Beer Gardens: Fluid London's top 10 guide to dining and drinking outside in London's best bars and pubs. With global warming apparently giving the UK more of a continental weather style (with lots of hot summer days in the sunshine) the hunt is on for the perfect London Beer Garden to soak up those refreshing cool pints and 'harmful' sun rays. Outside green space and picnic benches are at a premium. Outdoor drinking and alfresco eating are all we dream of. Sunglasses, sun lotion, summer dresses and thongs at the ready! Show me the way to the nearest barbecue please!
Clapham / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Bar
Gigalum is a dance music bar with the alfresco terrace that provides a perfect summer sun trap for that young, naked flesh cometh the hour for a cool down, or a cosy place to warm up under the heaters during winter. It's all year round Ibiza in south London, baby! Guest DJs have included Basement Jaxx Felix Da Housecat, Format B, Norman J and Guy J and the legendary Sunday sessions are for those who refuse to let go of the weekend. This is a beer garden to be seen in.
Camden / Bar / Cuisine: Gastro
This Camden pub is at its best during the summer months. In its detachment from the noisy Camden High Street, the alfresco beer garden would seem like a quiet place to enjoy a pint of real ale (of which there are 4), specialty beer (7 of), lager (9 of), or cider (5 of), except that well over 300 other sun worshippers have had the same idea. This sun-blessed and tree-shaded picnic bench beer garden also comes complete with hog roasts and BBQs, romantic fairy lights, and warming heaters. Regent's Park is only a short walk away for those who crave grass under their arse. We find it hard to think of a better north London beer garden than this.
Wandsworth / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Gastro
This huge beer garden overlooks the River Thames and enjoys a slight breeze on those hot (and rare) summer beer garden days. The outdoor section was given a complete refurbishment in 2013 so now you can expect even more room, a new outdoor bar, and riverside cabins which can be hired for private parties. There's also a new state-of-the-art American BBQ provided alfresco treats such as rack of West Country pork ribs with Coca Cola glaze and pulled pork bap with red onion, sour cream and French fries. This outdoor terrace is not easily found but it is certainly popular. Don't bother coming if you don't consider yourself sexy in the sun. The vibe is most definitely Mediterranean at this pub.
Hampstead / Bar / Cuisine: Eclectic
There aren't many historical beer gardens in London quite like this one. The Spaniards Inn pub is thought to be haunted by former customer, Dick Turpin, and the beer garden itself has literary connections with the past: Charles Dickins chose the garden as the setting for Mrs Bardell's arrest in The Pickwick Papers, and the poet John Keats allegedly wrote his Ode to a Nightingale whilst sat in the garden. Nowadays, the beer garden - which can seat up to 400 alfresco drinking and dining guests - hosts regular BBQs and an outdoor bar, and is often seen as London's most dog-friendly pub thanks to its very own dog wash, doggie snacks, and walkies-proximity to Hampstead Heath over the road.
The Water Poet
Shoreditch / Bar / Cuisine: British
East London - especially the City of London - is hardly known for alfresco beer garden drinking and dining (it's all rooftop private bars around there), and yet this pub nestled in amongst the backstreets near Spitalfields on the Liverpool Street side of business is a real slice of nearby Shoreditch, with an outdoor area to match the edgy vibe. This sun-trapping beer garden is sheltered on all sides by high walls and has enough space for 150 work-addled souls to relax during their well-earned lunch break (and beyond). The outdoor barbecue and hog roasts are very popular in the summer, as is the table service and the beer garden screen showing films and sport. East London's best beer garden?
Shepherds Bush / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Gastro
This pub in Ravenscourt Park, west London, is a true Geronimo Inns classic with the comfy sofas, open fires, Master Of Wine-chosen wine list, board games, events, guest ales on draught and hearty gastropub feed. Out back, however, is the alfresco jewel in the crown: the beer garden. Split into several layers, this beer garden starts at the top with an Ibizan style decking area with stools and soft cushions, all basking in the sun. The bext level down is the picnic bench area, complete with British bunting and giant Jenga. And then right at the back is the lawn, boasting deck chairs, bean bags, seaside huts and just enough grass to stretch those weary legs of yours.
The Garden Gate
Hampstead / Bar / Cuisine: Pub
The Garden Gate is named after its beautiful walled garden which has plenty of sun-blessed tables, covered seating and an outside bar. The pub is situated amongst the cafes and shops of busy Belsize Park, just a few minutes walk from Hampstead Heath so worth taking a nice walk up to Parliament Hill first to see the impressive view, before rewarding yourself with a pub lunch.
The Duke of Edinburgh
Brixton / Bar /
A cool hangout in Brixton, The Duke of Edinburgh is not your average London pub. Yes, it has a good range of beers, decent grub and a pool table for showing-off in front of your mates. But its best kept secret? The huge beer garden and by huge; we mean one of the biggest in South London. Perfect for soaking up some sunshine, expect an urban oasis with a well-stocked outdoor bar, banging BBQs throughout summer and a lively buzz ?til well after the sun goes down. Don't fear if the weather isn't looking great, just plonk yourself in a leafy, covered area and carry on living the alfresco drinking dream.
The Faltering Fullback
Finsbury Park / Bar / Cuisine: Thai
Think of beer gardens in London and what immeditely springs to mind is picnic tables, Thai huts, fire pits and BBQs sprawled out on large pieces of grass behind your local pub. Not so at this unassuming (from the outside) pub near Finsbury Park. Here you'll find a santuary, part hanging gardens of Babylon, part Irish pub, where wooden decking and green foliage spiral up to the skies in one of London's only vertical ber gardens. Perch on a balcony and overlook the beautiful punters below, whilst cheers from the inside near the giant sports TV screen come dancing on the wind.
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