Ah, takeaway pints. I have consumed many in the months where regulations have allowed them, and while nothing compares to the traditional Glass On Lips, I’ve kind of developed a special fondness for the freedom they offer. Sipping a cold one while wandering around a pretty park or unlit back alley is a luxury I didn’t know I craved until now.
You’ve got two kinds of pubs doing them. The ones that have really considered packaging: some with lids and branding, others with eco-conscious cups (knowing that today’s pints are tomorrow’s London Fields litter). Then you’ve got the rustic folks, they’ve cash ’n’ carried a load of creaky plastic pint glasses and they’re serving lagers in them with a bit of cling film to curb spillage.
Both are brilliant. I’m not picky. I love sloshing along in various London parks, savouring each sip of glorious nectar. In fact, I reckon that when it comes to takeaway pints, I’ve drunk my way through hundreds now.
What I’ve learned from my commitment to the boozy art form? The surroundings very much make or break it. Here’s a couple of my fave places to grab a bev and go.
For a ‘catching up with friends’ pint: The People’s Park Tavern
My partner and I have had a few, er, messy nights here over the years and for that reason we avoid a sit-in situation at all costs. I do, however, have a group of dear friends that I like to meet at Victoria Park for a few laps, a catch up and often a quick drink. Just a little one, mind. There’s always a group of people gathered around the back entrance of this pub sipping takeaways. And if you can’t beat ’em, bloody join ’em, eh?
Soak up the booze: The Fish House in Victoria Park Village does a mean carton of crispy, squidgy-centred chips.
For an out-of-town pint: The Gardeners Arms
To my shame, I gave into my urges and bought a lockdown puppy. This puppy needs walks, lots of them. And when I’m tired of my local parks, I jump in my car (yes, privileged, I know) and head out to Epping Forest. The best part of this beautiful stroll is the walk back to the car past The Gardeners Arms, which is perched at the top of a hill with a banging view of London and some nice houses I can’t afford. This one’s a clingfilm guy, but it’s nice to mingle with Loughton locals and pretend I live there for a while.
Soak up the booze: The pub’s salt beef sandwich is always a winner.
For an ‘I shouldn’t be drinking today but I am’ pint: The Sir Alfred Hitchcock
As a resident of Wood Street (Walthamstow), I’m a regular picnicker at Hollow Pond nature reserve. If you’re not familiar with this space, it’s buzzing with birds and insects, more doggos than you can possibly smooch and loads of peeps leisurely rowing across the lake with cool bags full of beers. (It’s also home to an actual real black swan, FYI.) Camden Hells on ice don’t cut the mustard for me, though, so I like to grab a takeaway jar from The Sir Alfred Hitchcock on Whipps Cross Road, which is exactly opposite the ponds and is under friendly new management.
Soak up the booze: Walk for 20 minutes to Panda Dim Sum for cheap, good dumplings and a BYO booze vibe.
These all a bit too far east for you? Here’s our list of the best takeaway pints from across the city.
London’s 30 best pub gardens.