Blackhorse Beer Mile, Walthamstow
Blackhorse Beer Mile opened its doors for the very first time this week. The UK’s biggest beer hall is home to Signature Brew, Wild Card Brewery, Exale and Truman’s Social Club. Grab your mates, book an outdoor table and enjoy a freshly pulled pint. Expect live music and street food from a range of east London outfits including Zero Sushi and Last Night A Vegan Saved My Life. Further down the line, the space will host exhibitions, markets, pop-up shops, gigs and film nights.
Prairie Fire, Shepherds Bush
Prairie Fire has been a regular at London food markets for a few years, but has never had a place to call home. Until now. In Wood Lane, its Kansas City-style smokehouse gives avid carnivores a chance to try some of its famous slow-cooked meat and BBQ specials. The new place has also got a taproom stocked with an array of locally brewed ales carefully chosen to match the kitchen’s wares.
The Flask, Highgate
The Flask harks back to an era when Highgate was a small village on the outskirts of London and the stable block – the oldest part of the pub – dates from 1663. Byron, Shelley and Keats are all reputed to have been regular visitors to the pub, as is William Hogarth. For now, this historical hotspot’s partially covered beer garden is open for socially distanced pints and a seasonal selection of dishes.
Drapers Arms, Islington
This popular neighbourhood pub is particularly loved for its Sunday lunches – punters can choose hearty fare such as partridge with celeriac, bacon, cavolo nero and cider sauce; or sharing options of whole roast chicken with bread sauce; slow-cooked shoulder of lamb; and roast forerib of beef with yorkshire puddings. Its smart beer garden is just the place to enjoy them. If you’d like to nab a spot, the team is taking bookings over the phone for two-hour slots, or longer if you’re a group of six.
Crate Brewery, Hackney Wick
Crate Brewery has a colourful history as a print factory and a squat. Today, it’s a canalside bar, complete with a riverside garden, built with the help of the local creative community. The experimental brewhouse serves the full Crate range and more across its rotating taps, plus wine, cocktails and superlative sourdough pizzas. Keep an eye out for the Alfred Le Roy, a bar on a boat which moors nearby and takes guests for drinks-filled trips on the water.
The Marksman, Hackney
This traditional East End pub serves local beers, ales, lagers and ciders alongside a selection of fine wines and spirits, but is perhaps better known these days for its dining room – that might be down to the fact that The Marksman became the first pub in London to be awarded the Michelin Pub of the Year in 2016. Guests can drink on the pub’s small but atmospheric rooftop terrace.
Crown & Shuttle, Shoreditch
This award-winning craft beer pub in Shoreditch is normally popular with the post-work crowd. Later this year, you’ll find a speakeasy-style cocktail bar upstairs where a 90s soundtrack and late-night lock-ins are a regular occurrence. For now, guests can make the most of the sunny courtyard patio, which is currently available for walk-ins only.
Earl of Essex, Islington
Established in 2012, the Earl of Essex was Islington's first brewpub, and is the current home of Earl's Brewery. Within, you’ll find an ever-changing list of the best local and international beers, matched with a great food menu and one of the sunniest beer gardens in the neighbourhood, complete with an abundance of benches for groups of up to six. The kitchen turns out classic pub grub during the week, and one of Islington’s best traditional roasts come Sunday.
Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park
One for sports fans, this Finsbury Park institution is an Irish pub with a permanent screen that shows everything from football to hurling. But it’s the spacious pub garden, resplendent with colourful hanging baskets, that makes it one of our favourite spots to sink a drink or two and try the kitchen’s authentic Thai dishes. In normal times, a lively pub quiz every Monday and regular live music add to the Fullback’s popularity.
Pub on the Park, Hackney
On the very edge of London Fields, Pub on the Park has spectacular views. Filled with rows of two-seat tables and banquet-style benches, the pub’s decking area is designed for long afternoons and sports screenings. Make sure to download Your Round, the pub’s own ordering app, before arrival to ensure the swiftest delivery of pints possible.
The Ship, Wandsworth
One of the capital’s most loved Thameside drinking destinations, The Ship has been serving pints to thirsty Londoners since 1786. Comprising a gastropub, outdoor BBQ kitchen and riverside terrace, The Ship is a particularly popular place for groups to share jugs of Pimm’s and beer. Make sure you book one of the 15-capacity outdoor cabins from 17th May onwards – they come with a private TV screen and great views of sunset.
Garden Gate, Hampstead
Indoors, this is a 19th-century boozer decked out with original wood panelling, period features and stained-glass windows. But hidden through the back, there’s an enormous beer garden. Whether you’re after a long lunch, brunch or Sunday roast, this is a great spot for family get-togethers and long weekend afternoons with friends.
The Guildford Arms, Greenwich
This relaxed pub and kitchen is so good it’s made its way into The Good Pub Guide. Set in a three-floor Georgian building, this is one of the cosiest spots in Greenwich in the winter months but come summer its extensive sunken garden comes into its own: picture a terrace with well-kept lawns, white birches, tall grass and a kitchen herb garden. A free house, the team likes to showcase beers and soft drinks from a selection of local producers.
