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Mar 25, 2012 10:12 AM

London pub recs?

Surprising my husband with a trip to London in May and he loves his food and his beer. He's never been to London and I've spent limited time, so I'm scouring the boards and asking friends (who can keep a secret!)

Pubs for atmosphere? How are gastropubs like Orange and the Grazing Goat?

Read good things about the Euston Tap and that the Bunch of Grapes is under new (and famous?) managment?

Saw the pubs that Anthony Bourdain visted on Layover...

Staying not too far from Waterloo Station, but more than willing to take the Tube to good food and drink.

Thanks for the help!

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  1. There are great food pubs and great beer/atmosphere pubs, and they aren't always the same. You'll get some excellent food recommendations from others here, but some favorite places of ours I'd recommend for the beer and/or atmosphere include The Churchill Arms on Kensington Church St , Dog and Duck on Frith St., Soho; the Market Porter by Borough Market, The Victoria (near Hyde Park at Lancaster Gate), The Grenadier in Knightsbridge; The White Horse at Parsons Green, the Lamb on Lamb's Conduit...

    The Layover really didn't discuss any pubs particularly noteworthy, IMO. And ordering Guinness in London -- come on, really!

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      1. Joan's right in that good beer pubs aren't always great food pubs, but there are quite a few very good ones near you.

        For traditional pub atmosphere, I'd suggest the Kings Arms on Roupell St, SE1, which is very near Waterloo Station. Food is distinctly average Thai pub grub though.

        The Royal Oak on Tabard St, SE1 is close to Borough tube, and is the London tap for Harveys, a small real ale brewery. Food's very good, it's got a local pub feel, but it's welcoming to new people.

        The Harp, in Covent Garden is tiny, but the beer range is excellent, they also have cider, and it's very centrally located.

        The Southampton Arms, near Kentish Town, is a more modern real ale pub - I don't think they even really serve drinks that aren't beer! But that beer's very well kept, the sausage rolls are delicious, and it's possibly one of my favourite pubs ever.

        The Charles Lamb in Islington is a pub that manages to do both food and beer very well. They serve a really rather good sunday roast, and the Camden Helles beer is worth a try.

        1 Reply
        1. re: babybat

          Don't forget the Anchor and Hope in Waterloo - excellent food.

        2. If single malts are preferred to beer, The Britannia in Borough has a massive selection of single malts. Food is not particularly compelling though.

          1. I can recommend a couple of places-- not foodie destinations by any stretch, but both have really great atmosphere and a sense of history, without feeling overly-touristy.

            The Pie Room at the Newman Arms pub in Fitzrovia does just that-- pies. You'll get a terrific pie served on a plate heaped with potatoes and veg for £10-12. They don't have a huge range of beers (it's a tiny pub), but they've got London's Pride (Fullers) and usually a decent guest beer. The puddings (dessert) are pretty fantastic too. After dinner you can hang out downstairs for a few more drinks. Note that this pub is only open on weeknights, closed on the weekend.

            Close to St. Paul's (174 Queen Victoria Street) is a wonderful pub called The Blackfirar. The pub is turn-of-the-century arts & crafts style, with incredible architectural details. There is a little back room with pretty vaulted ceilings and gorgeous tilework. It's one of my favourite pubs in London. They do a fine selection of beers, including several cask ales. They'll let you sample a few before you buy, if you can't decide. There's a basic food menu, leaning heavy on the pies. Nothing gourmet, mind you (and not as good as Newman Arms), but decent pub grub. If you're in need of lunch near St. Pauls, this is a nice place to rest your feet for a while.

            And if you've read any of the other recent threads for visitors to London, you've probably picked up the suggestion for the Bull & Last in Highgate, which is a pub with more emphasis on the food than the beer. But they do get some nice beers on. It's a nice finish to a wander around Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill (one of the best views of London).

            3 Replies
            1. re: gemuse

              Thank you all so much for the options thus far! Keep 'em coming!

              Although the trip isn't until May, I'll be sure to report back in full.

              1. re: gemuse

                Haven't been to Blackfriar's in years (mostly just because we've not been near by) but it is certainly worth seeing. Nice to hear that the beer selection is better than it used to be -- will have to check it out on one of our next trips.

                1. re: gemuse

                  I thought The Bull & Last had very good beer. Hook Norton on draught which is quite rare in London plus other good cask beers and Camden Brewary beers as well. I actually think most great London foo pubs are serious about their beer, the Harwood doesn't have a big selection but it does keep the two or three very well. The Anchor & Hope has a good bar area with well kept beers.

                  Never heard of the Orange or Grazing goat.....