Euan Ferguson is Time Out's former London Senior Commissioning Editor and Deputy Chief Sub Editor.
The 100 best bars and pubs in London: after work drinks
Choosing the right bars and pubs for after work drinks in London can be a tricky task. You want to impress your co-workers, but you want to beat the post-work crowds. In our list below, we've selected trendy craft beer bars and pubs, popular wine bars and straightforward cool bars for you and your colleagues to settle in for an after work session. It's nearly 5pm, right? RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London
The 100 best bars and pubs in London: special occasions
London has the swankiest hotel bars and some very fine cocktail bars fit for celebrating all kinds of special occasions. So whether it's a birthday, anniversary or just some jolly good news you're raising a glass to, we recommended you get yourself a spot at London's best bars and pubs for a special occasion. RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London
The 100 best bars and pubs in London: nights out
London provides the ultimate backdrop for a big night out on the town. We've selected some glitzy drinking destinations, so whether you're aiming for sophisticated cocktail bars or planning on partying hard at London's cool bars, you can treat the below list as your party planner. RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London
The 100 best bars and pubs in London: daytime drinking
Sometimes you need to find a hostelry suitable for daytime drinking in London. Whether you're gathering friends together for an all-day session in one of London's best beer gardens, planning to make the most of a lazy afternoon at a picturesque riverside pub or just stopping in for a quick half in one of London's best real ale pubs, the list below should present some solid options. RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London
The 100 best bars and pubs in London: the full list
Looking for a tipple in London town? Browse our list of the very best bars and pubs London has to offer. We've divided them up by area for your ease, so head north, south, east, west or stick with central London for impressive local boozers, lively cocktail bars, pubs for a cool craft beer or sophisticated wine bars. You'll find them all and so much more below. Happy drinking! RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London
The best craft beer in London
There was a time when if you wanted a drink in London, you had just two options: foetid water straight from the Thames, or regular lager. Then the craft beer revolution took hold, and suddenly we were spoilt for delicious choice. London’s dozens of brewers make hundreds of awesome ales, from cab-black stouts to Boris-barnet blondes. So here’s our pick of 30 of the best beers made within the M25 and available in London's best bars and pubs and bottle shops. Happy drinking. RECOMMENDED: Find the best craft beer from around the UK
The top ten bars and pubs in London
We've already served up our top 100 bars and pubs in London. Now it's time for last orders. Here's Time Out's Euan Ferguson with his selection of the ten best bars and pubs the capital has to offer. Don't forget to take a look at the bars and pubs you voted as champions in the people's top ten bars and pubs in London. RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London
The ten best signature drinks in London
Cocktail menus can be overwhelming, with all the puntastic tipple titles and fancy foams, vapours and distillations. If you really need to know what to drink in London, here's a good place to start. We've gathered up the best signature serves from some of our favourite cocktail bars in London. RECOMMENDED: Discover the 50 best cocktail bars in London
Limmy interview: daft punk
1 Limmy gets about, comically speaking On his CV Limmy could boast about the 85 episodes of his 2006 ‘World of Glasgow’ podcast, 131 YouTube videos, 58 million Vine loops, an astonishing 29,000 tweets, regular webcam improvs, an Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, two series of his BBC Scotland TV show and a Christmas special – plus now his ‘Daft Wee Stories’ book, a collection of inspired musings about the mundane and the fantastical. He’s also put in guest appearances on ‘The IT Crowd’ and Matt Lucas’s ‘Pompidou’ as well as having a regular slot on Charlie Brooker’s ‘Weekly Wipe’. Polymath? Hardest-working man in showbiz? ‘I think on my passport form I described myself as “entertainer”,’ he says, ‘filling it in, in a Post Office or something. I felt like I should be doing jazz hands when I wrote that, but I don’t do anything else really.’ 