Four Thieves, Battersea
In a former music hall, this Battersea hotspot is less a pub and more an arcade extravaganza. Away from pulling pints (from its own on-site brewery, no less), from 17th May groups can get stuck into VR games, a remote-control car racing track, retro arcade games and mini-golf. When the sun’s out, head for its wisteria-lined courtyard – the perfect spot to continue the fun after one of Four Thieves’ bottomless Sunday brunches.
Truman’s Social Club, Walthamstow
As a direct response to the need for social distancing, Truman’s Beer opened its Social Club after the first lockdown. On a spacious site in E17, you’ll find a taproom and beer garden, as well as an array of street food vendors. There’s plenty of room to hang out and enjoy a crisp pint safely. This place is bookings only, so reserve a table online before you travel.
Brick Brewery, Peckham Rye
In a railway arch next to Peckham Rye station, Brick Brewery takes inspiration from around the world to create bold, aromatic beers. As of this week, its excellent range can once again be explored in the brewery’s on-site taproom, which offers outdoor seating in two courtyards and is open weekday evenings (except Monday) and all day Saturday and Sunday.
Beavertown Brewery, Tottenham Hale
Beavertown will soon be reopening its taproom on Saturdays and some Sundays. And there’s no better place to enjoy freshly pulled versions of much-acclaimed brews like Gamma Ray and Neck Oil. Outdoor tables will be suitably distanced, with table service also part of the new normal.
Howling Hops, Hackney Wick
Howling Hops is once again serving the fresh stuff to punters in its Tank Bar, which opens every day at noon. It’s not taking reservations, but on arrival you’ll be given a table from where you can place orders via a QR code. If the place is at capacity when you arrive, it’s a one-in-one-out system. The pale ales are worth any wait.
Camden Town Brewery, Camden
After a few dry months, Camden Hells Lager will soon reopen so fans can try its beers direct from the source. On the site of its brewery, the team will lay on a pop-up beer garden, which will open each weekend for drinkers to enjoy its brews alongside some home-cooked BBQ dishes.
When Fourpure opened its Basecamp taproom in Bermondsey in 2019, it immediately became London’s largest. There’s outdoor space, more than 40 taps to choose from and food from the team behind Oh My Dog! If you’re in the area, look out too for a couple of notable smaller outlets on the ‘Bermondsey beer mile’: London Beer Factory and Bianca Road Brew Co.
The Fentiman Arms, Stockwell
The Fentiman Arms is a buzzy local positioned between Oval, Vauxhall and Kennington tube stations – close enough from the Oval cricket ground that you can just hear the roar of fans on match days. This is a warm, homely pub with superb quality British food and friendly faces aplenty. A covered and heated garden comes with festoon lights, comfortable chairs, snug lounging areas and upholstered bench seating. The kitchen serves up British pub classics as well as Sunday roasts, all paired with bloody marys, ales and craft beers
The Warrington Hotel, Maida Vale
Opened in 1857, The Warrington makes the most of original features such as mosaic floors, stained-glass windows, pillared porticos, art-nouveau friezes and marble fireplaces. Not far from the canals of Little Venice, the pub is also close to Lord's – ideal for a post- or pre-match game once sport reopens to crowds. For now, The Warrington’s large shaded patio garden is on our radar for Sunday lunches and beers with friends.
The Kenton, Hackney
The Kenton was runner-up in 2019’s Observer Food Monthly ‘Best Place To Drink’ competition. We can confirm it is indeed an outstanding spot for a few weekend pints. On Sundays, count on Scottish topside of beef, leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic, free-range corn-fed chicken, or butternut squash and artichoke nut roast. In time for pubs reopening, a fixed roof over half of the garden has been installed, while the open half has three sails that can be strapped on in case of rain.
The Hero of Maida, Maida Vale
On the site of the much-missed Truscott Arms, this stylish pub is the work of Harcourt Inns, the collective behind The Coach that specialises in rescuing noteworthy sites and conserving them as drinking and dining destinations. Headed up by Henry Harris, the Hero’s menu merges classical French cooking with British ingredients: Sunday lunches include whole roasted black leg of chicken with bread sauce, and treacle-cured chateaubriand with madeira sauce. Independent beers from family-run breweries are served from behind a zinc-topped bar, alongside a variety of wines – all of which can be enjoyed on its terrace.
This Islington dining room is located in a former neighbourhood boozer. Neil Rankin might have left the kitchen in 2016, but his region-spanning influence remains. Many of the dishes that stole the show when it launched are still on the menu today – think Korean chopped brisket roll with gochujang; pork tacos with green sauce and chipotle aioli; smoked gammon steak with jalapeño, pineapple and duck egg. All are available to tuck into in its pretty beer garden, where guests can sip craft beer and local ales (20 on tap, and 60 in bottles) in dimpled glass tankards.
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