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Photograph: Andy Parsons

The 100 best pubs in London

An indisputable, irrefutable and 100 per cent accurate list of London's best pubs. We won’t be taking further questions at this time

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Written by
Laura Richards
&
Joe Mackertich
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I left my part-time pub job a few months ago – and boy do I miss those sloppy drip tray days. I miss the free pints and the customers’ dogs. I miss the distinct stench of lager on my clothes from pulling pints all night and the frothy stickiness on my hands after not pulling them that well. I even miss trying to take payment from a table of 12 during the Euros while they ferociously reminded me ‘it’s coming home’. Most of all, I miss seeing the same locals every week and that stupid camaraderie between staff and the customers. But I don’t miss it that much: I know that wherever I am in London, there will always be a pub nearby.

Lockdown showed us that without pubs, London could never be its chatty, chaotic and slightly tipsy self. There are thousands here and they come in many forms: your old man boozers with crap carpets permanently sticky from decades of spilled beer, your craft-beer hipster hotspots, your questionably soundtracked 3am blurs and more.

Time Out’s 100 Best Pubs list exists to celebrate London’s taprooms in their many guises. From the perfect pubs for drinking alone to the best boozers for giant yorkshire puddings – get stuck in, spot your local and maybe find a new favourite. Chiara Wilkinson

Find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars here.

Best pubs for when you’re babysitting a dog

The Crooked Billet, Clapton
  • Bars and pubs
  • Clapton

This joint’s beer garden is a bit like the Tardis, but it’s filled with better-looking creatures (east Londoners and their pooches). The outdoor area just seems to go on for ever, with space for an alfresco bar, screens showing sports, food stands and heaters. It’s also reasonably close to Hackney Marshes, so your mutt can give you a run around after you’re done topping up your beer belly. Chiara Y Wilkinson

  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Highbury

A Stokey hotspot, the CPT is perfectly positioned next to the mighty Clissold Park with Woodberry Wetlands just up the road too. It has a colossal beer garden, as well as friendly staff who will almost always reassure your hound that he’s a good boi. It even does beer-flavoured dog biscuits that humans can munch on too. CYW

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Hackney

The Pembo is a friendly place. Would it have an endearing nickname otherwise? It wouldn’t. The good vibe is a result of Five Points Brewing Company revamping this pub into a large community hub for east Londoners young and old (its entire range of beers is available). Dogs are welcome to some water inside and out (see, friendly!) and its stone-baked pizza game is very strong too. Rhys Thomas

The Sun of Camberwell, Camberwell
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Camberwell

Hanging out round the back of The Sun of Camberwell is a bit like being in your mum’s back garden (but with more picnic benches). You find neatly trimmed shrubbery, a nice patio and no one minds if your beloved pet sits on the table. (‘He’s just saying hello, isn’t he, isn’t heee…’) Kate Lloyd

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Berry & Barrel, Eltham

This micropub might be petite but it more than makes up for its small size with big vibes. It opened during the pandemic. Gutsy. And it also knows how to give the people what they want: dog-based events. It had a doggie day earlier this year where cakes were baked for four-legged friends to chow down on. KL

Best pubs for giant yorkshire puddings

The De Beauvoir Arms, Dalston
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • De Beauvoir

A handsome pub that serves up an even better-looking roast. It’s worth visiting for the food here even if it’s not a Sunday. Seasonal ingredients are scribbled daily on a blackboard – think grilled sea bass, hearty soup or steak and salsa verde – along with a charming drinks selection. The best bit? It’s walk-ins only. CYW

  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Hackney Road

Gastropub, you know the term. If you’d like to experience it properly, away from the overpriced Amstel and badly triple-cooked chips, this is the place. Open since 2015, this gastropub near Hoxton has had all the acclaim it’ll ever need. It was London’s first Michelin Pub of the Year, for starters, and its beef and barley bun with horseradish cream is the stuff of legend. The beer is just as well-kept, and dogs are welcome on the first floor. There’s your gastropub. RT

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The Harwood Arms, Fulham
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Fulham
  • price 2 of 4

Food is the name of the game at this Michelin-starred pub (the only one in London). Expect nose-to-tail modern British stuff but also banging scotch eggs and the rest. RT

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Hammersmith
  • price 1 of 4

A canalside boozer where Nell Gwynne and Charles II once dined, this joint has the smallest bar room in the world. It might be a Fullers, but its yorkshire puddings are nicely risen, soft on the bottom and crispy but not brittle on the outside. Angela Hui

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Barnsbury
  • price 2 of 4

A posh local known for bougie wines, neutral decor and thoughtfully local cooking. And by ‘thoughtfully local cooking’ we mean slow-cooked meats, lentil stews, suet-crust pies and yorkshires so big you could break a greenhouse window with them. KL

