London's best barbecues

Nothing is more satisfying than the sizzle of a summer barbecue

Hog Roast Hog Roast - © Rob Greig

Every sunny-day session should be accompanied by the tempting aromas emanating from the barbecue. Our favourite barbecues provide more than just fuel to soak up the drink – most of them are gastronomic destinations in themselves.

A quick caveat: we don’t want to rain on your parade, but given the vagaries of our weather, not to mention the vagaries of some venues, always phone ahead and make sure the barbecue is on – hot coals and torrential downpours don’t mix

Time Out's guide to barbecues in south London

  • Crown & Greyhound

    73 Dulwich Village, Dulwich, SE21 7BJ (020 8299 4976)

    This gigantic Dulwich Village pub ticks the beer garden box not once, nor twice… but thrice. The big, blooming back garden is divided into two tiers, one shadier than the other; while out front there’s a tidy patio area open until 10pm. The pub really comes into its own for summer barbecues, served 1-5pm Saturday and Sunday from a covered grill area, so rain isn’t a problem. Try the British beef burger, rib-eye steak sandwich or spinach and lentil burger, all served with corn on the cob, home-made slaw and potato salad. Alternatively order off the classic pub menu and indulge in a pint of prawns or a filling steak pie. The beers are a bit special too, with four cask ale pumps featuring the ales of Sharp’s Doom Bar, Harveys, Fuller’s and two regularly changing guest breweries. Read more

  • Devonshire

    39 Balham High Rd, Balham, SW12 9AN (020 8673 1363)

    Since the untimely demise of Avalon's summer barbecues, the Devonshire has become the Balham grill of choice. Sprawling though this Young’s outfit might be, it’s also attractive since the refurb a few years ago. The open-plan indoor area is done out with contemporary sofas and banquettes, so it feels both lived-in and looked after. Arrive early to bag a plum spot on the rear terrace for the popular summer barbecue, which runs from 6-9pm Tuesday to Friday and noon-9pm on weekends (weather permitting, and while stocks last). There’s a rotating grill menu, showcasing anything from home-made burgers (beef, lamb, cajun chicken and veggie) to foil-wrapped mackerel and sea bass. The beer list you can imagine, but the wine list is long for a Young’s pub. Read more

  • Grand Union

    123 Acre Lane, Brixton, SW2 5UA (020 7274 8794)

    Formerly the Hope and Anchor, this gentrified bar-cum-boozer on the border between Clapham and Brixton is home to a gargantuan beer garden. As we all know, it’s not size but what you do with it that counts and, in this respect, The Grand Union’s enormous alfresco area doesn’t disappoint. Every Sunday, weather permitting, there’s a good-value barbecue featuring the likes of a spicy half-chicken or rack of ribs, with sides of home-made potato salad and corn on the cob. In addition to seating for more than 300 on arty black picnic tables with matching sun umbrellas, there are four stilt-houses that groups can book in advance. Don’t forget the two full-service outside bars, offering wine, spirits, four draught lagers as well as on-tap Pimm’s and Bulmers. Read more

  • Lost Angel

    339 Battersea Park Rd, SW11 4LF (020 7622 2112)

    This sister-venue to Lost Society does good barbecues, weather permitting, from around 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, perhaps 3pm Sundays (they’re pretty relaxed about it, so do phone ahead to check). The backyard has a variety of seating, from a cosy Chesterfield (it gets taken back inside when it rains) to retro metal chairs, and it’s certainly on the snug side, but that’s all part of the charm. Favourites from the grill include cheese burgers, rib-eye steaks and fresh mackerel, as well as skewers of king prawns or halloumi and red pepper, all served up with freshly-made side salads (potato, Greek, mixed leaf). Make sure you try one of the excellent fruit-based long cocktails, or some of the well-kept Old Hooky, Truman’s Summer Runner or Wandle ales. Read more

  • The Ship

    41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, SW18 1TB (020 8870 9667)

    The Ship is not the place to come for a quiet pint on a sunny day. The riverside location (though the actual river views are sparse) and the vast outdoor space with dedicated outdoor bars make this a prime destination for large, mainly male groups – it’s a favourite with rugby fans. If you can tolerate this, and the piercing Tannoy system recycled from Stalag 13, you can then appreciate The Ship’s lengthy barbecue menu. There’s classic char-grilled beef or a cajun-spiced chicken burger alongside whole grilled sea bream, otherwise go for the whole hog with a full rack of West Country pork ribs, smothered in Coca-Cola barbecue sauce and served with fries and a salad. The Ship is also known for its dedication to real ales (Bombadier and Waggle Dance, for instance), and if the hubbub outside gets too much, there’s a fancier gastropub menu and thoughtful wine list served indoors. Read more