THE PUBS OF LONDON

This section is devoted to the best pubs in London… …

There are well over 4,000 pubs in Greater London. Despite the efforts of the big pub chains to clone their pubs into looking the same, so they are a little like going into a Macdonalds (bland and not very memorable) there are still a lot of good pubs with character left in London. In our opinion, we will recommend you to the best 300 pubs in London. As London is a big city, there are some areas that are stronger than others but we are working on it! All opinions are those of the authors when we have visited the pubs some recent, and some not so recent. As we are going for the top pubs most of the reviews are favourable, but we call it as we see it.

Why Real Ale?

Our favourite type of beer is real ale. This is a handpump beer served with no pressure. It’s a living beer which, while not hard to look after, does take a lot of time and effort to serve just right. If a landlord takes the time to serve good beer the chances are he will look after the rest of the pub as well. In our opinion, the best beer in the world is well kept real ale, but on the other side of the coin, the worst beer in the world is badly kept real ale. Which is why people tend to play it safe and drink bland pressure beer. If you get served a bad pint take it back. Most landlords are okay about that; after all why should you get gut rot just to keep them happy.

International Lager

If you look at the draught beer taps in most London pubs you will see international lagers from all over the world. These beers are mostly brewed in the UK by British brewers under licence and usually taste nothing like they do in their homeland. We are big fans of authentic lager, especially from Germany and the Czech Republic. If a pub stocks any interesting overseas beers we will mention it.

London Brewers

About 35 years ago most pubs in London and the UK were owned by the brewers as a way of guaranteeing outlets to sell their beer. The stock market over recent years now thinks there is more money in owning pubs than in brewing beer. Most of the big brewing companies have got out of brewing, and set up their own pub chains, letting other people brew their beer brands.

In London there is one independent family brewery that still brews and sells their beers in their own pubs. Fullers own over 350 pubs each in London and the South East, and serve their beers the traditional way.

Fullers

Griffin Brewery, Chiswick Lane South, Chiswick, London W4 2QB. Tel 0208-996 2000. Web site  www.fullers.co.uk

Founded in 1845, brewing excellent award winning beers. London is lucky to have such a world class brewery, in the city. Fullers do brewery tours. Just ring the number above. As they do tours every hour they should be able to fit you in. Tours cost £5, but you get drinks at the end of them. In my personal opinion Fullers beers taste better in their own pubs than in the free trade.

Beers (ABV = Alcohol by Volume)

Oliver’s Island- ABV-3.9%. Tasteless golden beer. Proof Fullers can brew a bad beer, and have not learned their lesson from Discovery which was a similar beer !

London Pride-ABV-4.1%. Outstanding best bitter- one of the best beers in the UK.

ESB-ABV-5.5%. ESB stands for extra special bitter- well named.  It is maybe a little too strong to drink all night but a great beer.

Seasonal beers-Chiswick Bitter, Jack Frost, Summer Ale, Red Fox, London Porter, Bengal Lancer IPA and Old Winter Ale..

Bottled beers-1845 Celebration Ale. ABV-6.3%. Brew for Fullers 150th anniversary is now a regular bottle conditioned beer. A great bottled beer.

Golden Pride-ABV-8.5%. Strong barley wine which is occasionally found on draught at Christmas time.

In November 2005 Fullers purchased Gales of Horndean. Gales were a family run brewery with 111 tied houses in the Portsmouth and Hampshire area. The brewery was closed in March 2006 and the brewing of Gales beer was transfer to Chiswick.

Gales beers; regulars HSB, Seafarers Ale. Seasonal beers Winter Brew, Trafalgar, Festival Mild, Swing Low, Buster Bitter.

 

Meantime, London SE7. . Mail order brewery doing own label brews. Now owns a pub in Greenwich, London SE10 see under entry in South East London section. Now brewing cask beer for the pub market. Second biggest brewery in London after Fullers. Web site www.meantimebrewing.com

London brew pubs and micros breweries

In recent years there has been a brewing revolution going on in the London brewing scene. In 2012 there are over 30 brew pubs and microbreweries in London, most (22) have opened in the last 3 years. Now in 2017, there are almost 100 microbreweries or brew pubs. This is great time to be beer drinker in London. It is a little hard to keep up with what is happening. For new London breweries visit these sites.

http://www.londonbeerguide.com/breweries.php. Online guide seems to be updated site.

http://www.londonbrewers.org/ 

http://www.londoncityofbeer.org.uk/viewnode.php?id=1003.

http://desdemoor.co.uk/london/brewers-and-beers/ Des de Moor site has breweries which are in the planning stage.