Best pubs for keeping kids entertained

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Forest Gate

This Leytonstone pub relaunched as a new member of the Remarkable Pubs family at the end of 2019 following a refurbishment. As part of the makeover, the new owners installed… tracks for a miniature train in its beer garden. Yes, wtf. Sit your kids on there and let them ride around until they get travel sick while you finish your pint. KL

  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Walthamstow

This family spot has a play area down the bottom of the garden. There’ll you’ll find wooden sheds, dolls’ houses, everything you need to keep a little one entertained while you catch up with your bestie. KL

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The Windsor Castle, Kensington
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Notting Hill
  • price 2 of 4

Tucked in between Holland Park and Kensington Gardens is a pub complete with a little beer garden. If you’ve been in the area on a family day out without popping in for food, you’ve missed out. From Sunday roasts to buffets, it does the lot, and very well. Children’s menus come complete with a word search, so you can distract them while taking a breather over a good unfussy beer from the likes of Sierra Nevada or Guinness. RT

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Herne Hill
  • price 2 of 4

Situated opposite Brockwell Park, this family pub is the place where breadstick-throwing, spoon-banging children are welcomed. It does activity sheets and has a big play area, but you’ll probably be most pleased to know that there are 25 beers on tap. AH

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This sprawling former coaching inn is very cosy, with old wooden furniture, exposed floorboards, rugs and a roaring fire. For kids, the fun can be found outside though with swings and a tractor in the large lawned garden. There’s even a downloadable circular walking route you can send them on around the grounds. AH

Best pubs for pulling

The Bank of Friendship, Highbury
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Highbury

Despite the name, this is a singles hotspot (for the over-21s). The covered, heated garden under a canopy of twinkling lights provides a romantic backdrop for those riding solo. And if it decides to piss it down? Head inside and cosy up next to the open fireplace where you can crank up the heat with your new hun. AH

The Dundee Arms, Bethnal Green
  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Bethnal Green

There’s just something in the air here. Maybe it’s the questionable DJ tunes, the fact that it’s open late or the intimate smoking area. Or maybe it’s because the food served is exclusively… cheese toasties. All we have to say is, if you lock eyes with some well-formed human under the Dundee’s outdoor disco ball and you don’t end up eating their face off, you’re probably not as single as you thought you were. CYW

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Nunhead

New Cross’s most gorgeous pub; no really, it’s absolutely stunning. It’s family-run and independent, a thing of rarity these days in London. Not only that, it boasts one of the biggest and baddest smoking areas in south London (prime pulling territory) and a pool table (prime sealing-the-deal territory). Leonie Cooper

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Hackney Road

This former lap dancing bar turned queer pub has a dark, snug basement, which is ideal for getting down and getting it on with your girls and gays. It’s more of a place to boogie, but big pulling potential here. AH

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The Prince of Peckham, Peckham
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Peckham
  • price 2 of 4

One of the few Black-owned pubs in London. White Men Can’t Jerk are in charge of the food while cocktails are top tier. Come here to dance, chat and meet like-minded young people – who happen to be really, really hot. Be warned: it’s busy and popular for a reason, so brace yourself for the queue of doom. AH

Actually good pubs in central London

The Sun, Covent Garden

Full disclosure on this one, because it’s Time Out’s local. The Sun (not to be confused with the nearby Sun Tavern), with its deceivingly grey exterior, actually has a pretty colourful beer selection. After 5pm, it’s a spot that is almost always heaving – probably down to its genuinely friendly staff and prime location. CYW

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Soho
  • price 1 of 4

Classics don’t come much more classic than the French House. Its mix of old Soho regulars, hypebeast design dudes, fashion folk and the most eccentric of Londoners make it one of the best spots in town for striking up enlightening chats with interesting strangers. Remember, it only serves halves of beer, so don’t embarrass yourself by asking for anything as déclassé as a pint. LC

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The Duke, Bloomsbury

Like something straight out of a Patrick Hamilton novel, The Duke is an elegantly wasted timewarp to the 1930s – all art deco mirrors, mahogany booths and the lingering feeling that maybe, just maybe, you’ve accidentally ended up in an episode of jolly 1990s bigamy-based sitcom ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’. Bottoms up! LC

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Soho
  • price 1 of 4

The only pub in central London with a nudists’ licence – a bit different, eh? – The Coach & Horses is an iconic Soho boozer, not least because of its regular cockney singalongs. Grab a Guinness, then gather round the piano to belt out a peculiar mix of West End showtunes, ‘Roll out the Barrel’ and Oasis bangers with a merry bunch of old boozehounds. LC