2 He was a troll back when trolls still lived under bridges Back in the mid-noughties, internet users (then still known as ‘surfers’) began sharing a grainy video of a man repeatedly prank calling an unseen young girl with sinister demonic invocations. ‘Hello, is your daughter there? Requiem!’ It was sick, it was outrageous, it was unacceptable… It was fake. People bit, though, and the Limmy legend was born. Since then, he’s been a professional wind-up merchant of the highest order, baiting Chris Brown’s #teambreezy (‘That feeling when you see Chris Brown is trending but it isn’t because he has died :( ’) as well as Caitlin Moran via her husba
The 100 best bars and pubs in London: on a budget
We may have named them the best bars and pubs in London, but that doesn't mean that a trip to them is out of the realms of possibility when you're drinking on a budget. On our list below you'll find fun craft beer bars and pubs and real ale havens that are totally affordable and highly desirable boozing options. RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London
The 100 best bars and pubs in London: family-friendly
While some London hostelries are overrun by the young crowd, these from our list of London’s best bars and pubs are fit for any family outing. Whether you wish to take the kids out for Sunday lunch or you want to enjoy the comfort of a civilised beer garden with your mum and dad, this list below should provide plenty of choice. RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London
Listings and reviews (11)
The Hour Glass
In the posh-shop-big-museum nexus around South Kensington, a nice old pub with nice old tiles has been scrubbed up by a couple of lads who own the nearby Brompton Food Market: a grocer, butcher, deli and fishmonger. So as you’d expect, food is a major part of their new venture, but they’ve had the sense to make sure the Hour Glass remains a pub at heart. So the ground floor is a pleasant spot with plenty of standing, leaning and sitting room to enjoy an ale. Beer lovers needn’t waste their time with the stuff in the fridge. There are a couple of decent ones on tap, though maybe a G&T or glass of wine would be more appropriate. There’s a solid selection of proper bar snacks too, including Cumberland scotch eggs and pork pies. And it’s upstairs that the real food action happens, in a handsome dining room with sparkling glasses and linen crisp and white as a Royal Hospital counterpane. Some tables have a jolly view out over Brompton Road, and up here diners can tuck into British dishes that are served with real attention to detail: chips like crispy ingots, flatiron steak dotted with roasted marrow, wood pigeon with pickled quince and black pudding. The Hour Glass is maybe more successful as a pub-with-food than a plain old pub, but the separate eating space makes it a great spot for a pint anyway.
4 out of 5 stars
Another week, another new Brewdog bar opening in London – that’s how it sometimes seems. The Scottish brewery’s Dog Eat Dog hotdog bar opened in Islington a few weeks ago, and now this central spectacular in the heart of Soho joins its roster of branches in every corner of town. No great surprises in the styling, which has the same prison-yard chainlink-and-concrete thing as the other bars. No surprises in the craft beer selection, either – it’s typically great. Twenty taps represent Brewdog (we enjoyed the limited-edition Hop Fiction at £2.80 a half) and there is a healthy influx of guests. San Diego’s Stone brewery had an Anniversary IPA at £4.70 a third, which might seem extravagant but was worth it, exploding with fragrant Pacific Northwest hops. There’s something for the hesitant lager fan as well as the dedicated explorer of craft beer’s outer reaches. What was surprising at Brewdog Soho, however, was the food. We’re used to pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, things served in plastic trays with checked greaseproof paper. Here, it’s subtle, seasonal, light, vegetable-heavy: someone here can really cook. There was a jar of lightly pickled ‘market’ veg, a small plate of pearl barley and wild mushrooms, an avocado salad with micro herbs. Maybe not traditionally booze-friendly food, but it cements this new bar’s position as more than just another post-work beerathon.
