Best pubs in east London

From gastropubs to capital boozers, Time Out recommends great pubs in east London

Fancy a pint? Glass of wine? Gin and tonic? Of course you do, and living in London you're not short of places to find them. If you're looking for a great pub in east London check out our critics' picks.

Looking for pubs elsewhere? Check out our guide to the best pubs in central, north, south and west London. 

Pubs in east London


When it closed in 2001, it was fair to assume this small but personable pub behind Bethnal Green library was destined for conversion into ‘residential units’. But following a petition from locals it was saved, and today is still serving its community in a perfectly down-to-earth manner. There are a few real ales, and food is exotically filled pies with mash.

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Tower Hamlets

Carpenter's Arms

Once bought by gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray for their old mum, but now home to Brick Lane hipsters. This traditional corner house has mashed up East End old and new to create a pub with character, where punters are as likely to be blogging as blagging.

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Brick Lane


The best pub in Broadway Market and thankfully one largely untouched by the horrors of ‘gentrification’ in this trendiest of streets, the Dove serves quality beers (mainly Belgian) in a couple of personably lived-in, wood-panelled rooms.

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London Fields

King Edward VII

Appropriately named after the twentieth century’s most bibulous monarch, the delightful double-fronted greeny grey exterior suggest something good inside and you’d be wise to take the hint. This is Stratford’s favourite pub – a cosy refuge from the enormous Westfield shopping centre nearby, with an ornately tiled interior and well-kept ales, including the house’s Eddie’s Best, made by Nethergate.

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The Old Blue Last

Venue says: Cheap drinks every day before 6.30pm.

This shabby, two-floored Victorian boozer was transformed in 2004 by hipster handbook Vice into… well, a shabby, two-floored Victorian boozer with a large PA. It's received a little more attention of late: early 2010 saw a refurbishment that covered everything from the sound-systems to the frankly notorious toilets. But at heart, it's still the same old Shoreditch shambles that it was before the builders moved in.

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Old Street

Palm Tree

The isolated canalside setting can make it tricky to find: no bad thing if you want to keep schtumm about the sing-songs that make this a beacon of old-school entertainment. Relish fastidious East End eccentricity in the shape of the London Fives dartboard, shiny wallpaper and the hanging bunch of hops.

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Mile End

Pride of Spitalfields

Turn off Brick Lane and travel back in time. Everything about the Pride sticks two fingers up to progress, from the corner piano beckoning you over for a knees-up, to the carpeted floors, or the ‘with chips’ hot dishes. Staff are warm and sincere: the only frosty reception you’ll get is from the cat. But cats are like that.

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Brick Lane

Prospect of Whitby

If it was in New York, this riverine alehouse would be a national monument – ‘First built in 1520!’ In London it is simply a very good place for getting tiddly over some pub grub, albeit one that offers the sobering sight of a noose marking a former place of public execution. There are great views of the Thames, but none, despite the name, of the Yorkshire coast.

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Tower Hamlets

Spurstowe Arms

Venue says: We now take reservations for dinner - Monday to Thursday evenings. Book with us at

If any London Fashion Week collections turn up late, you can probably blame the Spurstowe. On a Sunday it's easy to spot London's leading fashion lights sipping a beer in the garden – and the staff are on first-name terms with Jonathan Saunders's dog. It's harder to make out any faces at all on a Friday night, when every E8er aged 20-40 seems to be crammed into the bar.

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