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Covent Garden
  • price 1 of 4

It’s rare that you can find a multi-season pub: one that will keep you cosy but not cramped through the brisk winter months, while still having large courtyard space to drink in the sun come the summer. This spot does both extremely well. KL

Best pubs for drinking alone

  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Shoreditch
  • price 2 of 4

What if we told you that, just off Shoreditch, there was a pub that pulls great pints, serves oysters (plus a whole menu of great grub) and welcomes dogs? Well, there is. Plus, as far as ‘bars to perch at and watch strangers’ goes, the copper-topped beauty at this spot is hard to beat. It’s right in the middle of the room, for optimum snooping. RT 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Deptford

Join the other solitary old geezers in this absolutely timeless south London boozer. Its bright red exterior is just calling for you to take a trip inside. Just don’t play the piano or challenge anyone to a frame of pool unless you want to make some friends. KL

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The Blue Posts, Soho
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Chinatown

A favourite post-work watering hole for retail workers who are fed up with dealing with your requests. After a long day of checking Hinge in the stock room, this is the perfect place to unwind with a Stella, Guinness or San Miguel. The Blue Post has been here since the 1960s and we’re sure it will be there for many more years to come. Marcus Brown

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Tottenham
  • price 2 of 4

The best things come in small packages – particularly when they’re micropubs. And squeezing into Tottenham’s diddy boozer The High Cross feels even more thrilling given that it used to be public bogs. The 1920s toilet block halfway up the High Road has been converted into a trad drinker’s paradise, but from the outside, it still looks like it’s open for the other sort of business – the ladies and gents signs are lit up in style.

A single room manages to feel semi-spacious with glossy white wall tiles opening things up, while the bar itself is so compact there’s only room for one bartender (or maybe one-and-a-half) behind it. Still, somehow it’s managed to cram in ten taps, ranging from London craft beer – The Kernel, Howling Hops and Beavertown (of course) are regulars – to UK brews (Manchester’s Marble Brewery was a delicious discovery) and popular Belgian cherry beer Boon Kreik.

Other excellent small packages are the scotch eggs – a fiery ’nduja version had the sort of runny centre dreams are made of – or other bar snacks available at three for £10. You can basically build a full meal from that, with mustard greens, sausage rolls and golden chunky chips parts of the package. Or swerve this set-up for pie and mash, popular on match days. I was surprised how good dining in a former lav could be.

Young families were spread out down the end of the room while couples grabbed a quick and cosy lunch. Given the small space, there was plenty of cross-table and bar-side camaraderie, with the footy results inevitably adding to the cacophony that built up in this atmospheric outhouse. The High Cross is a pub you’ll be seriously pleased to be privy to.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Mile End
  • price 1 of 4

Film set galore, this. If you’ve ever watched something featuring the ‘old bill’ or the Kray twins, chances are there was a scene shot here. When you walk off Regents’ Canal and through the park to this East End boozer, it’s clear why. There’s live music on the weekends, if you fancy a singalong, but beyond that this is a red-lit, proper old-fashioned pub. The perfect spot for those Sundays spent reading a book while nursing a cold one. RT

Best pubs for first dates

The Prince, Stoke Newington
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Stoke Newington
  • price 3 of 4

Nestled on the corner of a quiet Stokey street, The Prince is charming, but not pretentious. Laid back, but not scruffy. Cosy, but big enough so people won’t overhear your horrendously awkward first-date chat. It’s got a nice craft beer selection (so you can show off how culturally hoppy you are), a decent selection of small plates and a light, buzzy atmosphere. You can’t go wrong really. It also hosts tutored life-drawing classes on the first Thursday of every month, in case you fancy a first date with a twist. CYW

The Sun Tavern, Bethnal Green
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Bethnal Green
  • price 2 of 4

Everyone looks more attractive in candlelight. That’s why there’s so much shagging in Jane Austen. The Sun teams the flicker of burning wick with a cool Brooklyn vibe. It’s like putting a sepia filter on real life. KL

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Nunhead
  • price 1 of 4

A wonderful place to take your main (or future) squeeze, what with its comfortable furnishings, private booths and Moth Club-esque stage. Gigs are always good for a date pub. Gives you something to stare at and then talk about afterwards. Nunhead’s Ivy House also boasts a great selection of beers, one which manages to satisfy the local real ale heads and the craft booze fanatics. Bonus point: this place is also co-operatively owned, which means you look more socially conscious and caring just by being in it. Joe Mackertich