Please note, Chicken Town has now closed. Time Out Food editors, December 2017. Fried chicken. In London it’s schoolkid crack, peddled in plain sight up and down high streets everywhere. It’s a toxic synthesis of salt, fat and capitulated meat that sends our city’s boroughs flying up the obesity tables with every mouthful. (It’s also the bane of urban dog-walkers, as anyone who has felt that tug-tug-tug on the lead accompanied by the canine crunching of discarded pavement bones will be able to attest to.) As a food, it has a monopoly on certain of our postcodes. London runs on fried chicken in the way it used to run on oysters. And like oysters, fried chicken has been reappraised for the discerning set. All over London new poultry purveyors have opened claiming their birds’ range to be the free-est, their buttermilk soaking to be the most luxurious, their batter to be the crispiest this side of the Atlantic. Every day, it’s a battle of the birds. Tottenham’s Chicken Town is a chicken shop, but it’s different. For a start, it’s non-profit, which is tantamount to communism in 2015’s London. The chicken is free-range. It’s steamed, then quickly fried to crisp up the coating (and is, by the way, delicious). Sides include the likes of sweet potato wedges and kale – try asking for that in Delaware Fried Chicken. By night, it’s a restaurant proper, complete with sit-down menu and table service, but one that deliberatedly chosen not to be a yuppie hipster joint, but to appeal to the
The Good Egg
4 out of 5 stars
Last year a trendy brunch spot called Bad Egg opened in the City. This one is no relation and doesn’t have much to do with eggs – but it is good, very good. From the slatted bench that runs round one wall, it’s interesting to sit and contemplate what an efficient job the owners have done with a small space – it’s compact but not packed, stylish but not slavishly so, with an open kitchen, bar, high stools and central service stations all fitted in. A bit of uncertain service was forgiven on this early-days visit, especially once the food started arriving. ‘Plates’ are Middle Eastern-influenced, a real trend at the moment, but it’s convincing. Preserved lemon and feta came on cocktail sticks in a tapas dish, sprinkled with fiery flaked chilli, an update of that ’70s party-nibble favourite cheddar and pineapple. An Iraqi pita had fried aubergine, chopped egg and mango pickle inside airy bread; best of all was za’atar fried chicken – spicy, crunchy and practically competition for your local Chicken Cottage at £5.50. (Everything’s good value – two of us left full after a couple of drinks each for less than £50.) There are bigger dishes like Persian smoked brisket or whole roast cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate. It’s open all day, with tempting-looking breakfasts ensuring this little space will before long be full morning to night. In a city where too often a new restaurant opening leaves us scratching our heads wondering ‘What were they thinking?’, Good Egg seems to have cr
4 out of 5 stars
The bicycle is the pinnacle of simple but effective human design. It has evolved from nineteenth-century push-along hobby horses through patently ridiculous penny farthing ‘ordinaries’ to the ubiquitous epitome of functionality it is today. So how do you improve on perfection? And why would you want to? This new exhibition at the Design Museum doesn’t answer those questions, but gives us plenty to think about. It’s not just a display of cool bikes, although obsessives can get within touching distance of some of the most iconic machines of the last 100 years. There’s Eddy Merckx’s steel lightweight that he used to smash the 1972 Hour Record, looking now like something you’d see locked up outside a pub. Compare this to the priceless modified Pinarello that Bradley Wiggins rode for the Paris-Roubaix race this year, with Flanders mud still on the chainstays, or perhaps the most unrecognisably high-tech bike ever, Chris Boardman’s 1992 Lotus Type 108. But it’s not all so competitive. There’s an appearance from the Spacehopper of the bike world, the Raleigh Chopper. The exhibition is arranged around four ‘tribes’: as well as the High Performers above, there are the mountain bikes and BMXs of Thrill Seekers, Cargo Bikers, who transport goods (or kids) on their workhorse cycles, and plain old Urban Riders, which is probably most of us. London is well represented, with a courier’s battered runabout, a Brompton (made in Kew) and a heavy-but-handy Boris Bike. It’s all presented in cont
Dog Eat Dog
4 out of 5 stars
