If there is one thing the British are internationally famous for, it is the institution that is “the pub”. And there’s no better time to enjoy that institution than the summer, when beer gardens start to look more appealing, and Pimm’s pops up on the menu. But with so many pubs everywhere you look, particularly in a city like London, how do you know where to spend the afternoon? Here’s a guide to the capital’s pubs so that when you stay in one our London hotels, you’re sure to sample the best of them:
For the food:
The Canton Arms in Stockwell is as good as they come in terms of gastro pubs. The environment is classically dated, but the food is refreshing with lots of modern twists on traditional dishes. Think hearty stews and game terrines, as well as the option of delicious platters to share.
For the beer:
The Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell, which dates back to the 1700s, is a quirky little place that was deliberately roughed up to make it look like it did in its original form. But the Dickensian atmosphere isn’t the best part of this pub – the beer is. With a whole load of ales on draft and in bottles, the place is a favourite with beer-connoisseurs.
For the garden:
The Water Poet has a wonderful suntrap of a beer-garden, and attracts everyone from city suits to the coolest of Shoreditch as a result. When it’s sunny, you have to be outside, but if you end up here on a rainy day, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. With a restaurant, a bar, a pool parlour and even a little theatre, this place really does have it all. Don’t miss the Sunday hog roast.
For the music:
There’s nothing like seeing great live music in a seedy pub, and that is exactly what you’ll get if you visit the Shacklewell Arms in Hackney. The place is still decorated like the Carribbean social it used to be, but now it’s full of cool people and all the latest musical talent.
For the cool factor:
The Duke of Edinburgh in Brixton is as cool as they come, with an off-the-beaten-path feel, and a real laid-back vibe. The bar is full of comfy sofas, which are usually occupied by hipsters and people-in-the-know, and the garden is one of the biggest in South London. The quiz nights are epic, there’s free pasta on Mondays (if you buy two drinks), and the pub’s hosting a cider festival in July.
For something a bit different:
Slim Jims Liquor Store in Angel is a great place with a true dive bar feel. There’s always rock and roll on the duke box, the bar is well stocked with bourbon, and half of the place is covered with bras that excited girls have left as a thank you for many a great evening here.
For the BBQ:
As soon as it’s warm enough, you ought to take every opportunity to fire up the BBQ and eat slightly charred meat. Or, at least, that’s the mentality at The Garden Gate in Hampstead. The beer garden fills up in the afternoons with people who’ve come for the homemade West Country beef burgers, or the Gloucester Old Spot sausage rolls. The craft beers are great, too.