It’s no secret that I love beer and pubs. I’ve spent the last few years trying everything I could get my hands on, and hitting every imaginable brewery and pub that I possibly can. Even our honeymoon was a romantic holiday of the beautiful Oregon landscapes in between bouts of beer tastings. Honestly, I’d even go so far as to say that I’m passionate about the brew.
So, to get back track with the blog, I figured a nice hearty post about beer was in order.
Today I will delight your senses with a post about a few of my favorite pubs in none other than my favorite city… London.
London is a beer drinkers heaven, and I would even go so far to say that England has some of the best beer on the planet. If you are into ales, it definitely ranks up there with those heavy hitters like Belgium and Germany. I can think of nothing better in the English winter than sitting in a cozy pub, preferably one with a fireplace, and having a half (or more likely FULL) pint of whatever is on.
I will begin by saying that of course this list is not exhaustive, and is in no particular order. It’s very personal, and probably a little indulgent, since most of these became repeat visits or have a good story attached. They were always on my list of must visit pubs when company came from across the pond. Some of them are historic, some modern, and some even a little campy. But this is a blog about all things travel, and for me, pubs just go hand in hand with that. I’ll probably (definitely) be following up this post with another about even more pubs, but for now, here’s a list to wet your whistle.
5 Great London Pubs
5 Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NG
This pub was always top of my list when it came to showing people around London. Greenwich is a magical place where you can feel the maritime history on every corner, and I would even go so far as to say you can feel the sea when you drink at Trafalgar Tavern. This historic pub sits on top of the Thames, and is a beautiful place to pass the day by. The food is quite good, so we usually would spend lunchtimes in Greenwich in the walls of the Trafalgar Tavern. The high ceilings and huge windows remind us of the grandeur of the 19th century, and almost convince us that we can see galleys and river barges floating down the Thames.
Lamb & Flag
33 Rose Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9EB
Lamb & Flag has a special place in my heart. It stands as one of the oldest pubs in London, and was once nicknamed the Bucket of Blood because of the prizefighting that happened here. My first visit to Lamb & Flag was in 2013 on my 24th birthday pub crawl. The weather was great, pub goers spilled out into the street. My friend Syd and I shared my first jug of Pimm’s. It was wonderful. It’s one of those moments that stick with you. And then, out of nowhere, the annual Naked Bike Ride drove past, and I can honestly say I have never been so affronted… I’m only joking, it was hilarious. So many naked bikers! It was a memorable day, and many of the pubs on this list were visited that day. But the Lamb & Flag remains one of my favorites, from the close atmosphere inside to the open sneaky back alley way in. If we are ever in London together, we will be here.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
145 Fleet Street, City of London, EC4A 2BU
This staple of London pub going always comes up on everyone’s lists, and I would be hard pressed not to put it on mine. Yes it’s touristy, but for good reason. In this sprawling yet intimate space of passages and little rooms, fireplaces and wine cellars, you can always find something to swoon over in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. This is one of the absolute oldest pubs in the city, having been rebuilt in 1667, the year after the Great Fire of London wiped out most of the City. The sawdust strewn across the entrance and the crackling fire off to you right put you right back there, and it is so easy to transport yourself to 1667. A list at the entrance proclaims all the monarchs the pub has lived through, and it is pretty impressive. I loved this place, and visited it more than I can count. It was a neat place to meet people, it is a Samuel Smith’s pub, which means they have Samuel Smiths Organic Lager (yummiest), and it was a great place to hang out with friends. Phone service is basically nonexistent as soon as you enter the doors, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
21-22 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7NA
The original Porterhouse in Dublin belongs somewhere in the foggiest recesses of my drunken mind. I remember it being many levels, and I remember having a good time. I hope my repeat visits to the London location have more than made up for my lack of knowledge of the original. The many small nooks and crannies within the huge mega pub retain a feeling of intimacy, despite the massive square footage of the place. I included it on my list because out of all of the pubs I love in London, the Porterhouse is very very modern with its industrial copper piping running throughout. It has a huge beer menu too, including their own brew, which honestly did not hurt its chances of making it on my list. Go try a few beers you’ve never heard of and grab a few of their tasty snacks. It’s in a very convenient location for a night on the town, and I really must ask that when in London, you don’t miss it.
The Priory Tavern
250 Belsize Road, Kilburn, NW6 4BT
I saved the best for last. I put the Priory on my list, not because you will on the great pubs of London lists, but because this was our local when we lived there and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I love this place, and have spent far too much money on its great cocktail list and internationally influenced cuisine. I had always wanted to find a place where they knew my drink order upon entering, and this became exactly that. A rosehip margarita would be in my hand within minutes of walking in. It’s still my favourite cocktail to this day, and I get some serious cravings for it now and then. The menu is amazing and the staff are wonderful. Darts became a favourite pastime when we were snacking on their house made guacamole or truffle fries. I seriously almost regret putting The Priory on this list because it feels like a beautiful little secret that belongs to a particular time in my life. I miss it every day.
But honestly, get out of central London and fired the Priory, my addition to a list of great London pubs. Have a rosehip margarita for me.