 

EX LONDON BREWERIES 

In 2006 Young’s stopped brewing in Wandsworth and transfer brewing to family brewer Charles Wells in Bedford. This no longer makes them a London brewer. The new company is called Wells and Young’s. In my opinion I find this the perfect marriage as Wells beers are just bland as Young’s beers.

Young's

The Ram Brewery, High Street, Wandsworth, London SW18 4JD.Web site http://www.youngs.co.uk/

Family Brewery founded in 1831. While Young's have the right credentials for brewing real ale, I am not a great fan of their regular beers. Real ale is often a matter of personal taste; after all Young's would not be in business if every one had my opinion of their beers. When served in good condition Young's beer is drinkable.

As if to prove my point. Young's have changed the recipe to Young's Special in June 2003, making it lighter in taste and reducing the ABV by 0.1. If it was such a great beer why changed it?

Young's have some nice pubs-I have over 20 in the guide. There might have been even more, but for their obsession with turning some of their better traditional pubs into café style bars. Some good examples of this are the Duke of Cumberland in Parsons Green and Finchs in the Fulham Road SW10

Beers

Young's Bitter- (ABV-3.7%) Use to be called ordinary bitter which I thought was a apt name.

Young's Special Bitter-(ABV-4.6%) Not much better than the bitter but a bit more taste

Seasonal beers-Kew Gold (ABV 4.0%) Summer beer available in July and August. Winter Warmer ( ABV 5%)-Excellent dark Winter beer .

Bottle beers- Double chocolate stout-ABV 5.0%. Special London Ale-ABV 6.4%

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Other ex London breweries 

Guinness, Park Royal Brewery, London NW10 .The Guinness that’s on draught in London use to comes from here not Dublin. The brewery closed in the summer of 2005. All Guinness now comes from Dublin.

Pitfield, London N1. A beer shop which brews its own beers. In 2006 moved to Essex. Web site www.pitfieldbeershop.co.uk

Stag Brewery. This is where the infamous Budweiser is brewed in the UK. Ex-Watney brewery where Watneys' infamous Red Barrel was brewed. The jury is still out on whether this is a step backwards or forwards for the brewery! Closing in 2010.

Bunker Bar, London, WC2.  Ex brew pub brewing lager.

Regional Brewers

As well as Fullers and Young's there are independent regional brewers outside of London who also own pubs in the Greater London area. Some like Greene King, Mcmullen, Samuel Smith, (sadly not all outlets real ale) and Shepherd Neame own up to ten or more pubs. Others like Adnams, Gales, Hop Back and Harveys own the odd one or two. Either way it makes for varied drinking in the great metropolis than is London.

Facilities

Maybe I should say lack of them. In this guide we are only interested in reviewing pubs. If you need any more information about a pub, we have tried to provide a phone number for you to ring and Google map for the location. Beers mention were the beers on draught at the time of visit.

Smoking

As from July 2007 all pubs in the UK are non-smoking.

Guest Reviewer.

As well as John and Stuart there are guest reviews from Sue the Mouse, telling us about authentic lagers, cheese and plants! And also saying things like 'this is a mouse-like pub'.

Worth a try

All the entries are my choice; some pubs get every close to being included. Some tough decisions have to be made. The worth a try section are pubs which just missed out, but are worth a visit especially if you are in the area and want to do a extra pub or two.

Update section.

Total number of pubs in each area.

City of London 24 pubs

West End 28 pubs

Westminster 13 pubs

East London 38 pubs

North London 41 pubs

South East London 50 pubs

South West London 35 pubs

West London 38 Pubs

 

Total number of pubs 267

 

Recent visits

July 2016 1 pub in SE1 ( Waterloo) revisited, 1 new pub in SE1 ( Waterloo) added.

July 2016 1 pub in Rayners Lane revisited. 

July 2016 2 pubs in SW17 (Tooting) deleted, 1 new pub in SW17 added,1 new pub in SW17 added to the worth a try section, 1 pub in SW12 (Balham) revisited, 1 pub in SW1 ( Pimlico) revisited.

July 2016 4 pubs in Twickenham revisited, 1 new pub in Twickenham added to the worth a try section.

July 2016 1 pub in Hampton Wick revisited. 2 pubs in Teddington revisited, 1  new pub in Teddington added.

August 2016 2 pubs in Isleworth revisited, 2 pubs in SE1 ( Waterloo) revisited

August 2016 1 new pub in EC3 (City of London) added. 1 pub in EC4 (City of London) revisited.

