April 12 is tantalisingly close, the weather’s looking up, and we’re looking forward to that first crisp sip of chilled beer in an actual, honest-to-god London pub garden. We’ve got an extensive list of the city’s best here, but we thought we’d pull out a few choice examples to whet/wet your appetite. Also, you might want to get planning. The rate that beer gardens are getting booked at right now is making headlines. Gather your crew and get cracking.
The Canonbury Tavern, Islington
A regular haunt of local resident George Orwell, this was one of three boozers to provide him with inspiration for ‘The Moon Under Water’, an essay on the criteria for the perfect London pub. He might not recognise it now, mind you. In the walled garden, you can lounge on a designer rattan sofa while sipping a cold draft beer from the outdoor bar (which also serves bottled beers plus a handful of wines and spirits). Need to tame your hunger? The full length of the smart menu (which ranges from burgers with cheese, pickles and fries, to meat and two veg) is available to eat in the glorious outdoors. Reopens April 12
The Guildford Arms, Greenwich
This back-street Greenwich boozer is far enough away from the Cutty Sark/park/river to mean it’s mostly well-heeled locals propping up the bar (figuratively speaking atm). Out the back is a spectacular garden, a contender for the best in the city. There’s decking on multiple levels, tables, trees and lighting; high walls shield the grassy expanse from the surrounding streets but allow plenty sunlight in to nourish the verdant borders. A cracking place for an alfresco drink. Reopens April 12
The People’s Park Tavern, Victoria Park
Whatever you do, do NOT just pop in here for ‘a quick pint’ – this forward-thinking destination takes its beer seriously, with an onsite micro-brewery producing cask-conditioned ‘People’s Pints’, and a taproom serving around 70 world beers. It’s not a hallowed, beard-stroking sort of vibe, though. The hacienda-style garden sees to that. It backs on to Victoria Park (the titular ‘people’s park), and offers an outdoor kitchen and a fantastic selection of drinks. It’s basically like drinking in the park, but without the annoyance of having to periodically wander around looking for a loo/bush. Bliss. Reopens April 12
The Prince, West Brompton
This big ol’ comfy corner pub in south-west London has become a bit of a food hall/pub hybrid. Grab street food from Boludo, Filth & Co and others and wash it all down with frozen margaritas. The owners are calling the unexpected space at the back of the pub ‘London’s largest beer garden’, which is a bold claim for sure. But given its aircraft-hangar size and its retractable roof, it may be borne out by the evidence. Either way, it’s a great spot for an outdoor pint or three. Reopens April 12
The White Hart, Stoke Newington
‘Stokey’s biggest beer garden’ brags The White Hart, and, to be fair, it is a handsome one. Throughout the summer months, this great open space really comes into its own, with its two tiers (one patioed, one lawned) offering plenty of scope for locals to relax and refresh. The outdoor bar serves bottled beers, wines and cocktails, while the bar menu of sharing plates large and small (plus plenty of poshed-up pub staples) is also available alfresco. Reopens April 12
Alexandra Palace is not technically a pub, but it does have a massive beer terrace.
Hungry? Try our pick of outdoor dining in the capital.