Top 10 Best Beer Gardens In Central London
Technically, this is not a beer garden as such, but the outcome is exactly the same. There's sunshine, wooden benches, good time vibes and beautiful people, all waiting until the very last minute before they head for home. The beauty of this rooftop bar is that it's located directly across the road from Waterloo station making it a mere 2-minute sprint for the last train out of London or the last Tube. The views are more impressive up here too, looking out over The Shard and the rest of London's glam skyline. 2-4-1 cocktail happy hour lasts Monday to Friday until 6pm so buy big and buy early. There's also dip and flip burgers, fries and patty melts to stave off those drunken hungers.
Fitzrovia can do whatever Soho can do, and sometimes even better. The beer garden at this corner pub near Goodge Street and Warren Street stations has ample seating and hiding spaces up on the roof. The alfresco rooftop bar and barbecue enables anyone who wants to avoid the home decor shopping along Tottenham Court Road - Habitat, Heal's, Dwell etc - a place of sanctuary whilst their loved ones make bad interior design decisions nearby. Craft beer lovers will be excited to learn that the tap takeover enables you to discover new and interesting session IPAs, craft lagers and pale ales. Classic pub sharing platters, burgers, fries, pies and bar snacks keep you from wasting away.
City of London
Beer garden for suited City workers - this beer garden in Farringdon might not have the best view in London (unless you're a tube train spotter) but the bar has made the most of its split level patio, adding plants, sun umbrellas and comfortable seating that make it a great place to hold a business breakfast in the sun, or private corporate event. It serves equally well as a post-work gathering hole, especially as the transport connections from here are some of the best in Zone 1. Anyone fancy a pint of Honey Dew?
Bar / Restaurant / Club
The central London beer garden for those who love to dance. Truth be told, the outdoor, split level, wooden patio beer garden and BBQ at the back of this bar is just the beginning of the story. There, late in the afternoon, you and your kin will soak up the sun, sip cocktails and beers handily purchased at the outdoor bar, and bask behind your sunglasses in self-reflecting glory. Then, when the chit-chat begins to get shouty, and the moon begins to rise, it's time to head indoors to the dancefloor to end this boogie woogie tale of sunshine.
South Bank & Bankside
Beer garden for the fans of art - this Young's pub next to the southern exit of the platforms of Blackfriars Bridge station is the best alfresco beer garden for those visiting the behemoth Tate Modern art gallery just next door. Indeed, anyone taking a stroll along the South Bank of the River Thames to get to Shakespeare's Globe or the London Eye or the Royal Festival Hall will want to slot this dated looking building into their schedule, especially in the early part of the day when the sun will hit the entire patio.
Angel & Islington
Bar / Restaurant
The beer garden that looks down on all other beer gardens - By far the best and most important thing to mention about The Castle pub, on the verges of central London, is the fact that it has an alfresco rooftop beer garden that peers down at the peasants and hoi polloi, lording it, up in its castle. Perfect for summer, this beer garden on a roof is a sun trap around the clock so very little shifting around needed. The wine list has been chosen by one of those rare Masters of Wine (the Jedi of wine) so plenty of gems to get stuck into, in addition to a range of draught and guest ales. Hearty British comfort food is also served. Only 5 minutes from Angel tube station too: handy.
Bar / Restaurant
Possibly the best indoor-outdoor beer garden in central London (there are SO many). You know how it is: the weather's nice but not nice enough to sit in. This lower level bar in the Covent Garden piazza complex comes with its own courtyard so if you like it nice and quiet, stay away. The shopping and tourist masses will be peering down at all times and you're likely to be in close quarters with a classically trained busker as this is THE spot in Covent Garden for performers of the musical variety. A swift pint before the 2-minute walk to the National Opera House round the corner perhaps?
Borough & Southwark
The midway south bank alfresco beer garden - with London Bridge, Borough Market and the Vinopolis wine tour in one direction, and the Hayward and Tate Modern Galleries, Royal Festival Hall, Shakespeare's Globe and National Theatre in the other, this Taylor Walker pub sits pretty, in the sunshine, enables weary walkers, strollers, workers and stalkers to rest a while on the terrace (with outside bar) with a pint and plate of good old British pub fish and chips whilst they look across the Thames at St Paul's dome.
London Bridge & Bermondsey
Potentially the oldest beer garden in the world - the proximity to London Bridge station and The Shard prove this hidden beer garden is one for the hard working, itinerant London commuters who cant bear the thought of leaving London too soon; avoid that rush hour cram sir, sit outside with a pint and a pal instead. The multitude of alfresco courtyard picnic benches might not be as old as the pub itself - which has plenty of historical character - but they do a great job of helping you and your colleagues relax after a hard day's toil at the coalface.
The location of this above-ground, Greene King pub is the primary reason for its popularity. The cobbled market square at Covent Garden - where all the street performers ply their trade in front of St Paul's Church - is what the balcony of the Punch and Judy pub looks onto. Therefore, this is an excellent spot for people-watching, for pre- and post-theatre drinks, pre-dinner looseners, and sundowner drinks as the sun sets directly to the west; so keep the sunglasses on until the last minute. The pubs serves cask ales from its Suffolk brewery and there is a range of standard pub grub but really, if you're not able to get a good spot on the balcony, there's no other reason to visit.