Hot dogs used to be up there with Spam and jellied eels as foods that really needed a PR boost. Before their recent gentrification in London, you suspected they were made with minced eyelids and arseholes, sweepings from the abbatoir floor. They needed half a bottle of mustard to taste of anything. They had that springy, alive skin encasing sinister smooth meat. But Scottish brewery Brewdog is no stranger to PR boosts. When founded in 2006 it was one of the progenitors of the British craft beer scene, and since then it’s used bold marketing to become the fastest-growing food and drinks company in the UK. Proof of the relentless expansion: Brewdog has opened two bars in London in the last few weeks, taking the total to six. This one in Islington is slightly different, however: it gives hot dogs equal billing with their own range of fearsomely fearless craft beers, including the floral Hop Fiction and the full-on Jackhammer IPA, and a small but carefully selected range of guests (look for Modern Times’s amazing pint cans from San Diego). The dogs (hot, not Brew) are great: pork, veg, beef options, and a few more unusual ones like a ‘voodoo’ dog with pineapple salsa and spring onions, or the tandoori chicken dog with mango chutney and raita. The bar follows the general Brewdog prison-yard visual theme, with chainlink detailing, bare concrete and bulbs. It’s a no-nonsense 21st-century beer hall, but somehow a surprisingly cosy place to explore the craft beer world. Have we rea
4 out of 5 stars
As one of the first of the new wave of London craft beer bars, The Jolly Butchers has stood the test of time well. It’s dated by a few dodgy design details from the most recent refurb (those lights above the bar with the faces on, for instance, although thankfully the Fornasetti wallpaper is gone), and the rip-everything-out openness of the Victorian-era room can make it a bit clattery and cold (physically, at least). But there’s no problem with the atmosphere as jolly Stokey drinkers pack in for the excellent beers, which place an emphasis on British breweries and give cask and keg equal standing. There are also healthy portions of good pub grub.
4 out of 5 stars
Tucked beneath a brick-lined railway arch with a vibrant neon sign giving away its presence, Pelt Trader is the kind of spartan drinking hole you'd expect to find in a south-east hipster hotspot. But it's actually in the heart of the City, directly beneath Cannon Street station – and it’s far more than a pre-train commuters’ tanking house. This craft beer goldmine is one of the best you'll find in the Square Mile, with 16 taps offering a selection of beers that changes every few days. You'll always find a Kernel pale ale and something from Beavertown on the list, alongside an affordable König pilsner that's a favourite with the suited punters who spill out on to the pavement each night after work. Plus, if it all gets a bit much and the selection proves too tempting, there's a fine range of pizzas to soak it all up.
3 out of 5 stars
You can usually spot a refurbed Young’s pub a mile off, and it’s not just the brewery’s own beers on the bar. Those ales were London through-and-through for almost two centuries until 2006, when the historic brewery moved from Wandsworth to Bedford. The Young’s pubs remain, though, and while they’re never groundbreaking or thrilling, they’re straightforwardly reliable: a bit like their beers. The Coborn is on an attractive street just off the motorway that is the Mile End Road, in the middle of a terrace of perfectly preserved nineteenth-century houses. (It’s come a long way since Jarvis Cocker sang: ‘It’s a mess alright.’) The pub used to be a salt-of-the-earth East End boozer with a dartboard and bags of character, but like many Young’s pubs, it’s had a stylistically non-specific-but-probably-pricey makeover, a mishmash of textures, knick-knacks and furnishings. It’s all a bit Kirstie Allsopp. But it’s a pleasant place to be: there’s a smartly parasolled area out front on the quiet Coborn Road, and inside it’s bright and comfortable, with better beers than other company pubs (Honest Brew’s NZ session ale, say, at £4.25, or some of the last few cans in London of Beavertown’s blood orange IPA at £5.25). Food is decent, and is more of a priority now: a selection of British pub dishes with a few smarter twists, such as an English charcuterie board, or fishcakes with sprouting broccoli and parsley sauce. Young’s is investing in its licensed property portfolio (sorry, pubs), turn
4 out of 5 stars
It’s got a cycle-related name, for sure, and its strapline is ‘coffee, burgers, cycling’, but on visiting this new Holloway Road pub conversion, it’s a bit tricky to tell where the bike connection is. There’s no workshop, no big screen showing cycling events, no bike gear on sale, not even any themed decoration. There are no indoor racks either – mine was the only bike in evidence, and I had to just leave it in a corner which, in a busy place, wasn’t ideal. So is Spoke just a shameless attempt to cash in on London’s cycling boom? Maybe, but all the same it’s a great place whether you arrive on two feet or two wheels (or four – there were plenty of prams). The former pub has been brightened up and fitted with an open kitchen at the centre of the action. Chefs knock out brunch classics, a few specials (pork shoulder sandwich, macaroni cheese) and the abovementioned burgers: beef, chicken or a prawn po’ boy sandwich, which is a Deep South classic made here with wasabi mayonnaise. As well as a serious coffee offer (filter is ‘coming soon’, we were told in May 2014), there’s wine and beer – making this a place to linger. But it’s no pitstop if you’re on a bike.
