Food & Drink

We tracked down the best pub in every neighbourhood

Published On 05/20/2014 Published On 05/20/2014
The Best Pub in Every Neighbourhood
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London, noun:
A collection of pubs (loosely connected by shops, parks, and astoundingly expensive broom closets).

Given their extensive history and cultural omnipresence in the capital, it’s actually weirdly difficult to say just what exactly makes a good pub. Sometimes it’s the atmosphere. Sometimes it’s the drinks. Sometimes it’s whether or not they have those delicious crinkle-cut crisps, and if there is any salt & vinegar left. So in our investigations, we were acutely aware of just how contentious the issue is... but were also sufficiently loaded to get over it. So, without any further ado, we present the best pub in every neighbourhood.

*Note: in order to keep things vaguely reasonable on the length/our livers, we restricted things roughly to Zones 1 & 2.

Flickr user Ewan Munro

Covent Garden

Princess Louise
With a catacomb of little mini-rooms, this segmented Victorian-styled pub has a certain charm that's hard to beat. While being generally busy, you never feel over-crowded, keeping things as intimate or not, as you want it to be. A Sam Smith pub, it also helps that the pints are cheap as chips (which they also have!), especially for this particular neighborhood.

Soho

French House
An institution in Soho, this tiny pub has been doing its thing since 1910, with an assortment of characters (military, artists, celebrities, etc.) drifting through its doors. Although it's on the smaller side, with the crowd always spilling out onto the street, they sell more Ricard than anywhere else in Britain and  only serves half-pints (of their own house beer) -- except on April Fool's when Suggs from Madness always serves the first pint.

The White Cross

Richmond

The White Cross
Set right up on the banks of  the river, this classy drinkery completely comes into its own in good weather -- in fact, it's so close to the river's edge, that  when the tide comes in, they literally provide  wellies for people to get in. Add to that a solid wine list, real ales,  guest brews, epic roasts, and a dog-friendly policy, and you have the best pub in Richmond.

Greenwich

The Greenwich Union
The spiritual home of the Meantime Brewery, they raise the banner for good beer, no matter where it's from, offering over 60 brews besides their own, making it one of the widest ranges available in London -- and that's not to mention the top-shelf food, atmosphere, and staff.

Flickr user Ewan Munro

Putney

The Bricklayer's Arms
Built in 1826 (and officially the oldest pub in Putney) these guys have twice been awarded as CAMRA National Pub of the Year -- meaning if you want real ale, then this spot should be at the top of your list. They also have a regular schedule of beer festivals, a great beer garden to get into in the Summer, and two open fires (for the rest of the year).

Churchhill Arms

Notting Hill

The Churchill Arms
Almost two pubs in one, the Churchill has a business in the front, party in back mentality. Beyond the allergy neutron bomb that is the exterior, there's a textbook old-school pub ambiance/beer list... but step through to the garden and suddenly you’re in a Southeast-Asian courtyard with some of the best damn Thai food in town. Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?

The Admiral Codrington

Chelsea

The Admiral Codrington
Thanks to their patty-obsessed Head Chef Fred Smith, the Codrington's burgers are some of the finest in the city (country? World?!). Pair that with great service, a surprisingly unpretentious clientele (it is Chelsea after all), and rotating guest beers, and you've got a winner.

The Windmill

Mayfair

The Windmill
When your pub's Pie Club has 6,000 members (your pub does have a pie club, doesn't it?), you know they take their pastry-cased meats very, very seriously. But pies alone do not a great pub make -- it's the huge beer selection, beer taster menus, and great service that do that.

Duke of Cambridge

Angel

The Duke Of Cambridge
Tucked down a side street away from the crowds of shoppers, this light and airy pub has always been ahead of the times: everything they serve is organic, sustainable, and seasonal. Not only does that make for some pretty great food, but apparently organic booze gives less of a hangover, which is a theory that many a layman is nobly willing to personally test.

The Lock Tavern

Camden

The Lock Tavern
Located across from the stable markets, this pub is kind of a classic, and therefore kind of a shoe-in, but for good reason. It pretty much has it all: a beer garden, roof terrace, amazing food, good selection of booze, upstairs live music venue, great playlist, and pretty people to watch.

St. Peter's Brewery Co. Ltd

Farringdon

The Jerusalem Tavern
Sure, it’s only open Monday-Friday, but let's be honest -- that's almost all of Farringdon for you. Some form of this particular business has been in the area since the 14th century (!!), and this exact location since 1720. Owned by St. Peter's Brewery, which specializes in using all British ingredients for their brews, they also have great food that is a cut above almost all else.

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The City

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Having been open since the dawn of time itself (which, for our purposes is 1538), The Cheese has seen the rise and fall (literally and figuratively) of many a great drinker, including Mark Twain & Charles Dickens. And being so old, not only does it embody the qualities of a great pub, but it pretty much helped to define them.

©Chris Whippet

Shoreditch

The Commercial Tavern
Slapped on the Eastern edge of Spitalfields Market, the CT's basically a very old-fashioned pub that's been one-upped with very modern touches; mismatched chairs, crazy wallpaper, cuckoo clock, etc., which actually make for a pretty great pub. It's fun, has some great cocktails, a decent beer selection, and a very music-driven atmosphere.

