There’s no denying that the UK has a strong pub culture. Sure, they love tea, but the allure of that heavenly lager proves too much for the average Brit. Pubs are a great place to socialise, relax and have a drink. It is something you must definitely experience if you want to learn the ways of the British, even if you don’t drink alcohol. Tourists travelling to London are often overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of pubs in the city. Home to some 3500 pubs, it is indeed a difficult task selecting the best ones to go to. Luckily, we’ve taken that load off your shoulders and created a concise list of the 17 best pubs in London.

1) The Harp

1) The Harp, best pubs in London

What’s the vibe?

The award-winning “The Harp” has gained massive popularity over the years and is one of the best Central London Pubs. This huge watering-hole is replete with stained glass windows and sits in a massive two-floored building. With an exciting range of drinks, mouthwatering food and excellent service, patrons of this pub are never disappointed!

When to visit : If you’re craving some quality ale, drop by anytime between 6-9 pm.

What to drink? You can’t go wrong with their excellent range of beers, but if we had to recommend one drink, it would be the Dark Star Lager.

Address: 47 Chandos Place, London, WC2N 4HS

Transport: Charing Cross tube/rail

Opening Hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon; 11am-11.30pm Tue-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun

2) The Lyric

What’s the vibe?

The Lyric is an old victorian pub in Soho, and one of the Best Pubs in Central London. It’s warm victorian ambience is amplified by it’s tastefully done up fireplace. Not only does this pub serve a fantastic range of ales, but the food menu is also exceptional. It also holds the distinction of being one of the oldest pubs which offer craft beers.

When to visit? A good time to visit The Lyric is between 6-8 pm.

What to drink? Try the Electric Eye Pale Ale is you’re in the mood for a nice, crisp, smooth drinking beer.

Address: 37 Great Windmill St, London, W1D 7LU

Transport: Piccadilly Circus tube

Opening Hours: 11am-11.30pm Mon-Thu; 11am-12midnight Sat-Sun; 12midday-10.30pm Sunk

3) Cross Keys Pub

3) Cross Keys Pub, best pubs in Lodnon

What’s the vibe?

In our quest to find the best Pubs in Central London, Cross Keys features quite high our list. Located in the very prime location of Zone 1, one would imagine that the drinks and food up for offer would be on the expensive side. But that’s not the case. The almost ludicrously low prices mean that the pub is practically never empty. Cross Keys offers a local vibe with it’s walls draped with old beeraphernalia.

When to visit? A popular time to visit would be between 7-9 pm.

What to drink? Any of their craft beers. You can’t go wrong!

Address: 31 Endell Street, London, WC2H 9EB

Transport: Tube – Covent Garden tube

Opening Hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun

4) The Black Horse

What’s the vibe?

The Black Horse is a notable selection from the Central London pubs. A smart and trendy pub that offers you an extensive British menu and a great selection of well-brewed beers in the place. It has a cosy seating area, attentive staff and a wide variety of crisp foods make this pub a resounding crowd favourite.

When to visit? A nice time to visit is 7-9 pm.

What to drink? Vedett on tap

Address: 195 Evelyn St, London – SE8 5RE

5) The Dove

5) The Dove, best pubs in lodnon

What’s the vibe?

The Dove is nicely tucked along the River Thames, offering a stunning vantage point on Boat Day. But this pub is worth a visit all through the year. Being the vanguard of pubs in West London, it offers top-notch service, quality food and a stunning choice for ciders and beers. It is said to have the smallest bar room in the world, thereby attracting tourists from all over the world.

When to visit? During boat races. Pro tip – arrive early so that you have the best seats in the house.

What to drink? Fuller’s beers are an absolute must-try!

Address: 19 Upper Mall, London, W6 9TA

Transport: Tube: Hammersmith or Ravenscourt Park tube

Opening Hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served noon-3pm, 6-9 pm Mon-Thur; noon-9pm Fri, Sat; noon-7pm Sun.

6) Southampton Arms

What’s the vibe?

The 300-year-old Southampton Arms is a hidden gem based in west London. There is a very imposing sign outside that reads ‘ale, cider, meat’. Terse and to the point, this pretty much sums up what’s on offer at the best pub in Gospel Oak. Its lively ambience is further enhanced by old school rock and pop music.