The Bar at the Dorchester
4 out of 5 stars
Rows of waiting limos complete with bored newspaper-reading drivers line the streets around the Dorchester: it’s that sort of hotel. But even those who have schlepped on foot from the tube can breeze in past the doormen to the bar, just off the palm-lined and gilded ‘Promenade’ (home to the Promenade Bar, the Dorchester’s other drinking option). There are many five-star hotels in Mayfair, but the Dorchester, opposite Park Lane, has a real cachet, and the bar is a beauty. It’s dark, moody, internationally sexy – once inside you could be anywhere in the world – and provides a luxurious atmosphere in which to relax after a meal at the venerable Grill at the Dorchester. Red glass stalagmites provide a dramatic counterpoint to the sleek curved bar, and the array of premium spirits are mixed into ‘forgotten classic’ cocktails like the Ramos Fizz or Raffles Gin Sling. Much is made of the gin and tonics, but, for £13, there are better tonics than Schweppes to serve – no Fevertree or Q Tonic?). But given the constantly refilled honey-roast nuts and superb olives, and properly suave service, this is a better sort of place for a better sort of London drinking experience. Please note, The Bar at The Dorchester now stocks Fever-Tree tonic. Time Out London Editors, February 2018.
25 reasons London is the beer capital of the world
Decline the wine, bin the gin: the capital is now the very best place in the world to be drinking beer, and we've got 25 reasons to prove it. 1. This is a golden age of beer Ten years ago, London beer meant a pint of Pride and not much else. We were a city in love with pallid Continental lager. We had lost our identity! But in 2015, you probably have a favourite brewery, a favourite pale ale and a favourite place to drink it. Every week, someone chucks in their dull job and says, 'I want to be a brewer.' Every week, a pub realises that Carling Extra Cold leaves us cold - we just want something made in Hackney or Penge or Wimbledon. We really, really love London beer. 2. And it really is bloody delicious! None of this cheerleading would matter if everything tasted a bit meh. But have you tried The Kernel's incredible Double Mosaic IPA? Or Weird Beard's Tsujigiri, infused with Asian yuzu citrus? Frankly, we're embarrassed to have ever allowed the likes of Budweiser to pass our lips. 3. London has been swimming in the stuff for centuries In the thirteenth century, monks at St Paul's brewed 67,814 gallons of beer a year to be lapped up by thirsty Londoners. Henry VIII's Hampton Court entourage necked 13,000 pints every day. Many styles we love originated here - porter kept our city's 'hardworking people' working hard in the 1700s, IPA was brewed to be shipped to the colonies. You're welcome, world. 4. In fact, the PM's pad used to be a brewery The earliest known building on the s
Taste the rainbow at Beavertown this Saturday
Confirming what many of us have known for years, the best beer in the world is made right here in London: Tottenham's Beavertown was last week voted Supreme Champion Brewer in the 2015 International Beer Challenge. Quite a mouthful – but the mouthful you really need to care about is the tasty, tasty beer made up there in N17, and it's about to get even tastier. The Beavertown taproom is always open on Saturdays, pouring the whole range plus a few exclusives; this weekend it's hosting the third international Rainbow Project, which pairs up British brewers with their American cousins to make a beer inspired by one of those ROYGBIV colours. It's like pen pals, but with none of the awkwardness. For beer geeks, this is worth getting frothed up about: the last two Rainbow Projects have produced some of the year's most exciting beers. For non-beer geeks, it's a still great reason to go and try some genuinely groundbreaking brews: how does Siren and Surly's seaweed and cloudberry gose sound (that's Blue, by the way), or Hawkshead and Crooked Stave's natural yogurt lactose-infused sour golden ale (Green)? The US brewers are also bringing over a few kegs of some of their own rare beers, many of which will have never been seen on our shores; it's a chance to spend what will probably be one of the last sunny Saturdays of the year sitting outside sipping beer and tucking into street food from Tiberi, Hoxton Beach and Prairie Fire BBQ. All together: 'Red and yellow and pink and green…' Be
