Pubs & Bars
London is famous for its pubs and bars. If you’re looking to meet people and get a taste for London nightlife join a pub crawl, guided tours that run nightly in central London. You get discounted drink deals and save on cover charges. The ‘Camden Pub Crawl’ is a local favorite, consistently drawing crowds of 100+ and showcasing some of London’s best pubs and clubs. Camden is renowned for its eclectic mix of style and alternative nature, which reflect well in the pubs/clubs visited along the way. Another popular pub crawl “1 Big Night Out” starts from near the Leicester square underground station.
In the Bloomsbury area, check out The Court (near the north end of Tottenham Court Road) and The Rocket (Euston Road). Both cater to students of the adjacent University College London. Directly opposite the British Library is The Euston Flyer, popular with locals and commuters alike given its close proximity to St Pancras International railway station. Prices drops significantly the further away you go from the center (West London tends to be an exception, with prices pretty much the same as the center).
Young’s and Fullers is a prolific brewery with 123 pubs in central London alone. The Founder’s Arms on the South Bank is one of the brewery’s most well known establishments. The Fullers was founded a bit later in 1845 at Chiswick (where you can take a most enjoyable tour of the brewery, including beer-tasting) and the jewel in its crown is probably the Grade I listed Old Bank Of England on Fleet Street, thanks to its breathtaking interiors. Fuller’s flagship beer is the famous ‘London Pride’, however to try a truly authentic Cockney pint, ask at bars if they serve a seldom seen now Porter, a dark style of beer originating in London in the 18th Century, similar but less heavy than a Stout. For a different taste, try London Gin, a popular type of spirit, often mixed with tonic water, (and a slice of lemon) to make G & T’s.
It’s hard to say which pub in London is truly the oldest but it’s easy to find contenders for the title. Many pubs were destroyed in the Great Fire of London – indeed, Samuel Pepys supposedly watched the disaster from the comfort of the Anchor in Borough. Pubs were rebuilt on sites that claimed to have been working pubs since the 13th century. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street is on the site of an old monastery and its cellar dates back to the 13th century. The Princess Louise and City of York are two lovely pubs close by, along High Holborn with interesting decor; as is the Jerusalem Tavern of Farringdon, a converted Georgian coffee shop, which sells the Norfolk beer, St. Peters. The Royal Oak of Borough, is another pub which is the only representative of an out-of-town brewery in London, that of Harvey’s of Lewes. The food is fantastic as is the atmosphere.
Those interested in London’s historic and literary connections can’t miss The Spaniard’s Inn in Hampstead. Dick Turpin is said to have been born here; John Keats and Charles Dickens both drank here; it’s mentioned in Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The Goose at Catford, was reputedly a favorite hole of Karl Marx.
For the best view of the city, you can visit the pubs near the banks of the Thames. The South Bank has lots of good bars with plenty of iconic bridges and buildings in sight the cocktail bar in the OXO tower is a secret that most tourists walk by every day. Heading towards Bermondsey, pub crowds become a little less touristy.
If you’re after Gastropubs, you may like to visit London’s first, The Eagle, in Clerkenwell, established in 1991. You can also try Time Out’s favorite newcomer, The Princess Victoria on Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush. Wine buffs can enjoy the famous Davys wine bars that dot the city. The company, established in 1870, import wines and own over thirty bars in the center. Other big names in wine include the Michelin-starred Cellar Gascon and Vinoteca, both in Smithfield. For a posh wine tasting experience, there is a Vinopolisby Borough Market, though a tour price will be as eye-watering as the produce sampled.