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The 100 best bars and pubs in London: the best pubs in London by area

Here's our guide to the best boozers London has to offer, with the capital's best pubs divided up by area

© Kim Lightbody

London pubs come in all shapes and sizes, from experts in real ale and craft beer, to cider devotees and scruffy locals with charm by the barrel-load.

Below is our guide to London’s very best pubs – places where well-kept booze, warm welcomes and tasty pub snacks are guaranteed. Browse well, lace up your sturdiest drinking boots and we’ll see you at the bar.

RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London

The best pubs in central London

Ape & Bird

What is it... Stripped-down drinking den with a wealth of Italian liqueur.

Why go... For something a little classier than a Sam Smith's sauv blanc.

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Covent Garden

Bradley's Spanish Bar

What is it... A cosy and unassuming little boozer that's as 'pub' as it gets.

Why go... For a glass of Spanish wine - more Bamboléo for your buck.

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Oxford Street

Coach & Horses

What is it... Long-standing, old-school Soho spot.

Why go... For a throwback singalong around the piano.

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Cross Keys

What is it... Dim, beery and blokey West End boozer.

Why go... Enjoy a sunny pint amid the flowers out front.

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Covent Garden

French House

What is it... Atmospheric London landmark that's a part of Soho history.

Why go... For a rowdy, boozy night, if you can squeeze in.

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What is it... Award-winning boozer that’s all about the ales.

Why go... Prices are blissfully low, making it a rare find in Covent Garden.

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Covent Garden

Jerusalem Tavern

What is it... Ancient-looking brewery-owned boozer.

Why go... It's cosy, especially when you bag a seat by the fire.

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Princess Louise

What is it... Buzzy pub with gorgeous original decor.

Why go... Have after-work drinks in frosted-glass booths.

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The Lyric

What is it...Reliable Victorian pub filled with clued-up drinkers.

Why go... Escape tourist hell in this comforting temple to beer.

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Queen's Head

What is it... A petite backstreet joint.

Why go... For laid-back sessions or for jazz nights on Thursday.

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St Pancras

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

What is it... Venerable Fleet Street landmark that's stood the test of time.

Why go... To imagine Charles Dickens in the corner by candlelight.

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The best pubs in north London

Craft Beer Company

What is it... A comfortable pub from the esteemed beer bods.

Why go... There are dozens of taps to explore.

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Earl of Essex

What is it... A lovely local with a beery vibe.

Why go... It's beer-focused but welcoming to all.

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Faltering Fullback

What is it... Lively pub full of sports fans.

Why go... For fun times in north London’s best beer garden.

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Finsbury Park

Hemingford Arms

What is it... Character-filled spot for all walks of life.

Why go... There’s plenty to soak up beyond patter from locals.

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What is it... Joyously unmodernised K-Town watering hole.

Why go... For a constantly lively scene.

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Kentish Town

The Prince

What is it... A Stokey local that anyone would love to live beside.

Why go... It’s busy most nights so soak it all up.

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Stoke Newington

Railway Tavern

What is it... A wonderful pub that makes everyone feel at home.

Why go... For London brews and top Thai food.

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Stoke Newington

The Salisbury

What is it... A glamorous ex-hotel turned vast public house.

Why go... If you're craving a quiet pint.

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Southampton Arms

What is it... Ale, cider and meat house - the sign says so outside.

Why go... For laid-back, lively weekend sessions.

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Dartmouth Park

Wenlock Arms

What is it... A much-treasured asset for the locals who saved it.

Why go... To remind yourself the London pub is one of our best institutions. 

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The best pubs in east London

The Archers

What is it... A refurbed pub that stays true to its East End roots.

Why go... For traditional booze and food in a tastefully turned-out room.

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The Bell

What is it... Walthamstow’s busiest boozer.

Why go... Try an alternative Saturday night out in far east London.

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Carpenter's Arms

What is it... A classic Spitalfields pub once run by the Krays.

Why go... For cracking beers away from the clamour of Brick Lane.

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Bethnal Green

Chesham Arms

What is it... Backstreet boozer saved by the Hackney community.

Why go... For a slice of some local pride.

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What is it... A poshed-up kind of place that offers it all.

Why go... For after-work drinks with stand-out snacks.

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What is it... A temple to Belgian beer.

Why go... To soak up the buzzing beer-hall vibe on Saturdays.

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South Hackney

King's Arms

What is it... A Bethnal Green pub lit like a Brooklyn dive bar.

Why go... Rub shoulders with all shades of local life.

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Bethnal Green

Palm Tree

What is it... A no-frills East End joint.