Raise a glass at London Beer City festival
It might seem at the moment as if every week in London is beer week, but we're right in the midst of a seven-day stretch that's beerier than most. Pitched perfectly between a piss-up and a lecture series, London Beer City is a celebration of everything that makes that malt-and-hop beverage so special. Until Sunday August 16, events include a short course on brewing your own beer at Highbury Brewhouse & Kitchen, a brewing-history tour of Brick Lane, and a focus on food and beer matching. Loads of London breweries are hosting open days, meet-the-brewers or live-brewing events, and perhaps the froth on the pint, so to speak, is the celebration-within-a-celebration that is London Beer Festival at Oval Space (Thursday August 13 until Sunday August 16). From Brick in Peckham to Redchurch in Bethnal Green, from By The Horns in Wimbledon to Temple Brew House in the Strand, breweries all over London are taking part to ensure this festival is perhaps the biggest craft beer jolly ever seen in London. Some events are free, but the rest are priced individually – check the website, clear the next day in your diary and dive in. London Beer City is on until Sun Aug 16. Thirsty? Check out the best craft beer bars and pubs in London.
Happy beerday: Camden Town brewery is turning five
You probably can't remember your fifth birthday party; if you can, it's likely you're not old enough to even drink beer. And there's no way that your fifth birthday party, even if it involved cakes and clowns and games and presents and sweets and fancy dress, would be as fun as this one will be. Yes, Camden Town brewery has reached half a decade, and it's packed a lot in to those years: you can now buy its faultlessly drinkable lagers, pale ales and stouts all over the city (and the world). So to celebrate, it's throwing a pretty major street party at its premises on a secluded cobbled lane under Kentish Town West Overground station. There will be burgers from Byron, bike cleaning from Lunar Cycles and coffee from The Fields Beneath and, of course, loads of lovely beer. Plus, you can even bring your own five-year-old, whether it's human (there will be a bouncy castle, balloons and cakes!) or canine (posh dog treat brand Lily's Kitchen is bringing a stall). 55 Wilkin St Mews, NW3 3NN. Kentish Town West Overground. Sat Jul 18, from noon. Free. Image: Rob Greig Thirsty? Take a look at the ten most pleasantly surprising pubs on the London tube pub challenge
July 7 ten years on: Dr Peter Holden remembers his experience
On July 7, 2005, London was hit by four suicide bombs: three on the Underground and one on a bus. Fifty-two people were killed, and 700 more were injured. Today, on the tenth anniversary of the bombings, we're publishing first-hand accounts from people who were profoundly involved. Dr Peter Holden was at the British Medical Association in Tavistock Square when the bomb was detonated on the number 30 bus ‘On July 7 2005 I was supposed to visit the Law Society for a meeting, but my schedule was changed and I had to stay back at BMA House. That was fateful. ‘At 9.47am I was working on the third floor. Suddenly everything went pink: that was the pressure wave hitting us. Then we heard the bang. There were three or four of us in the room, and we all looked at one another and said: “That has to be a bomb.” ‘I could see a cloud of white smoke and debris; the tree canopy in the square had gone. What else could it be? At that time it hadn’t been officially announced that there had been earlier explosions on the Underground. But I could hear so many sirens in the city, and the Royal London Hospital helicopter was hovering overhead for a long time. The building’s security guy tried to evacuate us, but I said: “We’ve got work to do. We’re staying.” ‘I’ve been a major incident commander since 1989. I’ve been trained in how to respond to such situations, except normally I’d be deployed to the scene, not be part of it. That day I was the right guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dow