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dalston pubs, three compasses

Dalston pubs

Discover Dalston’s best pubs, from hip hangouts to good old-fashioned boozers that suit east London to a tee

By Laura Richards

Whether it’s a Sunday roast that you’re after or you’re keen to check out Dalston’s famous late-night scene, consider yourself sorted with this list of the best pubs in the area. From live music venues right near the Kingsland Road to quaint backstreet hostelries creeping towards De Beauvoir Town, these pubs are total testament to the fact that east London’s buzzing boozing scene is still fully live and kicking.

RECOMMENDED: Find more fun in the neighbourhood with our Dalston area guide

The best pubs in Dalston

Farr's School of Dancing

Bars and pubs Gastropubs Dalston

Named after the former occupants of the building in the 1930s, Farr's School of Dancing is one of the Antic pub family. It serves a wide selection of craft beer and ales in a stripped back setting with a vintage-feel, and keeps punters going to the wee hours with DJ nights, jazz and comedy gigs earlier on in the week.

The Glory
Al de Perez

The Glory

Nightlife Alternative nightlife Haggerston

The Glory is Dalston’s most lively pub, co-owned by drag legend Jonny Woo. Expect outrageous cabaret acts and DJ nights and some of the area’s most colourful characters crowding in come the weekend. 


Hunter S

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs De Beauvoir

This pub takes its name from the famed gonzo journalist, but don’t expect too much in the way of mind-bending antics – unless you visit the pub’s trippy toilets, that is. Back in the main room, get settled in among wild taxidermy and drink from a menu of whisky and modish craft beer. 

© Britta Jaschinski

Railway Tavern

5 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Gastropubs Dalston

On a residential street where Dalston meets Islington, you’ll find this diddy local from the owners of the Pineapple in Kentish Town. A few bits of artful railway ephemera lie around the place, but otherwise, it’s a stripped-back, down-to-earth pub with a special drinks selection and Thai food. Pure and simple pub magic.

Scolt Head001.jpg
© Monica Roche

Scolt Head

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Gastropubs De Beauvoir

This cheery, capacious and altogether likeable corner pub is a mainstay for those drifting along from Dalston to De Beauvoir town. Sunday roasts are pretty popular, but nothing brings the punters to the pub like its flower-clad front garden on longer nights. 

Shacklewell Arms

Music Music venues Dalston

It’s a bit of an indie paradise in the Shacklewell, a pub best famed for the gigs that go on in the back room. There’s also a rear terrace with patio heaters so you can pretend to be in the Caribbean, just like the former  owner of this pub, who is depicted on tropical murals. Throw in a menu of hot dogs and burgers and a crowd of 20-somethings and you’ve got yourself a hip all-day hangout.  


Spurstowe Arms

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Pubs Dalston

The Spurstowe Arms works a stripped-back charm, never trying too hard to impress – which of course just wouldn’t wash in this part of town. There’s a grand horseshoe bar topped with fresh-cut flowers (you’ll still spot the odd reassuring cobweb up high). On Sundays, the pub makes way to young families after a mouth-watering roast plus bloody marys.

The Three Compasses

Bars and pubs Dalston

Along Ridley Road you’ll find this pub, popular with a young crowd. Street food operations take up residencies in the kitchen and craft beer dominates at the bar, many made within the M25. Highlights on the entertainment side of things include DJ nights and screenings of the latest series of ‘Game of Thrones’. 


The Victoria

3 out of 5 stars
Music Music venues Dalston

A perennially cool and grungy pub but with a relaxed edge, visit the Victoria for live music (a tradition at this spot for decades) on a backstreet off Dalston Lane. As a pub, it’s decent – an artily thrown-together look, a few local beers, and street food takeovers in the kitchen. They also shine a light on rums from the Caribbean at the bar. 

Venue says Known for its art music and parties, a landmark Victorian pub with an infamous live room for up and coming bands hidden inside its book case

Duke of Wellington

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs De Beauvoir

In many ways, the Wellington hitches its wagon to tradition. There’s an emphasis on real ales and a slightly ‘old man’ feel to the interior. But then they host trendy foodie pop-ups and a Sunday lunch club. A broad range of spirits and late hours all add value for twenty- to fortysomething Dalstonians who find the scene on Kingsland High Street too messy for comfort.

Venue says Local craft beer, delicious thin-crust pizza and the best in sports TV. Any pizza for £6 every Friday lunch; on Monday nights it’s 2 for 1!

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Find more amazing places to drink in London

100 best bars and pubs in london, harp
© Jael Marschner

The best pubs in London

Bars and pubs

Searching for the best pubs in London? You’re in the right place. The capital’s drinking scene is one of the best in the world, where you can bounce from historic and traditional pubs to modern boozers pulling perfect pints. We’ve rounded up our favourite pubs across the capital, slicing and dicing them by area below so you can cut out the faff and concentrate on getting a round in. Bottoms up!


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