  • Bars and pubs
  • Wapping

This is a Sam Smith’s pub, which means it’ll attract a certain type (Labour-voting Reddit users, generally). It’s cheap and cheerful and has a notorious no-phones rule (which people break). Stick to it, though, and you’ll find yourself in a really good first date spot. This bar is rich with history (Google it on your way there). So even without your phones you’ll have plenty to chat about while gazing into the rippling waters. RT

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Best pubs for cosy interiors and open fires

The Dickens Inn, St Katharine Docks
  • Things to do
  • Pizza
  • Tower Bridge
  • price 1 of 4

This showstopper of a pub, which looks like it’s straight off the set of ‘Game of Thrones’, is a three-tiered, thatched-roofed, eighteenth-century, timber-framed warehouse. The raised seating makes it the ideal viewing point to spy on wealthy local residents and their aquatic investments. Marcus Brown

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Islington

If The Island Queen wasn’t a boozer it’d be a Victorian music hall – it’s all high ceilings and big, beautiful engraved mirrors, plus the overarching feeling that a woman wearing numerous petticoats might slosh a pint of bitter on you at any moment and start singing ‘Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)’. Thankfully, the threat of such aggressive vaudeville is tempered by cosy corners, comfy sofas and a hidden backstreet location that means you can introduce it to unsuspecting mates and feel all smug when they gawp in amazement at its casual elegance. LC

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Gospel Oak
  • price 2 of 4

Ideal for a pre- or post-Hampstead Heath ramble, The Southampton Arms is small but perfectly formed. It’s the kind of dimly lit old-school boozer where a bloke who looks a bit like your granddad might suddenly hop on the battered old piano and sing a plaintive traditional folk song, causing you to become so overcome with emotion that you start weeping into your glass of obscure IPA and drop your pork bap. LC

The Salisbury Hotel, Green Lanes

A grand Victorian gin palace of some repute, The Salisbury is absolutely massive. There’s a hidden ballroom that hosts regular swing dance nights, which was once was the site of a rowdy Jamie xx aftershow following an Ally Pally headline gig. But it also has just the right autumnal vibe, complete with taxidermy in glass boxes, tucked-away private booths and a mega circular bar. LC

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The Churchill Arms, Kensington
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Kensington

You probably know this Kensington spot for its extra outdoor decor. Every Christmas its exterior walls are decked out with rows of lights and more than a hundred fir trees. You should peek inside, though. You’ll find a flower-laden real-ale boozer, filled with Churchill memorabilia, that serves Thai noodles and curries. AH

Best pubs for having a lazy afternoon in the sun

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Highgate

If you want to go on a day out to the countryside without actually getting on a proper train, can we suggest heading to The Woody for the afternoon? It has a very lovely beer garden that backs on to Highgate Wood, so it feels real rural. Kind of. KL

The Spurstowe Arms, Hackney
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Dalston
  • price 2 of 4

Picture the scene: it’s late July, you’ve spent all week working in your sweatbox of a flat, you’re looking for somewhere breezy to cool off at the weekend. The place to go? The Spurstowe. Not only does it have an expansive beer garden (which is great for people-watching), it’s also extremely close to London Fields. Hello, ice-cream vans. KL

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • West Kensington

The front garden at this Kenny boozer might be small but it’s packed full of beautiful foliage. It’s a prime spot for having a long Sunday lunch on a warm spring day. KL

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Parsons Green
  • price 2 of 4

The Sloaney Pony, as locals call it, is an institution. There’s plenty of history to the spot, but these days it resides as a peaceful and elegant pub overlooking Parsons Green. If you want good real ale (or Czech Pils from a proper copper tank) while reclining into some velvet and letting the world go by, this is the only place for it. RT

Best pubs for sitting outside on very cold days

The Crown & Shuttle, Shoreditch
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Shoreditch

The phrase ‘massive beer garden’ might not scream ‘cosy hangout for the winter months’ but when it’s one that’s a) sheltered and b) fired up with shedloads of outdoor heaters you at least get a lukewarm space to smoke your disgusting cigarettes in. KL

  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Clapton

This Clapton boozer has real ‘end of a big walk’ vibes. It’s got a covered, heated outdoor area, it’s right by the River Lea and it does an incredible roast. You could go for a wander down the river and across the marshes before settling in here for the afternoon. Or you could skip the exercise. We won’t judge. KL

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Belgravia
  • price 3 of 4

Pubs on nice streets have it easy, don’t they? All they have to do is exist and people flock in to have a lovely drink on a lovely road. The Thomas Cubitt makes the most of this with tables that tumble out on to the pavement of its sensationally pretty ends. Expect Christmas glitz when the time is right, also. KL

No 32 The Old Town
  • Bars and pubs
  • Clapham

It’s fair to say that No 32 is a pretty chic pub. You’ll find no wonky bar stools here, only stylish neutral decor. It’s no surprise, then, that come the winter its wooden rooftop terrace gets a tastefully festive makeover: tartan seat covers and fairy lights, ahoy. KL