The Haggerston

Dalston

The Haggerston
Cheap, delicious pizzas. Beer garden out back. Jazz night on Sundays. The Haggerston feels laid-back and fun, and does it without too many Dalston haircuts rolling their eyes. Also? They have crafts like Delirium and Cristal on tap.

The Prince of Wales

Clapham

The Prince of Wales
This place hit the notes of old-school charm (beautiful wooden & brass fittings) with modern flourishes (stuffed animals adorn the walls) perfectly. For atmosphere alone, it's the best pub in the area, and although the beer list could be extended a mite, they make up for it by furnishing a pizza menu from the top-shelf delivery service next door.

Flickr user Matt Brown

Brixton

White Horse
An old favorite to the area, White Horse has a strong musical lilt w/ regular DJ listings buttressed by a 3am license on weekends, along with a full food menu, and a decent beer list -- as if to shore up their local cred even further, they even accept local currency, the Brixton Pound, with a discount for anyone who uses it.

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1. Princess Louise 208 High Holborn, Holborn, London, WC1V 7BW (Holborn)

This segmented Victorian-style pub has a variety of small rooms within it, which helps even out even the largest crowds to make it feel like comfortable environs to enjoy a cold pint.

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2. French House 49 Dean St, London, W1D 5BG (Soho)

Boasting over 30 champagne and wine options by the glass, this Soho hotspot is home to actors, artists, and British royalty alike. Rub shoulders with some of Soho's elite while noshing on pork rillettes and ogling at showbiz wonders.

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3. The White Cross Riverside, Surrey, London, TW9 1TH (Richmond)

This classy watering hole is a must-go during good weather; it sits right on the river, has a solid wine list, and a variety of brews. And epic roasts? Yep, they have those too.

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4. The Greenwich Union 56 Royal Hill, , London, SE10 8RT (Greenwich)

Helping to lift the bags… under your eyes this porter will be available tomorrow, and tomorrow only at the Greenwich Union; the product of a collb between Meantime & some Germans in from the famed Weyermann brewery, it's an ultra-smoky take on the classic London Porter, made w/ six different malts.

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5. The Bricklayer's Arms 32 Waterman St, Putney, London, SW15 1DD (Wandsworth)

Built in 1826, this award-winning drinkery is officially the oldest pub in Putney. How have they lasted so long? A solid ale list, a regular schedule of beer festivals, and a enjoyable beer garden in the Summer, that's how.

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6. The Churchill Arms 119 Kensington Church St, Kensington, London, W8 7LN (Notting Hill)

This old-school Notting Hill pub is absolutely covered with colorful flower arrangements on the outside (allergic folks beware), and the inside is even more enjoyable with their large selection of beers and classic pub ambience, which has managed to hang around since it was built in 1750.

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7. The Admiral Codrington 17 Mossop St, Chelsea, London, SW3 2LY (Chelsea)

This Chelsea establishment covers all its bases, whether you want a tasty burger, a glass of wine, a craft 'tail, or pint of cold beer.

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8. The Windmill 6-8 Mill St, London, W1S 2AZ (Mayfair)

There's plenty to love about this pub, but its best aspect is the pie. The Windmill serves up a variety of the golden brown buggers, the best of which is their steak and kidney pie, which has won numerous national awards.

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9. The Duke of Cambridge 30 St. Peter's St, London, N1 8JT (Islington)

Tucked down a side street away from the crowds of shoppers, this light and airy pub has always been ahead of the times: everything they serve is organic, sustainable, and seasonable. That makes for knock-out food, and (apparently) organic booze gives less of a hangover!!!

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10. The Lock Tavern 35 Chalk Farm Rd, Camden Town, London, NW1 8AJ (Camden)

Located across from the stable markets, this pub has it all: a beer garden, roof terrace, amazing food, good selection of booze, and an upstairs live music venue.

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11. The Jerusalem Tavern 55 Britton St, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 5UQ (Clerkenwell)

Owned by St. Peter's Brewery (who specialize in using all British ingredients for their brews), the Jerusalem Tavern also has great food that is a cut above almost all else.

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12. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese 145 Fleet St, London, EC4A 2BU (The City)

There has been a pub at this location since 1538 and has served such famous patrons as Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. And the same things that kept them in business then keeps them in business now: a friendly atmosphere, cold brews, and tasty pies.

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13. The Commercial Tavern 142-144 Commercial St, Shoreditch, London, E1 6NU (Spitalfields)

Just on the trendy side of Spitalfields Market, this quirky pub has a decent beer selection, tasty 'tails, a pool table, and a brightly lit area for Summer or Winter alike.

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14. The Haggerston 438 Kingsland Rd, Dalston, London, E8 4AA

This Dalston haunt has everything you could want in a pub: cheap and tasty pizza, and outdoor area, and kick-ass jazz on Sunday nights.

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15. White Horse 94 Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1QN (Brixton)

An old favorite to the area, White Horse is one of those place that has a life of its own. It's great for chilled-out weekday drinking, which evolves into a bit more of a party atmosphere on the weekends, and the food always brings people coming back for more, and the crowd themselves are always good for a bit of people watching.

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16. The Prince of Wales 467-468 Brixton Rd, Brixton, SW9 8HH (Brixton)

Loaded with a million bars, a huge terrace, great kitchen, DJ's live music, debauched dancing, and a mega late license, this is your one stop shop south of the river. Get stuck in for the long haul or sneak off to Sovereign Loss, the speakeasy hiding upstairs.

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