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London’s Best Traditional Pubs

10 May 18
Visiting London

London’s Best Traditional Pubs

10 May 18

Enjoy a pint of hand-pumped ale beside a roaring fire, tuck into a plate of crispy fish and chips on a sun-drenched deck overlooking the Thames, or enjoy a glass of something special in the world’s tiniest snug—London’s traditional pubs come in an inviting array of shapes and sizes. Take a tour of the capital’s most interesting drinking establishments, each offering a unique glimpse into London’s cultural history with quirky décor and an impressive list of well-known clientele.

The Dog and Duck

In the heart of buzzing Soho, The Dog and Duck’s eclectic array of real ales is almost as admirable as the thousands of stunning original glazed tiles lining its interior. This is a very special drinking establishment, and it seems the likes of historic punters Dante Gabriel Rossetti and George Orwell agreed. Its charm dates back to 1897, when the pub was constructed, and while it’s not noted for its food, an aperitif here certainly will be a memorable one.

The Grenadier

This former officer’s mess pays homage to its military past with antique wartime memorabilia and an exterior painted in the Union Jack’s red, white and blue. The Grenadier’s broad selection of hand-pumped ales and inventive cocktails holds its own against the more upmarket establishments in surrounding Belgravia, and the Beef Wellington is an absolute must. Just watch out for the resident ghost.

 

The Dove

If you’re lucky enough to find space, you’ll be able to sip your Malbec while nestling into the tiniest bar room in the world, which is what this 17thcentury Hammersmith pub is famous for. While you’re in there, you’ll notice the plaque marking the height the Thames waters reached during the great flood in 1928. But it’s not just history and cosy nooks that make The Dove so popular with London locals. Its sophisticated menu, fine choice of ales and sun-soaked river garden guarantees a return visit.

The Grapes

Pub-hunters have been making the delightful discovery of this charming antiquated establishment, set down the aptly named Narrow Street, since 1558. It counts 19thcentury stalwart Londoner Charles Dickens among its famous clientele—he mentions the cosy tavern in Our Mutual Friend—and its charming atmosphere and serene views across the Thames make for a very lovely place to sup your pint.

 

The Spaniards Inn

Perched demurely at the edge of the rambling wilds of Hampstead Heath—making it a worthy contender for a post-Sunday roast stroll —the 400-year-old Spaniards Inn is one of London’s most charmingly traditional pubs, with atmospheric low-ceilings, exposed beams and plenty of cosy corners in which to enjoy its menu of classic British fare that’s big on fish and chips. There’s a spacious beer garden outside if it gets a bit toasty by the fire, and the constantly changing selection of independent craft ales will keep you coming back for more.

The Lamb, Bloomsbury

Having enjoyed a reputation as one of London’s oldest drinking establishments, The Lamb has famously managed to preserve its charming historic ambiance, complete with a shock of geraniums hung prettily at its entrance and a no-music policy. Tucked down quiet Lamb’s Conduit Street in London’s Bloomsbury, this three-century-old pub has retained many of its original features, despite being smartly renovated. The menu offers traditional pub food with a contemporary edge, while the wine list features a cheery variety of vintages.

 

The Churchill Arms

West London’s most charismatic pub, the Churchill Arms has forgone traditional British grub and replaced it with an authentic menu of Thai dishes. As its name might suggest, eccentric Churchill memorabilia bristles from every surface here, with a florid carpet that harks back to a bygone era. But with a rotating selection of real ales, a trip to this 250-year-old establishment is more than simply a step back in time.

Feature images © Smartin69; IR_STONE; YES BRASIL; Fuller Pubs; Shaiith; acmanley

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