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Whitechapel

This historic pub is famed for its connections to gangster Ronnie Kray – and if we know anything about Big Ron (we know nothing) it’s that he was a true connoisseur of pubs to sit outside on very cold days. It’s clear why he loved this one so much: it’s got lots of heaters, good tunes and a pub cat. KL

Best pubs for dancing

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Stoke Newington

Where other boozers have damp cellars that the staff periodically disappear off to (to change a barrel or something), Stokey’s handsome The Three Crowns boasts a bona fide gig venue and club space, The Waiting Room. It always has an ace line-up and, you know, you can get some decent drinks there. Coming up this autumn, Sprints and Son Mieux (among others). CW

  • Nightlife
  • Alternative nightlife
  • Haggerston

It might seem like a bit of an exaggeration to describe a venue that’s only been open for seven years as ‘legendary’, but this pint-sized boozer run by alt-drag superstar Jonny Woo genuinely is. Head down on a typical evening and you’ll find queer nightlife veterans like Princess Julia and Jeffrey Hinton on the decks, east London’s most out-there drag artists performing surreal cabaret on the tiny stage and a raucous crowd of fabulous, arty queers cackling in the smoking area. Iconic. Rosie Hewitson

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The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston
  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Dalston

Fact: if you type ‘indie’ into Wikipedia, you get a blurry photo of The Shacklewell Arms. Ha ha: not really. Still, if you want authentically grubby London rock ’n’ roll from skinny chancers in ladies’ slacks, head here. They’re even doing a Cure-themed Halloween night this year. Now that’s commitment. Chris Waywell

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Battersea

Everyone with digs in Battersea knows this place. Unapologetically bohemian, The Magic Garden is a hyper-laid-back, colourful wonderland, draped in fabrics and fairy lights. The large, covered outside area is a great place to hang out as a big group and the food is very decent pub fare. During weekends the vibe becomes ravier, thanks to a 2am licence and a lovely line-up of bands and DJs. JM

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Homerton
  • price 2 of 4

There’s a footballing community here (The Gun FC play on Hackney Marshes) and games are shown during the day, but by night this tiny, warm-as-hell room is rammed, with music booming from some of the best record spinners in the city. (Seriously, owner Nick is obsessed with tunes.) It’s a place you’ll end up at once, fall in love with, then always return to. Nobody says no to The Gun. RT

Best pubs for a very late session

The Wenlock & Essex, Islington
  • Bars and pubs
  • Angel

Ah yes, this place. The Wenlock & Essex is mainly famous for two things: its light-up dancefloor and its mirrored ceiling. That kind of thing might sound a bit vulgar when you’re sober, but at 2.30am (which is when the pub closes) on a Saturday? Then they sound absolutely terrific! Expect a glammed-up crowd and quite a few handbags on the dancefloor. JM

Howling Hops, Hackney
  • Bars and pubs
  • Hackney Wick
  • price 2 of 4

Howling Hops, clue’s in the name. Not howling: hops! This IPA specialist’s first home was actually in the basement of the nearby Cock Tavern, but its top-notch beers have demanded bigger quarters. So now, in Hackney Wick, there’s a bustling bar with long wooden tables laid out beer-hall style showcasing the craft breweries’ freshest brews, straight from the tank. It’s open from midday until late (1.30am most weekends) and has class DJs. RT

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The Clapham North, Clapham
  • Bars and pubs
  • Clapham

Deep breath: The Clapham North in Clapham North offers booth seating, ‘honest food’ (including a slightly worrying-sounding ‘Swingers’ Roast’ on a Sunday), an events space, DJs, a dog-friendly policy, sports on the screen and probably a few kitchen sinks somewhere. To cram all that in, it offers a generous closing time of 3am on Friday and Saturday. CW

The Aeronaut, Acton
  • Bars and pubs
  • Breweries
  • Acton

Quite possibly the only pub in London that puts on live circus events. This spacious west London spot has loads of room for outside drinking, brews its craft ales on site and has locally famous, themed bottomless brunches. It’s on Saturdays when the place really comes alive, however, thanks to a 1.30am licence and a weekly circus and cabaret night. Acrobatics, contortionists and cocktails. What could possibly go wrong? JM

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Hackney

‘OPEN TIL 4AM!’ it proudly states on the A-board outside this legendary late-night boozer. The Dolphin is the ultimate sleeping giant. Wander past it during daylight hours and you’d be forgiven for thinking this is an old man pub that even the old men can’t be arsed to frequent. But when the sun goes down and the lamo regular kick-out-time joints shut, The Dolphin’s doors swing open to welcome every type of pissed-up reprobate from Hackney, Shoreditch and beyond. BM

