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The best bar snacks in London

London's top bars and pubs put as much effort into their bar snacks as they do their drinks

By Ashleigh Arnott

The days when 'bar snacks' meant four packets of Scampi Fries are long gone. Now, London's top bars and pubs have upped their game to include twists on the classic pork pies and scotch eggs, as well as exciting small plates to complement that pint. We sampled a whole host of pub menus to bring you the very best bar snacks in London. Do you have a favourite pub or bar snack? Tell us about it in the comment box below. 

Drapers Arms - sausage roll
© Rob Greig

9. Pork and apple sausage roll at The Drapers Arms

Bars and pubs Gastropubs Barnsbury


Pastry and meat, two of the bar snack's major food groups, are expertly combined by The Drapers Arms's kitchen to form a topnotch sausage roll. In form, it is a giant version of the kind you can buy from the supermarket freezer aisle, which makes for an optimal ingredient ratio: more sausage than roll. The pork is laced with just enough fruit to offset its savouriness; the pastry is buttery and golden brown; a little pile of pickles provides a hint of crunch. The frozen heat-and-eat kind should be dead to you now.

The Empress - white bait
© Rob Greig

8. Whitebait and harissa aioli at The Empress

Restaurants Contemporary European Victoria Park


Proof that not all pub fuel needs a heavy helping of carbohydrate (but that the best ones are often deepfried), these plump little sprats have a very fine breadcrumb coating for a bit more bite. It also means they're all the better for scooping up plenty of the pink, gently spicy harissa mayonnaise that comes with them. If you'd always rather surf than turf, you'll fall for this combination hook, line and sinker.

Queen's Head - pork pie
© Rob Greig

7. Melton mowbray pork pie and piccalilli at The Queen's Head

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs King’s Cross


A true stalwart of the eat-with-beer canon, Melton Mowbray's finest has been lining stomachs since the eighteenth century. Its dense pork filling, succulent jelly and charmingly curvy sides (it's handraised, you know) combine to create a pukka product. At The Queen's Head, it's served with a chunky and terrifyingly yellow piccalilli that's a zingy sidekick to its pastry pal.

London Beer Dispensary- meat sticks
© Rob Greig

6. Meat sticks at The London Beer Dispensary

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Brockley


In a pub with no bar, you've got to accept that other things will also be taken back to basics. Which is not an issue at all when the basics are as tasty as these moreish meat treats. These soft, slender strips of salami will provide sustenance for even your most epic beer sessions.

Southampton Arms - roast pork bap
© Rob Greig

5. Roast pork bap at The Southampton Arms

Bars and pubs Pubs Gospel Oak


A fresh potato roll from a local bakery is crisped on a warming plate before being stuffed with a wedge of roast pork so thick that it probably constitutes twice your recommended daily meat intake. A dollop of apple sauce and garnish of warm, salty crackling are the icing on the proteinpacked cake. Forget dinner – just order another of these instead.

Hops and Glory - Androuet Cheese Board
© Rob Greig

4. Androuet cheese board at Hops & Glory

Bars and pubs Gastropubs Canonbury


Gone are the weekends of lager tops and Malibu and cokes. We're premium drinkers nowadays and, in this world of craft beer our sessions deserve a middle-class gapfiller. Spitalfields cheesemonger Androuet provides the seasonal goods for this board. That's a damn good start, but the really posh part comes as an accompaniment: there's no fancier preserve than quince jam.

Windsor Castle - cheese straws
© Rob Greig

3. Cheese, onion and mustard straws with apple chutney at The Windsor Castle

Bars and pubs Pubs Clapton


If 'Pimp My Ride' did bar snacks, this mammoth savoury twist would be our favourite. Crispy puff pastry hides a layer of wholegrain mustard, finely chopped onion and mature cheddar which oozes around the edges to form lacy dairy crisps. A pot of sweet apple chutney provides some sticky contrast and a sprig of watercress is your token bit of greenery. Giant nibbles FTW!

Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar - ox cheek nuggets
© Rob Greig

2. Ox cheek nuggets with kimchi dip at Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Spitalfields


We realise that these don't technically count as traditional pub grub. Because they come from a bar. But you won't give a damn once you've got a mouthful of these molten chunks of deep-fried heaven. Tender braised ox cheek, gooey Ogleshield cheese and fiery kimchi dip form an irresistible triumvirate of savoury flavours thatíll rule your pre-meal cravings for weeks.

Princess Victoria - scotch egg
© Rob Greig

1. Tamworth pork scotch egg at The Princess Victoria

Bars and pubs Shepherd’s Bush


Somehow the marvellous chefs at this handsome gastropub have found a way to turn the pork layer in their scotch egg into a juicy, herby meaty sensation. It arrives smugly cut in half to flaunt its flawlessly cooked middle, and there's a distinct lack of condiments. Because to put ketchup on this guy would be bar snack treason.

Something to wash it down?


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