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Southampton Arms

Critics' choice
Southampton Arms © Ed Marshall

‘Ale, cider, meat’ reads the sign on the outside wall, resembling a film set for a wartime drama; inside, it could be 1943 at this quite wonderful independent taproom for all you know. It’s usually every two or three days that the bar welcomes a new obscure ale from a small British brewery, but a busy Saturday might see casks from small independent breweries such as Marble, Thornbridge and Dark Star run out in ‘a couple of hours’, according to the barman.

Three barrels of cider also await (Borough Hill making regular appearances), alongside a huge hunk of pork. As the venue’s seemingly reluctant website says, ‘Seven real ales, eight real ciders, hot meat in baps, that’s it’; a roast pork bap is £3.90, ‘real money only’. Throw in a stinky coal fire, period portraiture and a small square of brick-floor back garden, and the experience is complete.

Note that it's cash only.

Venue name: Southampton Arms
Address: 139 Highgate Road
Opening hours: Open/snacks served noon-midnight daily
Transport: Gospel Oak rail

Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

this is the best pub I've been to in London, and definitely the best in NW5. on wednesdays there's a couple of grandpas that play jazz, since we discovered them we go there every single wednesday to hear them play.


Beer and Cider top noch! + amazing atmosphere and beer garden.

Finton Stack

An absolutely cracking little pub, possibly my joint favourite (with The Harp at Charing Cross) in London. A fantastic range of real ales, ciders and new-wave keg beers, all at very reasonable prices (this must be one of the last bastions of the sub-£3 pint), top-notch snacks (pork pies, roast pork rolls) and great decor and atmosphere. The only down sides are that since it's fairly small it can get very, very bust, and it's a 45 minute train-ride from my house.


Love this place. If you live in London and you love beer (or cider), you should drink here at least once.


One of London's best. Has to be. Only downside is how busy it can get but it deserves its business so what can you do? Just get in and have a pint!


Found on here when visiting from the states and in search of a good beer. While not to many pubs in London, this was by far the best. Amazing selection, great atmosphere and friendly staff. No nonsense and no frills. Just a great boozer and great beers. If I lived in London I'd be back weekly! Wish I had found sooner in my visit.


Was very, very crowded the (week)night I went in, so you might struggle for space here. The beers are good though - although I was a little disappointed that given there are now good craft lagers coming in to London maybe these chaps could expand their "real ales/ciders only" to include a couple of quality lagers?


Great pub, really good pork baps. As good as visiting a beer fest.