The best pubs in Brixton
The Commercial is a pleasurable pub in which to spend some time. It’s one of the more modern Mitchells & Butlers pubs, mixing old-fashioned pub culture with new school pub cooking – a Veganuary menu is testament to that – and a comparatively enlightened approach to beer.
This second branch of the Craft Beer Company is on a busy street market next to Brixton rail station, facing the Brixton Recreation Centre. It’s a small bar, not very pub-like, with high stools to perch at small tables. If you prefer a bit more privacy, there’s space on the first floor where you can work your way through an array of lesser-known ales on tap, on keg, and by the bottle.
Let the Cranchor’s bright sign lure you in. This smart pub with its long bar has one of the mightiest beer selections on show. Visiting at off-peak times will allow you to spend time googling the niche breweries which feature among the many brews on tap and in bottle (or asking the helpful staff).
Four-pint pitchers of Red Stripe, ska turned up nice and loud, tip-top Guinness, jerk chicken and rice, unfeasibly friendly bar staff, two pull-down screens for sports – this is a real home from home for many Brixtonians, with more of an Afro-Caribbean community feel than many other watering holes found in the neighbourhood. Don’t miss the pub’s live jazz nights.
Its open windows facing the Front Line Brixton Ltd grocery store across Atlantic Road, the Lounge offers a relaxed retreat amid buzzy Brixtonia.
Large airy pubs with an outdoor terrace (even one adjacent to a busy bus route) and plenty of room for pushchairs are always going to be popular in this area.
On a charmingly old-fashioned square backing the main drag of Brixton you'll find this Young's pub. It's primed for slightly more peaceful pre-gig pints, even if it doesn't quite live up to its old-timey setting. It does, however, have all the components of a reliable boozer – a heated patio out front for smokers, a horseshoe bar for perching and plush armchairs to settle into for longer sessions – although its adorably rugged pub carpet has been ditched, presumably in favour of getting with the times.
Herne Hill’s The Half Moon pub – a cavernous pile and bona fide south London institution – has been given a sprucing by ubiquitous mega-brewery Fuller’s (though the live music aspect that made its name is conspicuously absent). It looks fab, and the selection of local craft beers is pretty strong, too.
The White Horse attracts an adult, professional but as-yet-unnested clientele happy to enjoy the generous opening hours. It’s all slightly clubby yet laid-back.