Bars and pubs in Clerkenwell
The old red cow herself, if she wasn’t apocryphal, probably didn’t have a pleasant visit to this pub’s manor – Long Lane was an ancient cattle route to Smithfield meat market. You can see the cupolas, domes and reliefs of London’s temple of butchery through the front windows of this refurbed Victorian site, which no longer uses its antique ‘Ye Olde’ prefix and has turned its focus to serving very good beer.
Pristine mosaic tiling and etched glass scream ‘sensitive refurbishment’ from the moment you arrive at this stalwart. Inside, the dark wood bar is lined with pewter tankards (don’t expect to be given one if you want to drink outside); to the back is the Fox’s Den, a series of intimate booths used for both drinking and dining.
Find more amazing bars in London
Searching for the best bars and pubs in London? You're in the right place. The capital's drinking scene is one of the best in the world, with boundary-breaking cocktail bars taking mixed drinks to the next level, while traditional pubs bring you back down to earth in the best possible way. Here's our list of the 100 best bars and pubs in London.
From Fluid Movement, which brought us Purl and the Worship Street Whistling Shop, VOC occupies a smallish, cosy space in one of north London’s most restaurant-intensive precincts. The name derives from the Dutch East India Company, and there’s a nautical and historical theme to the drinks list. Punches based on old recipes figure large, though modern technology brings them right up to date. Playing it safe with the classics is by no means the inferior option, however, as textbook martinis and caipirinhas proved. It took us a while to get our drinks because of lack of staff behind the tiny bar (barely five feet long), and there’s no table service, so you have to queue. But no one seemed to mind. Interestingly, more people were drinking beer or wine than cocktails, at least on our visit. VOC now has a restaurant too, majoring on grilled meat.
Venue says: “New small plates introductory offers: two dishes £9, three dishes £12 and set menu £20 - Nibbles, two dishes, dessert & drink.”