Notting Hill bars and pubs

Read Time Out London's guide to the best pubs and bars in Notting Hill

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© Tricia de Courcy Ling

With some of the poshest and poorest communities in London, Notting Hill is a melting pot, and this diversity gives it atmosphere all its own. Venues as diverse as Notting Hill Arts Club, with its international music acts, and laid-back pub Castle can sit within a mile of each other. Read our guide to the best bars and pubs in Notting Hill to find the perfect place for a night out.

Portobello Star

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Gentrification has sunk its claws into this once-scruffy boozer, for years one of the holdouts along the Portobello Road. It’s a handsome space, more appealing than it seems at first glance, but the real draws are the likeable bartenders’ powerful, convincing renditions of cocktails both traditional and modern.

  1. 171 Portobello Road, W11 2DY
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Trailer Happiness

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Remaining laudably tongue-in-cheek while the rest of Ladbroke Grove drowns in chichi spots, Trailer Happiness is not a cocktail bar as such – with its deliberately tacky decor (Tretchikoff paintings galore) and DJ hatch, it’s far too informal for that. However, the drinks here are taken seriously, with many of them made to vintage American recipes.

  1. 177 Portobello Road, W11 2DY
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Rum Kitchen

  • Rated as: 3/5

With its artfully sun-faded painted wooden slats cladding the walls, and corrugated iron over the bar, Rum Kitchen’s decor is designed to invoke visions of liming on the beach. It succeeds nicely, making a welcome change from the downmarket café aesthetic that characterises so many Caribbean venues in London.

  1. 6-8 All Saints Road, W11 1HH
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First Floor

  • Rated as: 3/5

A certain kind of west London bohemian generally lands here, the moneyed professional rather than the cadging layabout. The tone of this cosmopolitan drinkerie and eaterie is set by the entrance: a revolving door, which gives the place the feel of an international hotel lobby.

  1. 186 Portobello Road, W11 1LA
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Lonsdale

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

It’s been a fair few years since Dick Bradsell was behind the counter here, but his legacy lives on in the shape of the fine modern cocktails: the Rose Petal martini (Bombay Sapphire with Lanique rose liqueur, lychee juice and Peychaud bitters), for example, or the Elderflower Fizz (elderflower cordial, lemon juice, champagne).

  1. 48 Lonsdale Road, W11 2DE
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Castle

  • Rated as: 3/5

Whatever the price and quality of the gastropub fare (pork belly and mash for a tenner, roasted root risotto at £7.50), this is a proper Portobello local. The majority of the jolly, bohemian-minded punters hanging around the pleasingly sparse, open-plan interior – probably at the bar – seem cheerfully merry whatever the time of day.

  1. 225 Portobello Road, W11 1LU
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Notting Hill Arts Club

Dedicated to polymorphic pleasures of very much an arts-based kind, this scruffily chic basement centre is home to – among other regular events like RoTa and Radio Gagarin – YoYo, which is still rammed every Thursday after almost a decade of programming hip hop, garage/grime, dubstep and bassline-heavy acts.

  1. 21 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JQ
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Ladbroke Arms

  • Rated as: 3/5

The prominent, self-standing pub sign on the front terrace proudly declares ‘Free House’, and sure enough, the Ladbroke Arms is a law unto itself. Happy to cater both to moneyed fortysomethings sinking sancerre on the sunny front terrace, and to ale aficionados after a pint of Sharp’s Doom Bar or Twickenham Spring Ale, the Ladbroke stands on a quiet, residential street in Holland Park.

  1. 54 Ladbroke Road, W11 3NW
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Hillgate

  • Rated as: 3/5

Previously renowned as a genuine local that belied its salubrious surroundings, this corner pub is under new ownership. It’s had a serious spruce-up, and now, perhaps, feels more at home on its road of pastel-coloured cottages and Victorian townhouses.

  1. 24 Hillgate Street, W8 7SR
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Craft beer in west London

Brewdog

The characterful Aberdeenshire brewery brings its love of craft beer – there are 40 choices on tap, plus more in bottles – to this site just off Shepherd's Bush Green. There are also branches in Camden and Shoreditch.

  1. 15-19 Goldhawk Rd, W12 8QQ
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White Horse

  • Critics choice

You'd be hard pushed to find a pub that treats beer with more reverence than the White Horse in Parsons Green. Numerous Camra awards recognise its dedication to real ale, but craft brews also are taken very seriously.

  1. 1-3 Parsons Green, SW6 4UL
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