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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
Venue says: Join us to celebrate British Pie Week (2nd-8th March). Sample our specially designed flight of three pies with three matching ales - £14.50!
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.Read more
Venue says: During British Pie Week (2nd-8th March) pop in for one of our special pies! Choose from squirrel, venison or Suffolk rock dove pie.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
‘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.Read more
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.Read more
‘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.Read more
125 Church Street
Venue says: Perfect basement space with separate bar now available for free private hire!
As seen by the recent openings of the nearby Stokey Bears burger bar, Original Sin cocktail bar and Esters café, the N16 neighbourhood is slowly adopting some hipster cool. Further evidence: this new bar/café on the main Stoke Newington strip, open from coffee time through to craft beer time. It’s had the customary dressing down such places get these days. Like Paxman at the start of ‘University Challenge’ I can barely bring myself to go over the form yet again, but: filament bulbs, exposed lighting trays, bare brick walls. When you remember that almost every old building in London has bare brick walls somewhere inside it, the sight of them becomes a lot less exciting. However, a fair whack of money has clearly been spent on 125, because it’s all very smart and neat and stylish. Not least the hireable cellar space, or the very useful and sizeable garden out the back – one to remember when the weekly pram festival begins in Clissold Park come spring. To eat: grilled sandwiches, or ‘toasties’, as they were known in the days when bare brick walls meant the builder hadn’t finished yet. But they’re stuffed with inventive combinations, including fennel salami, Italian cheese and sundried tomatoes, or, last week, in honour of the Bard, haggis, cheddar and mustard. With posh crisps and own-made coleslaw they’re not a bad little snack. And to drink, mainly local craft beers, which is never something to be cynical about. I saw pints from Pressure Drop, Hackney Brewery and Five Poin