London is second to none in its ability to combine history with beer. This is best demonstrated by London’s public houses, referred to as “pubs” for short. Many years ago, London’s pubs were the haunts of prostitutes, bare-knuckle boxers and alcoholic writers. Nowadays, it’s not melancholy artists carrying oil lamps who frequent British pubs, but hipsters with iPads. However, the attraction remains the same: the cozy atmosphere and the delicious beer.
As far as the pub opening times in London are concerned, you don’t need to worry. Up until 2005, pub landlords rang a bell at 10:45 p.m. to indicate “last orders”, but the licensing laws have since been liberalized, allowing pub-goers to enjoy convivial evenings late into the night. In recent years, significant changes have also been made on the food side. A lot of pubs have upgraded their food offerings and serve excellent English meals.
10 Amazing Pubs in London
Here are our tips on the best, most traditional pubs in London, where you can treat yourself to a pint or two:
Ye Olde Mitre TavernBar & Pub in HolbornAdd to myTravel added
Ye Olde Mitre Tavern is a bit hidden, but it’s definitely worth the search. If you have found the narrow alley and walk through the doors, you have the feeling to have traveled with a time machine. No wonder, because since already over 400 years pints go over the counter here.
A really nice pub full of charm and character, which has also served as a backdrop for cult films such as Snatch. Be sure to try the Real Ales (I know, you have to get used to it) and the delicious sandwiches!
Lamb & FlagBar & Pub in Covent GardenOur highlightAdd to myTravel added
Already Charles Dickens is said to have drunk his pint in this pub. 200 years ago, the Lamb & Flag was still called the “blood bucket” because of the regularly held bare-knuckle boxing matches. Today, however, you won’t find any teeth on the floor in the Tudor building not far from Leicester Square .
Even though there is always something going on here, it is harmonious – at least most of the time. The pub, by the way, is known for its exquisite cuisine. The British pies are said to be the best in the area! A surprisingly authentic place in a rather touristy area.
Spaniards InnBar & Pub in HampsteadAdd to myTravel added
Am Rande von Hampstead Heath (wunderschöne Grünanlagen mit Seen) befindet sich das ikonische Spaniards Inn, um das sich viele Legenden ranken. So soll zum Beispiel der berühmte englische Straßenräuber Richard „Dick“ Turpin hier sein Handwerk gelernt haben, und Charles Dickens verewigte das Pub in seinem Roman „Die Pickwickier“.
Heute könnt ihr es euch bei Schmuddelwetter am Kamin gemütlich machen und dank der riesigen Auswahl an Fassbieren, Craft Bieren und Weinen einen entspannten und geselligen Abend verbringen. Benannt wurde es übrigens nach einem spanischen Botschafter von König James I.
The GrapesBar & Pub in LimehouseAdd to myTravel added
Only a small thing in the pub points to the famous owner of The Grapes: In the corner is a Gandalf figure from “Lord of the Rings.” Actor Sir Ian McKellen has been the owner of the pub since 2011, which means that you’re more likely to meet tourists here than locals.
If the weather is nice, you should not miss a trip to the small balcony at the back of the pub: Here you have the Thames literally at your feet! The pub is not exactly centrally located in London, but is worth a visit if you are in the area (where, by the way, Jack The Ripper once did his mischief).
Ye Olde Cheshire CheeseBar & Pub in City of LondonAdd to myTravel added
Here once Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and other literary figures went in and out. One can hardly imagine a more classic pub. The Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is said to be actually the oldest pub in London. It was built after the Great Fire of London in 1667 to replace a pub that stood there from 1538.
The various passageways and rooms that gave the pub its special flair remain. The sign on the door with the inscription “Gentlemen only served in this bar” no longer applies today, by the way – in the meantime, of course, everyone can enjoy the delicious drinks and dishes!
The George InnBar & Pub in BanksideAdd to myTravel added
The George Inn belongs to the classics among the pubs in London and is the last one with a wooden column gallery. You can drink your drink on the second floor, just as William Shakespeare is said to have done here. If the weather plays along, however, the cozy courtyard is also a real alternative.
Sit outside and enjoy a warm summer evening – the perfect end to a long day of sightseeing! Nearby, by the way, is the London Bridge. If you’re sightseeing near there, The George Inn is a nice place to rest!
Cittie of YorkeBar & Pub in HolbornAdd to myTravel added
The Cittie of Yorke is more of a little wonderland than a regular pub. With its arched ceilings and crooked walls, this place has an incredibly rustic vibe.
In addition to spending time in the cozy bar at the front of the pub, it’s worth venturing through the passageway to the back of this listed building, where you’ll find a large room adorned with barrels containing 1,000 gallons of wine.
The MayflowerBar & Pub in West EndAdd to myTravel added
The Mayflower is located in the heart of Rotherhithe, right on the Thames. The pub is totally cozy furnished. On the menu are typical British dishes. The fish & chips are highly recommended!
The rather rustic, but still super cozy The Mayflower was built back in 1550 and is thus the oldest pub directly on the Thames. Here once sailors and pirates went in and out. A nice, albeit somewhat more expensive restaurant is located in the upper area. Here you can enjoy an impressive view of the Thames!
The Newman ArmsBar & PubAdd to myTravel added
Before being converted into a pub, this building was used as a blacksmith’s shop and a brothel. Today, the great thing about this pub in Fitzrovia is its excellent selection of beers and delicious Cornish food. Famous people of the likes of George Orwell and Dylan Thomas used to drink here. This place was also the inspiration for Orwell’s greatest work, “1984”, as the pub scenes in the novel were modeled on The Newman Arms.
The HarpBar & Pub in Covent GardenAdd to myTravel added
If you’re looking for a stylish pub, The Harp is the place to go. It has a great selection of national beers and ciders, and a very nice, traditional interior.
The Harp in Covent Garden is one of the most popular pubs in London. Large crowds of people regularly form in front of the façade of leaded glass windows decorated with flowers – and quite rightly so. The classic pub dishes are also extremely tasty. Be sure to try the hot dogs!
How many Pubs are in London?
Throughout London, it is estimated that there are over 3,823 pubs! That’s a massive number, although it doesn’t even put London in the top 3 for most pubs in a city, there is something to see in the city for every type of pub. Even if London doesn’t have the most pubs, it is one of the best cities for a cool night out!
What time do Pubs open in London?
Most pubs in London are only open until 2 a.m. on weekends. If you want to hit the town during the week, you have to be early, because most bars kick out their guests around 11 o’clock. But remember that the opening hours always vary from pub to pub, just inform yourself beforehand, so that you do not suddenly stand in front of closed doors.
Which areas is best to drink in London?
The London neighborhood of Camden has over 300 pubs, the most of any neighborhood! Camden is loved for its lively nightlife and invites you to stay at every corner. If you want to be part of the wild London nightlife, Camden is the place for you!
I love traveling in Europe and I am passionate about writing about my travels. The cultural peculiarities of each region always fascinate me. I enjoy exploring and discovering the best-kept secrets of each town or village. I love road trips as much as city breaks; I love visiting an art gallery and also the magic of musicals or discovering new delicacies in a street market. In this blog, I write about all my travel adventures and my best tips and tricks! Auf Loving Travel schreibe ich über alle meine Reiseerlebnisse und gebe euch meine besten Tipps und Tricks!