If you’re planning a stay in London, be sure to check out the fantastic pubs around this great city.
There are over 7000 pubs in London, so picking the ten best is not an easy task, at least for anyone wishing to retain the least semblance of sobriety.
However, there are some pubs in London that have attained the stature of favourite for many pub goers and it is ten of these pubs that are listed below.
These pubs have gained their place on the lists of many revellers due to both their historic value and interest, uniqueness, beer quality or because they have been the haunts of famous drinkers of the past, including Charles Dickens and Dr Samuel Johnson.
The George Inn, Southwark
The George Inn is the last surviving galleried coaching house in London. These pubs were the meeting and crossing points of the coaches that crossed England and many famous characters have spent time in these historical pubs. This particular pub was rebuilt in 1676 following a fire that devastated the area.
The previous incarnation was around the time Chaucer was writing the Canterbury tales in 1388. There are several small bars on the ground floor, one of which, formally called the coffee room, was used by Charles Dickens.
The Princess Louise, High Holborn
This restored and listed Victorian pub close to the West End serves cheap beer produced by an independent Yorkshire brewer, Samuel Smith. Here, there is no music and there are no famous brands, but there is plenty of atmosphere. The many small “private” drinking areas with cut glass partitions make this pub unique in London.
The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell
Having been used as a residence and the a watchmakers in the past, the building was transformed into a pub back in 1996. As you sit in the shop window and sample many of its great ales, you can take in the pub and enjoy its famous size and character. Outside the pub, you can enjoy the relaxed surrounds of the 14th Century priory that once stood on this site.
The Devereux, Temple
A little off the beaten track is The Devereux in Temple, just off The Strand. Originally the London home of the Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux, it was demolished and converted into a coffee house in 1674. This was frequented by some of the members of the Royal Society, such as Sir Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley. In 1843, it was remodelled as a pub and certainly still serves some interesting characters today.
The Red Lion, Crown Passage
There are many pubs in London called the Red Lion, but few are touted as “London’s last village pub”. Crown passage is itself unique, tucked under a blue and white flag at the end of the Pall Mall. This little alley is a bit of a time machine and the pub is no exception. According to one source, it is where Dukes and Dustmen rub shoulders in the evenings before heading off home for the evening.
Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street
In a little alley just off Fleet Street you will find this unique pub that has existed in more or less its present form since the great fire of 1666. There was a pub on this site that predated this event, but alas, all was lost. There are many levels and many little bars to explore, but the most one that is believed to be the most authentic is the small one on the ground floor.
Pages in the guest book bear the names of royalty, politicians and others. Unfortunately, the book was started after the time of Dickens, Dr Johnson, Voltaire, Thackeray and others but there will still be some famous names of the past included. Visitors to the pub should be sure to keep an eye out for the famous parrot housed at the pub.
The Nags Head, Belgravia
Here, the barstools are at chair height and the barmen are lower down than you. This is only in the physical sense, as this is rated as the Englishman’s heaven by one commentator and as such, the servers are angels. Mobiles are banned and you can strike up a conversation or just enjoy the oddities that surround you. Great beers are selected and tasted by the landlord, who has been there for over a quarter of a century.
The Black Friar, Blackfriars
This is another illusionary pub as it was built in 1875 and decorated in 1904. Here, you will find a visual feast while you enjoy the ales with the staple accompaniment of the steak and ale pie. The pub was a hangout for the Poet Laureate, John Betjeman, who campaigned against its demolition in the 1960s.
The Seven Stars, Holborn
One of the few buildings to survive the great fire of 1666, this pub is of a certain character and ambience that is hard to find in modern London. The charm extends beyond that of the panelling to some of the characters, both in front and behind the bar.
Ye Old Mitre Tavern, Holborn
This one needs a bit of research to find, as even people who live and work nearby have missed it over the years. The pub was established in 1546, but the original building was destroyed in 1772. It is has an upstairs and downstairs which are filled with character and there is an old cherry tree stump in the corner that apparently served as a may pole for Queen Elizabeth I.
London is home to many great pubs. Determining a favourite is hard because there are so many things that can make a pub great. Whether it’s the buildings history, the food or the atmosphere, there are London pubs to cater for all.