When to visit? Weekend afternoons.

What to drink? Thanks to their dynamic menu, the drinks keep changing. But do try the ale or cider.

Address: 139 Highgate Rd, London, NW5 1LE

Transport: Gospel Oak rail

Opening Hours: Open/snacks served noon-midnight daily.

7) Earl of Essex

What’s the vibe?

Earl of Essex is a Pub for earnest beer drinkers with a real compact menu. It is a cosy pub with a beer garden and quality food — one of the best north London pubs due to its real quick service. Nowadays, almost every new pub tries to sell itself on a ‘craft beer’ offer, but not all manage it on this scale. Earl of Essex ensures that there are 11 on keg, five or six on cask, plus a couple of quality ciders at all times.

When to visit? The best time to visit the Earl of Essex is 6-9 pm.

What to drink? Ask for anything from Earl’s brewery.

Address: 25 Danbury Street, London, N1 8LE

Transport: Angel tube

Opening Hours: Open 3-11.30pm Mon; noon-11.30pm Tue-Thur; noon-midnight Fri, Sat; noon-11pm Sun. Lunch served noon-3pm Tue-Sun. Dinner served 5-9 pm daily.

8) Jerusalem Tavern

8) Jerusalem Tavern

What’s the vibe?

The Jerusalem Tavern is located in Britton Street and is named after the Priory of St. John of Jerusalem. It is one of the finest pubs in London and is open every weekday for meals, coffee and, of course, the full range of St. Peter’s beers and ales. They also make several other brews, some of them organic, including a nutty mild, a delicious honey ale, an elderflowery fruit beer, a dark, satanic stout and more.

When to visit? The best time to visit would be 7-9 pm. Try to get a seat by the fireplace to enhance your experience.

What to drink? St Peter’s Cream Stout is a must-try.

Address: 55 Britton Street, London, EC1M 5UQ

Transport: Tube – Farringdon tube/rail

Opening Hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Fri. Food served noon-3pm Mon-Fri

9) The Mayflower

What’s the vibe?

Another rive-side pub on the list, The Mayflower is blessed with an incredible view of the city landscape. You can choose to unwind in the warm, earthy wooden alcove or wake up early for a spot on the decked terrace. Other pub essentials like wooden pews, real ales, an open fire and a friendly hubbub of chatter can be found here.

When to visit? Early evening around 5 pm.

What to drink? Try their cider

Address: 117 Rotherhithe St, London, SE16 4NF

Transport: Rotherhithe Overground

Opening Hours: Open 11 am-11 pm daily. Food served noon-3pm, 6pm -9.30pm Mon-Fri; noon-3pm, 6-9.30pm Sat; noon-9.30pm, 6pm – 8pm Sun

10) The Sun Tavern

10) The Sun Tavern

What’s the vibe?

The Sun Tavern Pub has the biggest collection of great Irish whiskey, fine wines and local ales. There is also a great selection of cocktails and beers. They were one of the first pubs to have followed the now-standard bare-brick formula. The grunge ceiling adds to the classic pub ambience one would expect in London. On weekends, The Sun transforms into a club of sorts, hosting prominent DJs and even allowing patrons to spin their own vinyl on the turntables.

When to visit? This is the best place in London for a nightcap.

What to drink? Any cocktail made with Irish whiskey.

Address: 441 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 0AN

Transport: Tube: Bethnal Green

Opening Hours: Sun-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Sat noon-1am

11) French House

What’s the vibe?

Located in Soho, The French House offers 30 types of different champagnes and a prime selection of wines. It provides a nice contrast to the beer-loving people of London. Always crowded due to its rich historical heritage, Dylan Thomas and Francis Bacon both drank here. The interiors are an amalgamation of Gallic connections and modern London. Chances are you won’t be able to be accommodated inside but fret not. You can link with the regulars on the pavement outside, but that’s just part of the French House experience.

When to visit? The best time to visit would be 6-9 pm.

What to drink? Their huge selection of champagnes.

