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Canalside pubs and restaurants: amblers, strollers, joggers, snoggers, dog walkers, cyclists, fishing enthusiasts and those who just love getting lost along the waters of London, take note. The romantic nostalgia of watching the canal boats float along the Regent’s Canal or the Grand Union canal provides a fitting setting for some of London’s best hidden gem bars and restaurants. This top 10 guide to the secret pubs, bars and restaurants along London’s canals will provide plenty of drinking and dining stop off points for London’s waterside enthusiasts.
Kings Cross / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
The canal-side location of this restaurant (pictured above) makes it a lovely location for a light lunch, evening cocktails, or, during the summer months, fun and games in the sun. From April to October, the restaurant boasts its own beach hut bar on the outdoor terrace - with hot dog cart Thursdays and Fridays - which is cleverly positioned for maximum sun coverage. Table football, giant Jenga and swingball are also provided, and, when the sun goes down, the outdoor heaters go on. Inside, the daily changing menu features beef and lamb bred exclusively for the restaurant on a farm in the Northumberland countryside. A private dining room also affords views over the adjacent Regent's Canal.
The Waterway Bar & Restaurant
Maida Vale & St Johns Wood / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: European
We all love a pleasurable dining experience, especially at this time of year when the sun is out (occasionally) and there are the weekends to look forward to as well. For something a little different, we love heading to Maida Vale and spending time in The Waterway )pictured above) in Little Venice on the Grand Union Canal. Brilliant food and impressive cocktails served with a view of the historical and beautifully picturesque canal, adding a touch of summer glamour to any relaxing Saturday afternoon. The Waterway is not just a restaurant but the wonder of Little Venice in the heart of London. (Verity Nelson)
The Union Tavern
Notting Hill / Bar / Cuisine: Gastro
The Union Tavern on the Grand Union Canal is very unique in the London brewing scene, only specialising in beer that is brewed within the M25. You will only find the most local cask and keg products to drink. Beer couldn't get any fresher; the motto of The Union Tavern being 'drink fresh, drink local'. The food is all freshly made and takes full advantage of the amazing smokers onsite. Smoked ribs, coffee smoked brisket, London's finest pulled pork plus many other treats. The Union Tavern is a diamond on London's urban waterside.
Feng Shang Princess
Swiss Cottage & Primrose Hill / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Chinese
This elaborately decorated, hand crafted Chinese restaurant moored along the banks of the Regent's Canal, opposite London Zoo and between Primrose Hill and Regent's Park, is walking distance from Camden tube station (and a nice stroll it is too). It is also a meat lovers floating paradise. Whatever once had a heartbeat and lived on land or in sea is now likely to appear on the broad Asian menu. The chefs onboard the Feng Shang floating restaurant sauté, stir fry, grill, steam, and braise a multitude of tasty meats (there's even a Crispy Vegetarian Duck on the menu!?). A unique restaurant in so many ways.
The Cat And Canary
Canary Wharf / Bar / Cuisine: British
Although technically not situated on a canal, this traditional Fullers pub in Canary Wharf has the feeling of an canalside pub, especially as the adjacent river water is calm and quiet, save for the odd gust of wind creating a ripple effect. A nice spot to enjoy a burger and a pint and a view of the old steamboats backdropped by London's modern architecture. The classic pub grub and Master Cellarman status cask ales will keep help to loosen a few ties at lunch and after work. The addition of Sky Sports screens showing football, cricket and rugby provides entertainment when the weather inevitably turns gloomy. The roasts are legendary for anyone seeking tranquil adventures on Sundays.
Dalston / Bar / Cuisine: Italian
This is one of those hidden gems you'll find totally by accident. We did, when we cycled along the Regent's Canal between Kingsland and Angel one sunny day. It should really remain a secret, but we know you can keep secrets (unlike us). It's a long walk from almost everywhere, thus ensuring its secrecy too. This south facing cool cafe has some communal chairs and tables on the actual towpath - clue in the name, people - and serves breakfast, cakes, coffee, and lovely sourdough sandwich fuel using locally sourced ingredients. Dog-friendly, kid-friendly, cyclist-friendly (there's a bike tune up shop next door), so kick back and enjoy a lovely glass of homemade ginger beer. Or a glass of wine.
The Narrow Boat
Angel & Islington / Bar / Cuisine: Pub
This year is all about getting all the sun you can before it packs off elsewhere, so we are making sure to head to the places which count! The Narrow Boat is one of the only pubs seated right on Islington's beautiful Regent's Canal making it a one of a kind water experience. A delectable menu for all times of the day and an impressive list of alcoholic drinks on offer makes the secret Narrow Boat a cool pub to find. Family friendly and surrounded by beautiful waterside views, this restaurant is the perfect place to hold an alfresco get together until the sun goes down. (Verity Nelson)
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