Best pubs for when you’re hungover

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Bethnal Green

The best thing about The Camel is that it’s small and very, very tucked away. This is important for a post-big night out trip to the pub: when you’re in there it feels like you’re hidden from the judgement of strangers, the consequences of last night’s decisions and, most importantly, your ex. Expect basic decor and a very local vibe. KL

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Dalston
  • price 1 of 4

Hair of the dog is The Prince George’s speciality. With its intimate corners and deeply inoffensive jukebox, we can’t think of anywhere finer to slowly sip a shandy and then feel its restorative powers cut through the previous evenings’ rum and cokes. The fact that it feels a bit like your nan’s living room only helps matters. This is a pub that’s an extension of home – except with better burgers and the kind of banging Sunday roast that you definitely wouldn’t bother cooking for yourself if you were still whining about your headache at home. LC

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Peckham

If the only thing that will heal your pounding head is a little snooze on a comfy sofa then it’s worth dragging yourself to the vast, fluffy couches at the White Horse. Several hours of napping and blackcurrant sodas here you come. KL

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Battersea

There are two types of people in the world. Those that soak up last night’s pints with a Big Mac, 20 chicken nuggets and a strawberry milkshake and those that heal themselves with actual nutrition. This spot is for the latter camp: it does amazing organic food – like veggie pie, roast squash and healthy grains – ideal for looking after yourself after one too many. KL

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The Queen's Arms, Kensington
  • Bars and pubs
  • Kensington

Despite being just yards from Kensington Gardens, this quaint and cosy pub seems to keep itself hidden from the masses – making it a tranquil haven to numb your pain with Bloody Marys. There’s also brunch to soak up the night before nicely. RT

Best pubs for good craft beer

  • Bars and pubs
  • Breweries
  • Hackney

If you wanted a pub that blends everything great about east London into one building, here it is. The interior is all reclaimed-looking, miscellaneous and low-key, the beers are craft and the eggs are pickled in all sorts of odd flavour combinations. The crowd are just good old (and new) east London types and there’s a bit of history: local brewery Howling Hops began in its basement. HH is usually on one of the taps, too. RT 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Pimlico
  • price 2 of 4

With 25 draught and more than 200 bottles, this boozer is stocked to the brim with a genuinely interesting selection of global craft beers – so if you fancy yourself as a bit of a hop geek, be sure to quiz your pint-puller with every question under the sun. It also has a decent burger menu and live folk music every Sunday. CYW

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The King's Arms, Bethnal Green
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Bethnal Green
  • price 2 of 4

Stumbling off Bethnal Green Road (on Buckfast Street, no less) is London’s craft beer goldmine. Strangely, it’s reasonably priced and doesn’t get rammed, yet you’ll find the menu is always next-level. From local casks to a vault of rare wild ales, the meticulously curated menu changes constantly but always has something exceptional for everyone (including not beer: Buckfast Negroni, anyone?). There’s also a huge takeaway fridge specialising in American sours and lambics. If you’re serious about beer, look no further. RT

The Palm, Tottenham

Plonked in the heart of Philip Lane, The Palm has good wine, friendly staff and tasty food – we’re talking corn ribs, gloriously gravy-laden roasts and your classic fish and chips. It also has a fantastic selection of craft beers on top, with lots of local and independent European breweries including 40FT, Hammerton and Huyghe. CYW

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Surbiton

Once home to Big Smoke Brew Co’s brewery, before it moved 20 miles down the road to a new, larger premises, The Antelope still does beers that are so edgy they’ve probably spawned Reddit forums. And there’s no need to leave if your guts are starting to swill with booze, it’s home to dining space The Brewhouse. KL

Best pubs for not-beer

The Old Nun's Head, Nunhead
  • Comedy
  • Gastropubs
  • Nunhead
  • price 1 of 4

Nunhead Green might have the vibe of a country village, but this lively pub very much caters to Peckham’s hip young crowds, with regular drag nights and an always-booked-up pub quiz. Make it your destination of choice if you’re after really great food alongside your pints of Brick Brewery IPA. It does a very popular Sunday roast, with Nun Bun’s gloriously indulgent burgers and banging plates of plantain and jollof by the Flygerians served up during the week. RH

The Four Thieves, Battersea
  • Bars and pubs
  • Breweries
  • Battersea
  • price 2 of 4

Beer is all well and good but sometimes a Londoner craves the delicate bouquet of gin, infused with all manner of botanicals and whatnot. Said Londoner should get themselves to Battersea and locate this charming pub ft. microbrewery. It has a very attractive selection of potent gin cocktails. JM

