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We all love a beer, don’t we? No matter if it’s hot and sunny outside and you’re searching for a pub with a lovely beer garden, or if it’s blowing a wintery gale out on the London streets and you want to get warm in a cosy London pub, there’ll be a pub serving the beer you crave: British ales, Irish stouts, Dutch lagers, Belgian trappist beers, German wheat beers, Czech pilsners, Spanish cerveza, American blonde beers, whatever your choice of beer, it’s all there to discover in London.
There are those London pubs, however, that stand head and shoulders above the rest, serving up a multitude of beers and ales that aren’t restricted to the usual Stella and London Pride options. In this guide we celebrate those glorious beer pubs of London; those beer pubs that strive to bring London what it deserves: a totally refreshing and often unusual pint.
Here then are the best pubs in London for opening the door to the pleasurable world of beer.
By Christian Rose-Day
Camden / Bar / Cuisine: Pizza
Euston - Much like The Rake in Borough Market, this excellent beer pub is a fine example of how to utilise what little space you have to full effect. This tiny cube of a building at the gate of Euston Station has standing room downstairs for all those who are waiting on a train, seating upstairs (popular with local students), plus 8 rotating cask ales, 20 keg beers, 150 bottled beers, a heated beer garden, and excellent transport links. Recommended beer: the local Camden Bitter.
Borough & Southwark / Bar /
London Bridge - This diminutive beer-lovers' bar behind Borough Market is an erstwhile Time Out 'Best Bar of the Year' winner boasting a whopping 130 beers; seven of which are keg pumps, plus three cask ale handpulls. You'll always find beers in stock that are brewed in their country of origin (not brewed under license in the UK), and there's always a beer festival just around the corner (of the calendar). Recommended beer: the Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brew Co., California, just for the name.
The Draft House Tower Bridge
City of London / Bar / Cuisine: Burgers
Tower Bridge - 27 beers on tap, including local beers like Meantime & Wandle, plus half a dozen specials and around 100 bottled beers from across the world. You can even find God there too. This will be the perfect beer pub to visit after that stroll along the South Bank you've always been threatening to do. As soon as you get to Tower Bridge, you've reached your destination. Recommended beer: Belgian Pilsner brewed by the Draft House itself.
The Craft Beer Co.
Clerkenwell / Bar /
Clerkenwell - Online guide to beer adoration, Ratebeer, placed this beer pub 4th in the best beer venues in the world list, even though it only opened in the summer of 2011. Tempting? How about some stats? 16 cask ales from the UK's best independent micro breweries - the UK's biggest selection of craft keg beer - and an insane 300+ bottled beers; all sourced in small batches from hand craft beer companies. Recommended beer: the house lager made exclusively by Danish brewery Mikkeller.
Southampton Arms Ale & Cider House
Kentish Town / Bar /
Kentish Town - This dedicated beer and cider house - one of a kind in London - only sells beer from small, independent UK breweries so don't go expecting a pint of Carling. The 18 hand pulls change frequently, ensuring a different visit every time. The cosy log fire, jazzy laid-back vinyl tunes, and the proximity to Hampstead Heath have Sunday afternoon written all over this beer pub. Don't forget your cash though, no cards accepted here. Recommended beer: just ask for Redemption, you sinner!
The White Horse
Fulham / Bar / Cuisine: Modern British
Parson's Green - Probably the best pub in west London for beer lovers. You know a pub must love its beer if it has its own beer club. 135 worldly bottled beers, up to 8 cask ales, and 4 regular beer festivals: the local beer festival in May; the American Beer Festival for Independence Day; a Belgian Beer Festival in August; plus November's Old Ale Festival. There's even courses in beer and food pairing if you're keen on edification. Recommended beer: the refreshing Rooster's Yankee.
The Dean Swift
London Bridge & Bermondsey / Bar / Cuisine: Pub
Shad Thames - Malty, hoppy, amber, pale, dark, and light; all your beer needs can be found at this 'local beer house' which tries to use as many independent micro breweries as possible. 4 casks on rotation and over 50 bottled beers to choose from, plus an eclectic food menu that includes curry goat. A great afternoon out when combined with a visit to the nearby Design Museum. Recommended beer: Bitter & Twisted from Scotland.
Belsize Park & Chalk Farm / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Belgian
Chalk Farm - Handily located next to The Roundhouse and some of Camden's other live music venues, this Belgian bar and restaurant is home to over 70 types of blonde, monastic, fruit, white, amber and dark beers from the low countries. The Beat the Clock food deal is enticing too, and sees you pay the price of the time shown on your order. Recommended beer: ladies might enjoy the cherry Boon Kriek, or for Connoisseur, how about the 11.5% Deus Brut des Flandres for £32.95 a pop?
Brew Wharf Yard
London Bridge & Bermondsey / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: European
Borough Market - mere minutes away from London Bridge station, next to the home of wine, Vinopolis, this beer pub is a cavernous retreat from the market madness. There are pint and half pint options available, ranging in provenance from Austria to Argentina, Finland to Laos, and include flavoured beers, gluten-free beers, and even low alcohol beers. For anyone organising a stag weekend, there's group beer tasting and meal combos too. Recommended beer: the pale gold Tusker beer from Kenya.
City of London / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: German
Tower Hill - This underground beer hall has 7 German beers on tap, all served in huge Stein glasses by charming waitresses wearing traditional Bavarian dirndl dresses and waiters in Lederhosen. It's all table service no queue time at the bar, plus, if you visit on a Monday or Tuesday, you could take part in "Schnitzel Madness"! Also boasts the 'longest Oktoberfest in the World'. Ouch! Recommended beer: the Erdinger Hefe Dunkel Weißbier. Two steins of that stuff and you'll believe you're German.
Blackheath & Eltham / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Modern European