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London's best gastropubs

Discover pubs in London with something special on the menu

Time Out’s critics have anonymously eaten at and reviewed scores of the finest pubs serving good food all over London. Here we pick the best of the best – and our list of gastropubs is regularly updated. Do you agree with our choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

Anchor & Hope

Once there was just St John, then former St John chefs started to create their own restaurants using the same template – head-to-tail ingredients in simple but artful combinations, served up in a relaxed setting. The Anchor & Hope, which opened more than a decade ago, is still showing how it’s done. 

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Southbank

Hibiscus

Critics' choice

Chef Claude Bosi opened a gastropub in Fulham in 2012 to go with his other one in Wimbledon, but he clearly hasn’t taken his eye off this flagship restaurant. There’s no à la carte (unless you really want it), so choose three, six or eight courses – and marvel, as the extraordinarily composed dishes arrive on your table with military timing.

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Mayfair

The Gun

Critics' choice

Venue says: Learn to fear the beach again at The Gun with a screening of 'Jaws' in our marquee on August 28 at 7pm. Tickets and popcorn are £14.

Typical of the ETM chain, the Gun is an attractively spruced-up pub, with attentive staff and stiff prices. The focus is on making both diners and drinkers feel at home. The restaurant menu is available throughout – not just in the smartly dressed dining space – and there’s a standalone bar menu too. The handsome bar counter is lined with real ales (Adnams bitter is a regular, and there’s always a guest ale), but also offers cocktails and a global wine list.

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Docklands

Jugged Hare

Venue says: Bask in the glory of the grouse this August 12. Enjoy a 'Grouse and Rhone Valley Wine' gourmet dinner for £85pp at The Jugged Hare!

After years of very thin pickings, the Barbican has recently acquired not one but two classy gastropubs. This, and the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms (opened in 2011) are both part of Ed and Tom Martin’s ten-strong empire. The Jugged Hare was once called the King’s Head; it’s been handsomely remodelled, with a lovely oak floor, red leather seating and more than a scattering of stuffed and mounted animals.

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Barbican

Lady Ottoline

Note: As of October 2014, The Lady Ottoline has been taken over by the Truffle Hunting restaurant group, which also owns Newman Street Tavern, The Princess Victoria and The Henry Root. The Time Out Eating and Drinking Team   This upmarket gastropub is part of the small Noble Inns stable that includes the Princess of Shoreditch and the Pig & Butcher in Islington.

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Holborn

Old Red Cow

The old red cow herself, if she wasn’t apocryphal, probably didn’t have a pleasant visit to this pub’s manor – Long Lane was an ancient cattle route to Smithfield meat market. You can see the cupolas, domes and reliefs of London’s temple of butchery through the front windows of this refurbed Victorian site, which no longer uses its antique ‘Ye Olde’ prefix and has turned its focus to serving very good beer. 

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Smithfield

Bull & Last

Critics' choice

For a place with such a good reputation for its food, the Bull & Last is refreshingly pubby: heavy wooden furniture, velvet drapes, stuffed animals and old prints decorate both the bar and the upstairs dining room. The latter is a calmer and cooler place to eat than the ground-floor bar, and allows diners to focus on dishes such as king scallop carpaccio with pink grapefruit, crème fraîche, coriander and vinaigrette or pig’s cheek with watermelon pickle, basil and sesame – both fabulous ways to start a meal.

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Central London

Horseshoe

‘Home of the Camden Town Brewery’ reads the menu. But yes, this is the heart of Hampstead – presumably Jasper Cuppaidge, the thirtysomething Australian who runs both this cheery pub and the brewery (which has moved from the pub’s basement to close-but-no-cigar Kentish Town), thought naming a beer label after one of London’s poshest neighbourhoods might alienate more drinkers than it would attract.

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Hampstead

Princess of Shoreditch

Neil Rankin has now joined the Princess of Shoreditch and the menu has since changed. The review below refers to the previous menu. - The Food and Drink Editors, July 2014 Up the spiral staircase from the bustling downstairs bar, the dining room at this 250-year-old corner premises is a good-looking, cosy space. A dozen linen-clothed tables – candlelit at night – are served by a small team of young, efficient staff.

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Old Street

Norfolk Arms

‘This is the most exciting opening in the vicinity in recent times.’ You wouldn’t know it as no date is given, but the Time Out quote adorning the front page of the Norfolk Arms website celebrated its seventh birthday in 2013. From E1 to W1, London is full of bars and restaurants that have been coasting for ages on the back of a good review received years earlier. Happily, the Norfolk Arms isn’t one of them; although 2006 no longer qualifies as ‘recent times’, this smaller-than-it-looks corner pub retains its place among the best in the area.

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Bloomsbury
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