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Holborn

A great choice for the discerning whisky drinker. The Queen’s Head, situated on a King’s Cross side street, is a cosy, old-school place with a battered old piano that gets played raucously every Thursday evening. At the last count The Queen’s Head (which is popular with journalists, by the way) had close to 70 whiskys on offer, which is a lot for a little place like this. A real jolly spot that makes most of the other pubs in the area look a bit crap. JM

  • Hotels
  • Shepherd’s Bush

Just up the road from the mighty QPR’s home ground, The Princess Victoria is comfortably one of the best boozers in the area. Inside the massive building you’ll discover dizzyingly high ceilings and a horseshoe bar, behind which you’ll find a gin and wine selection featuring literally hundreds of options. Football-phobes take heart: even after matchdays, the pub is just about far away enough from the stadium so it doesn’t fill up with Hoops fans. JM

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Dalston

Sure, this pub has a selection of beers that would impress even the most discerning craft beer lad. But it also has a quality cocktail menu including an excellent on-tap Negroni, plus a seriously impressive natural wine selection and even an array of mouthwatering shots (watermelon pickleback, anyone?). Warning: don’t order a cheese toastie unless you’re ready to have it haunt your dreams to the point where you’re dropping £7.50 on lunch here on a weekly basis. It happened to me. RH

Best pubs for good bar snacks

The Chesham Arms, Homerton
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Hackney
  • price 2 of 4

This handsome little neighbourhood pub stocks everything from giant sausage rolls to pork pies and probably one of the strongest crisp selections in London. Expect all your faves, like scampi fries, bacon fries, Monster Munch (all the flavours), Nik Naks,  pork scratchings and Snyder’s Jalapeno Pretzel Pieces. And if you’re still hungry for more, you can order Yard Sale Pizza to the pub. AH

  • Bars and pubs
  • Breweries
  • Acton
  • price 2 of 4

Sabai Thai food delivers big flavour hitters here, ready to soak up a whole afternoon’s worth of pints. Expect proper homemade prawn crackers with dips, crispy fried chicken wings, veggie spring rolls and prawn sesame toast. Basically, it does loads of deep-fried goodness. AH 

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Islington
  • price 2 of 4

We’re calling it. Charles Lamb might be the king of snack pubs. Yes, there are crisps on offer here, but there also pork scratchings, jars of olives, wasabi nuts, olives, pistachios, sausage rolls and pickled eggs. All hail the pick ’n’ mix snack pub. AH

The Antelope, Tooting
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Tooting
  • price 1 of 4

Snacks here aren’t regular pub snacks. Expect a more grown-up affair, including the likes of pork and sage sausage rolls, black pudding, fennel scotch eggs, padron peppers, crab fries, halloumi fries and honey buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese. A fine pub snack dining experience if we ever saw one. AH

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Clerkenwell
  • price 2 of 4

Taxidermy cabinets? Yup. Premium-strength IPAs, cask beers and whisky-accented ale? Yup. A fine selection of pork scratchings prominently displayed behind the bar? Absolutely. The Jerusalem Tavern has the holy trinity of porky treats: Mr Porky, Midlands Snacks and the Real Pork Co. Take your pick. AH

Best pubs for big, big bookings

The Star of Bethnal Green, Bethnal Green
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Bethnal Green

Why would you ever book a normal table at a pub again now you know that the Star of Bethnal Green has a very large karaoke room that you can hire out with your pals? There is no reason to have a birthday/hen/stag anywhere else. The rest of the pub is glorious, too: with a balcony level and DJs playing on Friday and Saturday nights. KL

The Depot, Holloway
  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Clapton

If you’re going to have a wedding in a pub, have a wedding at The Depot. A dreamy space in an old bus depot, it’s dotted with long tables that are perfect for group sharing meals and its decor (from bunting to floral arrangements) is Instagram-perfect. KL

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Dalston

A fun boozer, located aptly in Haggerston that’s a guaranteed Sunday night vibe. At its core the Haggerston is a dark and dingy pub with a late license till 3am from Friday to Sunday. That’s why the fact it’s got a giant room upstairs that you can book for no more than a couple of hundred quid is so extraordinary. A dream birthday venue. KL

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Battersea

This guy made the list because of The Terrarium (a big private room to you and me), which can be booked for private dining and parties. Recently refurbished, it’s got a cosy atmosphere and attentive staff. Book it for a fun sesh as the nights draw in. KL

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Best pubs for watching sports