Why go... Join in with a true Cockney knees-up.

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Mile End

People's Park Tavern

What is it... A favoured pit stop for Victoria Park amblers and locals.

Why go... There's never a quiet moment here.

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South Hackney

The best pubs in south London

Balham Bowls Club

What is it... Granny chic neighbourhood hangout.

Why go... For an entertaining tipple round one of the dinky tables.

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Crown & Anchor

What is it... One long, lively room packed with beer-loving locals.

Why go... Explore a bar full of beers and ciders from all around the UK.

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Four Thieves

What is it... Microbrewery with plenty of in-house entertainment.

Why go... Play on the retro games or pile into the covered beer garden.

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Clapham Junction

Hare & Billet

What is it... Heathside craft beer haven.

Why go... Carry your pint out onto the bucolic Heath and enjoy.

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The Mayflower

What is it... Really really old inn.

Why go... Of all the riverside pubs, this one is the most special.

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Priory Arms

What is it... An out-of-the-way old man pub that’s young at heart.

Why go... To settle in for a long afternoon session.

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South Lambeth

Royal Oak

What is it... Charming Victorian corner pub.

Why go... To witness that there is still such a thing as the perfect pub.

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The Borough


What is it... Welcoming beer bar with no frills or pretension.

Why go... The focus is firmly on the booze.

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The best pubs in west London


What is it... Boisterous outpost for the Aberdeenshire-based brewery.

Why go... To sup on carefully crafted beers.

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Shepherd's Bush

Bricklayer's Arms

What is it... Camra favourite serving down-to-earth pints.

Why go... To witness a ‘proper pub’ with a beer garden to boot.

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City Barge

What is it... A relaxed and refined riparian inn.

Why go... For a picnic bench tipple out front in the summer months.

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What is it... A classic duck-your-head heritage experience.

Why go... If you like a bit of history with your pint.

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Ravenscourt Park

White Horse

What is it... Well-bred boozer with a strong line in beer.

Why go... It's ideal for families and groups of friends year-round.

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Parsons Green


David F
David F

Great list. One of my favourites is still the White Horse in Soho, more for sentimentality than actual classiness, it had more of a used rustic feel. 

There are loads of pubs in London but I find just a few really stand out. Hard to find lately when I go in to town for the odd night. Craft Beer Pubs seem to be the more interesting route these days, veering away from the regular brewery owned pubs. I've found a couple but there are London Craft Beer tours you can go on that will introduce you two a few good ones and with a nice crowd, save you wandering lost in the city looking for the good places:  http://www.alternativeldn.com/london_craft_beer/london_pub_tours.php

Ian D
Ian D

Its more of a 'few pubs ive been too and liked' than an in depth no stone left unturned best boozer in london piece, some shockingly Tripadvisorish ones on here, along with couple of no-brainers (Prospect/catandmutton) and why push overpriced garage brewed local beers all the time,. they taste like beard juice. 

Allison W
Allison W

The North Star  Browning Road Leytonstone should be on your list Thai Menu & Muga Pizza cooked while you wait .A place for everyone to enjoy . Quiz on a Sunday Night .

Andrew B
Andrew B

I'd suggest including The Old Pakckhorse (Chiswick High Road near Chiswick Park Tube Station) but I don't want more people finding out about it and its amazing Thai menu. So don't come here.

Javi B
Javi B

The Red Lion in Leytonstone!

Superstar Donkey Jockey
Superstar Donkey Jockey Staff Writer

Good to see 3 of my locals listed: Cutty Sark Tavern, Old Brewery and Hare & Billet. I would have added the Pelton Arms to that myself. Hyper-local as it is just across the road from my house; I can see it from my back door and can usually hear what band is playing from the back garden.


David - I think the writer's geographical knowledge is lacking. The Rugby Tavern is in either Holborn or Bloomsbury depending on how you look at it, but definitely not Clerkenwell. The same goes for the Yorkshire Grey. IMO Clerkenwell ends at Grey's Inn Road - i.e. where EC1 becomes WC1. Sorry to nitpick, but as a local these mistakes irk me.


Don't know anything about this pub, but it's stretching a point to say it's in Bloomsbury / Holborn - this one is a stone's throw from Piccadilly Circus. I suspect the pub you are recommending is the Queen's Head in Acton St, which is at the northern side of Bloomsbury, not far from King's Cross.

Andrew B
Andrew B

@David Queen's Head is definitely worth a visit, especially on a jazz/ragtime night. I used to live around the corner and treated the Head as my local. Great selection of ales.