stone’s throw from this Camden pub.  It’s been in the same private ownership since 2004 who created a second floor which has been home to many amazing gigs – both known and just starting out.  

They are a self-proclaimed boozer at heart, but they have a good selection of pub snacks plus fish and chips, burgers, a curry and British desserts to keep you going all night.  There’s also a Sunday roast menu.

For music enquiries, email here

Holly Bush Hampstead

Inside the Holly Bush pub, Hampstead London. A large wooden bar with lots of round wooden tables and chairs
Holly Bush

The Holly Bush, 22 Hollymount, Hampstead, London, NW3 6SG

The Holly Bush is a real gem of a London local tucked away on one of Hampstead’s winding streets.  Step inside the grade II listed building and you’ll discover a wealth of cosy corners.

Its menu features refined pub classics crafted from fresh, seasonal ingredients including: beer battered haddock, sirloin on the bone and a good selection of veggie dishes like Roasted cauliflower pave and roasted Jerusalem artichoke with spiced lentils and spiced prunes.   

There’s also a good selection of sharing platters and, of course Sunday roasts.

And if you fancy a bit of decadence, why not snack on some Exmoor Caviar at £75 per pot.  Well, it is Hampstead, darling!

Old Queens Head, Islington

Inside the Queens Head pub, Islington. Green tiled back wall with tiled turquise bar, Victorian engraving and lighting
Queens Head

44 Essex Rd, London N1 8LN

The Old Queen’s Head is a well adorned establishment on the Essex Road.  It’s lavishly decorated in a Victorian interiors kinda style. Think original features - wooden floor, wooden tables, turquoise tiled bar, carved plaster ceiling and green wallpaper. 

An imposing 17th century fireplace now looms over a lively crowd for comedy nights and live music.  It’s probably not one for a sedate first date but it’s sure to brighten up a dark winter’s night.

Book a table here

The Queens

The Queens pub roof terrace with square wooden tables and chairs overlooking Primrose Hill high street in the sunshine.
The Queens

49 Regents Park Road, Primrose Hill, London, NW1 8XD

A beautiful and popular pub in the heart of Primrose Hill that’s perfect after a stroll in the park.  Their head chef, Hannah, prepares great twists on British dishes across the seasons, including The Prince Regent’s chicken and tarragon Pie, a selection of large sharing platters and Sunday roasts using the finest cuts of meat and goose fat roasties. Yum! 

There’s an extensive drinks list including craft beers, classic cocktails, premium spirits and an enviable wine list to go while away a cold winter’s night.

Book a table here

South London

Kings Arms, Waterloo

Inside the Kings Arms pub. Whitwashed walls, vaulted ceiling and lots of people sitting at wooden tables. Blackboard with beer names on it.
The Kings Arms

​25, Roupell Street, SE1 8TB

The Kings Arms is an award-winning quintessential ale pub located in the back streets of Waterloo, London.  It’s as traditional as pubs get with lots of nooks and crannies, a fire, dark wood furniture, and an awesome quiz night every Sunday.   

They’re really into their pale real ales and have 8 pumps on offer with a constantly evolving beer list and do their best to source from local breweries. 

The popular kitchen serves up authentic Thai food created lovingly from the landlord’s wife- Lailar who’s originally from Chang Mai.  Food is served daily until 9.30pm.

Book a table here

The Royal Oak, Southwark

Outside the Royal Oak facing large white framed windows and 2 people sitting at a table drinking pints in the summertime
Royal Oak

44 Tabard St, London SE1 4JU

The Royal Oak is a Victorian pub set in the heart of Borough and drum roll….won Southeast pub of the year in 2023! It’s a charming local boozer where you go and meet friends for a chinwag and a pint after work. They serve well-kept Harvey’s beers – cask and keg and their food menu offers an eclectic mix of classic dishes using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients including the usual burgers, fish and chips and steak.  It also featured in The Guardian's list of 'Top 30 UK pubs for a Sunday lunch'!

West London

Drayton Arms, Kensington

Outside the Drayton Arms, Victorian architecture and black and white pub sign
Drayton Arms

153 Old Brompton Road, London, SW5 0LJ

Standing proud and stately on Old Brompton Road, The Drayton Arms is a lovingly restored iconic London pub in West London.  Think big sofas, big fire, and a solid menu which serves up big Sunday roasts.

They also deliver wonderful seasonal dishes including wild boar, pork & ale sausages, plant-based burgers, a rack of lamb and, of course, a cheesy burger.  There’s lazy brunches and a tempting Small Plates menu to choose from. 

There’s also an exceptional range of cask ales, craft beers, fine wines and artisan spirits to wash it down with.

Book at table here

Bricklayers Arms, Putney

32 Waterman St, London SW15 1DD

The Bricklayers Arms is tucked away in a quiet side street, not far from the river Thames and has a story to tell. Dating back to 1826, this cosy, family-owned establishment re-opened as a pub nearly 20 years ago by a local hero whose purchase saved it from redevelopment.