Duke of Wellington, Dalston
  • Bars and pubs
  • De Beauvoir

This friendly bar screens all the big sporting events, but especially the footie, across the two big TVs by the bar and projector in the back room. But don’t assume that means there’ll be loads of red-faced shouty blokes killing the mood. It proudly shows women’s matches, hosted plenty of international fans over this summer’s Euros and generally has a welcoming, inclusive vibe that’s a world away from your typical sports bar. RH

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Finsbury Park
  • price 1 of 4

You’ll have seen the beer garden on Instagram. It’s a good one: big greenery, plenty of heaters and great craic. Inside is one of the best self-professed Irish pubs in London. There’s no shit London Guinness here. When it comes to sport, the Fullback is unrivalled. Huge projector screens show just about every one invented (including GAA and hurling), but rugby is its forte. The kitchen is Thai-focused as opposed to Irish, but it’s good eating. RT

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Kingston

A very trad pub on the edges of the city. Shonky beer garden? Check. Annual St George’s beer festival? Check. Sky Sports subscription and extremely vibey football fans? Absolutely check. KL

  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Fulham
  • price 2 of 4

Chelsea matchdays – that’s when The Mitre really comes alive. Fans often head to this friendly indoor-outdoor space to have a couple of bevs before the match. It’s not just a football pub though. Expect to see international sports, 6 Nations rugby and tennis screened here (and there’s a regular pub quiz and live music nights for those who aren’t sport-inclined). KL

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The Moretown Belle, St Katharine Dock

So big that it’s basically a static cruise ship moored at St Katie’s, this chequerboard-floored big boi is a sport-lovers’ haven. Come for numerous screens airing your favourite men kicking balls. Stay for pool tables and dartboards. KL

Best pubs for pub games

The Dove, Hackney
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • London Fields
  • price 2 of 4

The Dove is as integral to Broadway Market as beanie-hat-wearing east Londoners are to London Fields. With a top quality menu of Belgian craft beers – yes, there’s more than 100 – and a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan scran, you’ll have plenty of choice to keep your stomach satisfied while you enjoy some good, old-fashioned fun. CYW

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Putney
  • price 1 of 4

A proper old-school pub (it opened in 1826!) with wood-panelling and a beer garden, serving real ales, cider and English wines. Don’t leave without playing a game of bar skittles. It’s like going bowling but you can do it with a pint in one hand. AH

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The Clapham Tap, Clapham

Board games? Darts? Ping pong? If you planned to meet your old school friend for a drink six months ago and, now the day has finally come, you’re dreading it, organise to meet at The Clapham Tap. There are so many games on offer here that you’ll barely need to talk. AH

Nolan's, Vauxhall

Darts newbies should head along to Nolan’s on Wednesdays for a game. The Vauxhall pub draws a crowd of experts who might just pass on some bird’s eye tips. Take advantage. AH

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The Adam & Eve, Homerton
  • Bars and pubs
  • Homerton

Pool? Thirsty work. Darts? Pretty much an upper body workout. Luckily, the Adam and Eve has all the games (the pool table is L-shaped!) you need to keep you busy of a weekday evening and then big sofas to spread out on as you rebuild your strength post-activity. KL

But pubs for a quiet

The Leyton Technical, Leyton
  • Bars and pubs
  • Leyton

This is a contemporary pub, with antique furniture and lavish architecture, set in a former town hall building. Prop up at the bar with a novel and you’ll feel like an especially serious character in a period drama. AH

  • Bars and pubs
  • Wandsworth

The quietest spot at this fresh, modern pub? It’s right at the end of the beer garden. That’s where you’ll find a flora-lined row of tables that feels more like someone’s allotment than a pub terrace. FYI, it does a mean brunch. KL

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • South Kensington

Of course The Anglesea Arms is fancy, it’s in Chelsea for goodness sake, but it’s also super-friendly. Though if you want to be left the hell alone, staff are more than happy to do so after serving you up a whopping big glass of Whispering Angel. It’s also blissful on a sunny day if you feel like sitting out on its flowery front terrace, aka the perfect place to take in the rarefied air of South Ken. LC

The Elgin, Notting Hill
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Maida Vale
  • price 2 of 4

Shhhh, hear that? It’s the sound of the breeze in Notting Hill. The Elgin’s so chill that you’re rumoured to be able to hear it flowing through the bare-walled building. Inside you’ll find free wi-fi, charging points and seats in quiet little cubby holes. Basically, if you ever want to ‘work from pub’ this is the place to go. KL

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The Pineapple, Kentish Town
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Kentish Town
  • price 1 of 4

Sometimes all you need to make a lazy afternoon feel properly, properly relaxing is a bit of me-time cuddling your dog. The Pineapple positively encourages you to bring in your furry kid while you chill out in the venue’s quiet, retro conservatory. KL

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