The pub is a favorite pastime for Londoners. Many of the city’s pubs have been standing for centuries, and are still serving up traditional British fare, including the famous Sunday roast—and an array of drinks to a bar full of loyal patrons. Every pub offers something a little different, catering to a slightly different demographic, but there’s something for every kind of patron in London.
From all-vegan pubs to those with Irish or French themes, here are the 10 best pubs in London for locals and tourists alike. Check them out and add them to your next itinerary!
10 The Harp
The Harp is one of the best pubs in London, according to the London Evening Standard. This is a good place to mix with locals and tourists, as actors and workers from the West End tend to spend a lot of time here, as do business people and laborers.
Located close to Trafalgar Square, the Harp is sometimes hard to get a seat at and is nearly always full to capacity with patrons enjoying the extensive selection of beer. This is a good one to visit in summer and winter, since it has a cozy seating area upstairs, and opens its stained-glass windows when the weather is warm.
9 Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Ye Old Cheshire Cheese is one of London’s most famous and historic pubs. It was rebuilt in 1667, following the Great Fire, and boasts a menu of affordable drinks. There’s plenty of seating available here, so it’s great to add to your itinerary if you’re in a large group.
Although it’s well-known throughout London, this pub is easy to miss as you walk past it down a narrow side street. There’s definitely something secretive about it, and the unique décor will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time.
8 The Southampton Arms
If you like craft beer, The Southampton Arms is where you should go. The bar features no less than 20 varieties of craft beer, while the wine list is a little humbler with only two varieties. The beers available mostly come from the smaller and less-known breweries in London.
The best part about this pub for animal-lovers is that there’s a dog-friendly policy. All pooches welcome! There’s a relaxed and friendly vibe here, thanks to the cash-only policy, the cozy fireplace, and the celebration of local breweries. Definitely, one to check out!
7 The Sekforde
Once the Sekforde Arms, this pub has refurbished and now attracts a bustling crowd. The London Evening Standard reports that it’s one of the best pubs in London in terms of friendly and knowledgeable staff, interior design, and menu. Their Sunday roast is not to be missed!
Downstairs at the Sekforde, there’s a large event space that hosts everything from comedy to musical performances. The pub is located in Clerkenwell, a trendy area of Central London that’s not too far from landmarks like Big Ben and the British Museum.
6 The Guinea Grill
The Guinea Grill serves an impressive range of drinks, including house-aged cocktails and Guinness. Next door to the pub is the Grill, a steak restaurant that has attracted stars from every corner of the world. Among the famous faces who have been spotted at the Grill are Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton, Kylie Minogue, Michael Douglas, and Ava Gardner.
Though this is one of the more expensive establishments on the list, it’s worth it for the world-class steak and phenomenal wine list. The Guinea Grill is located in Mayfair, a leafy suburb close to Buckingham Palace.
5 The Auld Shillelagh
The Auld Shillelagh is a must if you want a fun and festive atmosphere in addition to the drinks. Authentically Irish, the pub boasts bar staff that is friendly and welcoming. Most weeks, you’ll find live music often playing traditional Irish songs. The atmosphere becomes even more vibrant when a game of rugby is on.
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This is the place to visit for a great time and even better Guinness. And if you happen to be in London around St. Paddy’s Day, there’s no better place to celebrate!
4 The Churchill Arms
The Churchill Arms wins points for being one of the prettiest pubs to look at in London. You’ll definitely want to snap a few photos of the iconic entrance that’s swaddled in flowers. Inside, the pub is full of antiques including old tin clocks and sailors’ lamps, adding to the eccentric feel. This is one of the coziest pubs to spend the afternoon in winter, thanks to the warm fireplace.
Interestingly, the pub isn’t named for Prime Minister Winston Churchill, but instead for his grandparents who used to visit often.
3 The French House
While in Soho, head to the French for a unique pub experience. Unlike the majority of other pubs in London, this one has no TV, no music, and only serves beer in half pints. They also only serve food on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings. But the French has enjoyed quite an interesting history.
During the Second World War, Charles de Gaulle commandeered the pub as his office. Francis Bacon was said to be a huge fan, and it’s also the first place that super chef Fergus Henderson was established.
2 The Dove
When it comes to pubs by the water, The Dove is one of the best. Located in Hammersmith, this pub offers patrons spectacular views of the River Thames. During the summer, most visitors spend their time in the outdoor area, admiring the view. And in the winter, the pub provides a snug setting with an open fire you won’t be able to leave.
It may be hard to secure a seat at this popular establishment, particularly on a cold winter’s night. But it’s worth arriving early and grabbing a spot by the fire!
1 The Coach & Horses
One of the most legendary pubs in London, The Coach & Horses still draws in loyal patrons who have been frequenting its bar for decades and have no intention of slowing down. Tuesday and Saturday nights stand out thanks to the piano and the way the crowd sings loudly along with it.
Today, the Coach serves vegan and vegetarian comfort food, which has added plenty of new patrons to the mix. You can find this friendly joint on Greek Street in Soho. It’s definitely one to add to the bucket list!