For a time, it was the only pub in London to serve the full range of Timothy Taylor beers, with several locally brewed ales from Twickenham. Today, it serves 2 regular Timothy Taylor beers and 8 changing beers from Surrey Hills, Wimbledon and Five Points.

The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea

Game pie with crusty lattice pasty
Priscilla Du Preez

298 King's Road Chelsea SW3 5UG

As you’d expect from its location, the Cadogan Arms is a shining example of what pubs would have looked like when they first opened a couple of hundred years ago. This much loved Chelsea institution, was restored to its former glory after an ambitious renovation.

There are no sticky carpets in this pub!  The pub's food offer focuses on provenance, seasonality and traceability.  Pub classics include: ham, egg and chips,  game pie and a luxury Ploughman’s.  

It celebrates the very best of British produce alongside carefully selected wines, bespoke beers, and classic cocktails.

Book a table here

East London

Chesham Arms, Homerton

15 Mehetabel Road, E9 6DU

The Chesham Arms is as cosy as they get. 

Tucked away in a side street off Hackney High street with exposed brick work, heavy wooden furniture, 2 fireplaces and rotational beers on draught and cask, this pub places community at its heart. 

It doesn’t take bookings (so it always has tables for its locals) and doesn’t have a kitchen; but you can order pizza for delivery with the amazing Yard Sale Pizza. It also boasts a large beer garden for those long summer nights and is dog friendly all year round.

Prospect of Whitby, Wapping

Steak burger with sauce and chips
Yoad Shejtman, Unsplashed

57 Wapping Wall, London E1W 3SH

The Prospect of Whitby is a famous old pub based on the River Thames in Wapping.  

Built in 1520, it’s the oldest riverside tavern in London. It’s steeped in history and all sorts of people from sailors, smugglers and cut throats to British movie stars and politicians have tread over its original 400-year-old stone floor.

It serves up a large classic pub food menu daily and has a packed events schedule to keep you entertained, including their Hilarious Comedy Club every month which is free.

We highly recommend booking a table as the pub isn’t big and can get busy especially during the summer months.

Book a table here

The People’s Park Tavern

The People's Tavern back garden with lots of people on the grass in the sunshine
The People's Tavern

360 Victoria Park Rd, London E9 7BT

The People’s Tavern as the name suggests claims to be ‘for the people, inspired by the people’. 

Located on the edge of Victoria Park, It’s a favourite amongst the local Hackney community and people travel far and wide to try the iconic Sunday dinner. It also boasts one of the largest beer gardens in London which has a BBQ kitchen and cocktail bar to keep you soaking up the sunshine all day long. 

The People’s Tavern serves up a fresh menu daily using seasonal produce from local suppliers. Favourites include The People’s Burger with rosemary salt fries, spicy mussels marinara with toasted brioche and steak frites. 

It’s open 7 days a week from midday till midnight (and until 2AM Friday and Saturday).

Book a table here

Central London

The Audley Public House

Image via mayfairldn

41-43 Mount Street, Mayfair W1K 2RX

The Audley Public House is a statuesque looking pub on the corner of South Audley Street and Mount Street in Mayfair. 

Built in 1888, the elegant Victorian building has been carefully restored and is a favourite neighbourhood pub with its locals who drop in for one of its draught beers and ciders.  

The bar serves beer from independent supplier Sambrook’s Brewery in Battersea – one of the oldest brewers in London, alongside other favourites such as London Pride and draught Guinness. It has a small menu of classic bar snacks, including oysters, and serves up a traditional roast on Sundays.

Neman Arms Fitz

Whisky sour being poured into a glass on a bar
Adam Jaime

23 Rathbone St, London W1T 1NG

Dating back to 1730, The Newman Arms is a gem of a pub in the heart of Fitzrovia.  It has been frequented regularly by a number of famous characters over the years, including George Orwell and Dylan Thomas.  

They serve over 10 draft beers on keg and cask, including a selection of Big Penny’s core beers, plus a curated list of guest beers from some of the best breweries in the UK and beyond.  There’s a traditional cocktail menu mixing up Whisky Sours, Cosmos and Long Island Ice Tea classics between 4-8pm daily.

They currently aren’t serving food while they work on a new menu but generously invite you to take in your takeaways!

The Grazing Goat, Marylebone

Inside the Grazing Goat pub. Long wooden table with lots of chairs, laid out for lunch

6 New Quebec St, Marylebone, London, W1H 7RQ

This is a cool and cosy pub and hotel in well-healed Marylebone.  Think stripped-back wooden tables, large windows and an outside canopy for those long summer evenings. 

There’s a buzzy atmosphere but always space to sip on a glass of something in a quiet corner and watch the world go by or crack the back on a new book. 

The menu has the usual pub food favourites, but wonderfully decadent additions such as: Shetland Mussels, Guinness & Montgomery Sauce, dry Aged Beef Tartare and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup.

Book a table here