August 2016 1 pub in NW6 ( West Hampstead) revisited, 1 pub in NW6 ( West Hampstead) added in worth a try. 1 pub in NW3 (  Hampstead) revisited, 1 pub in NW3 ( Hampstead) added in worth a try. 1 pub in NW5 ( Gospel Oak) revisited.

September 2016 1 pub in SW2 ( Streatham Hill) revisited.

September 2016 2 pubs in WC1 ( Holborn) revisited.

September 2016 4 days in Brussels ( see the Belgium café section). 1 day in Amsterdam ( see Amsterdam section)

October 2016 1 pub in Sutton revisited. 1 pub in SE24 ( Herne Hill)  revisited. 1 new pub in SE24 ( Herne Hill) added.

October 2016 4 pubs revisited in E8 ( Hackney).

October 2016 5 pubs revisited and 1 new pub added to the worth a try section in Richmond.

November 2016 1 new pub added in N22 ( Wood Green), 1 new pub added in N10 ( Muswell Hill)

November 2016 2 pubs revisited and 2 new  pubs added to the worth a try section in SW4 ( Clapham)

November 2016 day trip to Birmingham City Centre ( See UK Towns and Cities part 1)

December 2016 3 pubs revisited and 1 new pub added to the worth a try section in N1 ( Islington)

December 2016 2 pubs revisited in N16 ( Stoke Newington)

December 2016 1 pub revisited in NW1 ( Primrose Hill). 1 new pub added and 1 pub revisited in NW5 ( Kentish Town)

January 2017 4 pubs revisited in SE1 ( Borough)

January 2017 6 pubs revisited in N1( Islington), 1 pub revisited in EC1 ( Angel)  

January 2017  1 new pub in Upminster added 

January 2017 2 new pubs in SW6 ( Fulham) added, 1 pub revisited in SW6 ( Fulham)

February 2017 3 worth a try pubs revisited in SE1( Borough/Tower Bridge), 1 pub revisited and 1 pub added to the worth a try section in SE1 ( Tower Bridge).

February 2017 2 pubs in SE16 ( Rotherhithe) revisited, 1 pub in E1( Wapping) revisited, 1 pub in E14 ( Limehouse) revisited, 1new pub in E14 ( Limehouse) added.

February 2017 1 pub in W13 ( West Ealing) revisited, 1 new pub in W13 ( West Ealing) added, 2 pubs in W7 (Hanwell) revisited, 1 new pub in W7(Hanwell) added.

February 2017 2 pubs in SW5 ( Earls Court) revisited, 3 pubs in SW7 ( South Kensington) revisited.

March 2017 1 pub in Ruisilp Manor revisited, 1 new pub in Ruislip added.

March 2017 3 pubs in EC1 ( Clerkenwell ) revisited, 1 pub in WC2 ( Convent Garden) revisited.

March 2017 1 pub in W2 ( Paddington) revisited.

March 2017 4 days in Exeter ( see UK Towns and Cities part2)

March 2017 day trip to Oxford ( See UK Towns and Cities Part 1)

April 2017 day trip to Oxford ( See UK Towns and Cities Part 1)

April 2017 day trip to Oxford ( See UK Towns and Cities Part 1)

April 2017 1 pub in Hartlington revisited.

April 2017 1 pub in W2 ( Paddington) revisited, 2 pubs in W8 ( Kensington) revisited, 1 pub W11 ( Notting Hill) revisited.

May 2017 day trip to Oxford ( See UK Towns and Cities Part 1)

May 2017 4 day trip to Bruges and Ghent ( see the Belgium café section).

May 2017 3 pubs in W6 (Hammersmith) revisited.

June 2017 day trip to High Wycombe.

June 2017 2 pubs in W3 ( Acton) revisited, 2 pubs in W4 ( Chiswick) revisited

June 2017 1 new pub in Gidea Park added, 1 new pub in Chadwell Heath added.

July 2017 1 pub in E2 ( Bethnal Green) revisited, 2 pubs in E1 ( Spitalfields) revisited, 1 pub in EC2 ( City of London) revisited.

July 2017  2 pubs in SW1 ( St James) revisited, 1 pub in SW1 ( Belgravia) revisited.

 

Future planned visits.

 

EC1 ( Clerkenwell), Barnet, and Cambridge in August  

 

Click on area you want below.

The City of London-postcodes EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4.

The West End - postcodes W1, WC1, WC2

 Westminster, Chelsea, Kensington-postcodes SW1, SW3, W8

East London

North London

South East London

South West London

West London