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Four types of hangouts in London for some serious alfresco boozing

Siobhan Warwicker

As soon as the mercury rises, no Londoner worth their salt would be seen drinking indoors. In this precious sunlight, out is always better than in. So no matter how dubious the boozer, you’ll find us there with bells if there’s chance to whip out the sunnies for an alfresco afternoon. Even these four:

The no-beer brigade

The sign outside the Chelsea bar was misleading. You enter the clearly labelled ‘beer garden’ like a warthog at the oasis, only to realise there’s not a pint in sight. Then it dawns on you: there aren’t even draught pumps. Sure, they pull out a couple of bottles from the fridge, but only with a look of disdain, you heathen. Sunny weather means Pimm’s in this neck of the woods, so join the big-haired club and embrace the sugary fruit cup.

The actual street

This VIP drinking area is so exclusive, the cordon is made of metal. Well, technically it’s a road railing - the only thing between you and three lanes of central London traffic. It’s obviously a top spot to enjoy the jealous looks of sweaty shoppers walking past: until one bumps  into your table, jolting your pint so that precious spilt nectar snakes its way purposefully to your lap. Karma’s a bitch.

The shaded garden

Like the Selfish Giant’s garden, even when it’s glorious outside the shade can be cold enough to freeze Jean Claude Van Damme’s pants. At the King’s Head there is one patch of sun shining upon a single table, as if it’s blessed by the Angel Gabriel himself. Don’t think you’ll get to sit there, though. A solitary old man who bagged the prize real estate nurses one pint until even the bees lose interest in the tepid liquid. All you can do is peep out longingly from your parka as his topless torso glistens in that sweet, sweet sunshine.

The craft pop-up 

If there are two things Londoners love, it's temporary stuff and the word ‘craft’. So even though this pop-up outdoor craft beer bar wasn’t here a week ago, everyone knows about it and are queuing to prove their adventurous palates from a menu of 83 brews. ‘What do you mean you thought I only drink Stella? Cactus-flavoured stout with a hint of chocolate has always been what I’m into, duh’.

Check out London's best beer gardens.

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