Address: 49 Dean Street, London, W1D 5BG

Transport: Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus tube

Opening Hours: Open noon-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served Bar noon-4pm Mon-Fri. Restaurant noon-3pm, 5.30-11pm Mon-Sat

12) Compton Arms

12) Compton Arms

What’s the vibe?

Compton Arms is a pub and an alehouse famously known as one of former patron George Orwell’s three Canonbury pubs, chosen as inspiration for his perfect watering hole essay, The Moon Under Water. Offering homemade-style grub, open kitchen as well with a garden, what more do you need?

When to visit? Famished or parched, doesn’t matter. Compton Arms will take care of you throughout the day.

What to drink? Sambrook’s Wandle.

Address: 4 Compton Avenue, London, N1 2XD

Transport: Tube: Highbury & Islington tube/rail

Opening Hours: Open noon-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served noon-8pm daily

13) Queens Head

What’s the vibe?

In spite of being a small, traditional pub, they have made significant strides in making sure the twenty-first-century drinker is well catered to. It’s a compact Victorian hole-in-the-wall pub with three real-ale pumps and an astutely chosen handful of craft beers on draught – and that’s all before you pick up the clipboard list of twenty-plus bottled beers from around the UK, Belgium and the US.

When to visit? This pub is ideal for a quick tête-à-tête. 6-9 pm is a good window to visit this place.

What to drink? Any of their dark porters.

Address: 66 Acton St, London- WC1X 9NB

Transport: Tube: King’s Cross tube/rail

Opening Hours: Open Noon-11pm Mon-Thur; noon-midnight Fri; 3 pm-midnight Sat

14) Auld Shillelagh

What’s the vibe?

Auld Shillelagh keeps things simple as an uncomplicated Irish watering hole. Over the years it has created a band of devoted followers who frequent this spot almost every night. They offer an excellent selection of white and red wines along with a variety of beers that will leave you spoilt for choice. Maybe that’s why everyone is always in such a good mood!

When to visit? On weekends to watch the English Premier League on TV. Also, ideal for post-game celebrations.

What to drink? Good ol’ Guinness.

Address: 105 Stoke Newington Church Street, London, N16 0UD

Transport: Tube: Stoke Newington rail or bus 73, 393, 476

Opening Hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Wed; 11am-1am Thur-Sat; noon-midnight Sun

15) The Salisbury

What’s the vibe?

Worth a visit for the beautiful building alone, this pub has become a gin palace of sorts. Apart from dishing out Agent 007’s famous drink, The Salisbury offers an extensive selection of ales and lagers on tap. Despite its massive size, it always feels busy with a great lively ambience. Monday night is quiz night and the prizes can get pretty big as it tends to draw a large crowds.

When to visit? A popular time to visit this place is between 6-10 pm.

What to drink? Gin

Address: 1 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, London-N4 1JX

Transport: Tube: Turnpike Lane

16) Faltering Fullback

What’s the vibe?

Most pubs bank on their drinks and food to attract customers. But Faltering Fullback has deviated from the norm by focusing on making their beautiful garden their unique selling point. We’ll be frank. The drinks are reasonably priced, the Thai food is good and it is a sport-watchers paradise. Don’t be disheartened if the inside area is too full to accommodate you. You can take in the Faltering Fullback experience at their outdoor spot, where the benches are heated and covered.

When to visit? On a summer evening that you want to extend as long as possible.

What to drink? Guinness.

Address: 19 Perth Rd, London-N4 3HB

Transport: Tube: Finsbury Park

17) Bradley’s Spanish Bar

What’s the vibe?

With its jumble sale decor and tattered furniture, it sure puts the ‘shabby’ in ‘shabby chic’. Don’t be put off. This offers a stark contrast to all the traditional pubs in the area. The drinks are a fair price for the area and the best part of the pub; the vinyl jukebox pumps out Motown classics and disco bangers in the ground-floor bar.

When to visit? Anytime between 7 pm and 10 pm.

What to drink? Spanish wine.

Address: 42-44 Hanway Street, London- W1T 1UT

Transport: Tube: Tottenham Court Road tube

Opening Hours: Open noon-11pm Mon-Sat; 3-10.30pm Sun

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