The Best Pubs in London | Curated by a thirsty Londoner

Pubs. They’re great, aren’t they? London is great too. Put these together and what do we have? – the great London Pub. It’s practically an institution in British culture, and often becomes the extended lounge of busy Londoners. With that in mind, I thought my blog was lacking a list of the best pubs in London, so I roped in my local expert of hopped beverages.

Best Pubs in London The White Swan Adventures of a London Kiwi I met my lovely husband in a London pub (read our story here), and so it was only natural to ask him to share his favourite pubs in London – the ones he disappears to when I’m busy with blogging fun! Take it away Mr Kiwi!

Here are some of my favourite London pubs, ones I’ve spend a little time in over the years.

The Cittie of York – 22 High Holborn

This London pub needs to be seen to be believed. A Grade II listed building owned and operated by Samuel Smith’s Tadcaster Brewery, the buildings on this site have been pubs since 1430. Walk through a dark passageway from the street and, once through the doors, you are treated to a something of a sensory overload as the long bar stretches along the grand high-ceilinged back room which houses a late-Georgian or Regency era triangular metal stove, and a row of Victorian-style cubicles, each seating up to four people. Get there early if you want one these as they’re the first to go.

Only once seated might you notice the spectacular barrels above the bar, one of the beautiful listed features. The Cittie of York is a great place to impress visitors to London.

Best London Pub The Cittie of Yorke Adventures of a London Kiwi

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The Knights Templar, 95 Chancery Lane

Yes, it’s Wetherspoons, but don’t let that put you off. Typically for the later generation of ‘Spoons’ this is situated in a spectacular building – in this case a former Union Bank. If you
know Wetherspoons, then there is little I can tell you here – just go and enjoy the spectacular surroundings, you won’t be disappointed.

Best London Pub The Knights Templar Adventures of a London Kiwi

The White Swan, Riverside, Twickenham 

Have you ever had a pint while IN the Thames? I thought not… This is a chance to change all that if you are clever and look up the Thames tidal times. What am I on about? Well, the pub is situated on the Thanes path at Twickenham, just along from marble filled Hill House, and 5 minutes’ walk from Twickenham Station. A narrow road separates the building from a small garden within which are regular beer garden benches. At the right moment, you have to sit up on the table as you are marooned by the incoming tide. This lasts about 40 minutes in total – so get a double round in and go to the loos first!

It’s a traditional free house right on the banks of the River Thames, dating back to the 17th century and worthy of a visit any time of year – even without getting your socks wet. Definitely one of the best pubs in London.

Best Pubs in London The White Swan Adventures of a London Kiwi
The Ship – 116 Wardour Street, St. Anne’s, Soho

This is London’s premier Rock and Roll pub. First licensed as the Ship in Distress in 1780, the distress lasted for its first 40 years. Now a marvellous Fuller’s pub, with beers kept in superb condition. It was badly damaged in World War II but restored to former glory in the 60’s with as many of the original 1895 fittings as possible: etched and leaded glass work, decorative mirrors and an ornate wooden bar-back. It might not look like it, from the outside has a lot of musical history. The Ship Pub was next to the legendary Marquee Club, which hosted such legends as Rolling Stones, David Bowie, AC/DC, U2; as well as less worthy luminaries such The Clash, The Police, The Cure, Joy Division, Sex Pistols. In short, if you hadn’t played the Marquee, then get a job.

Many of those that played the Marquee and its patrons would go to the closest pub, The Ship, to enjoy some pints before, during and after the shows. In fact, legend has it that this is where The Who drummer Keith Moon was barred from after letting off a smoke bomb (why couldn’t I have been there that night?!). It has also been frequented by the likes of John Lennon, Rick Wakeman, Syd Barrett, and Jimi Hendrix who also probably considered it to be one of the best pubs in London. Call in the early evening and you will be treated to an hour of a particular band from any era from the impressive music collection blasted through state-of-the-art stereo equipment (as young people might call it).

{Note: it has amazing Scotch Eggs.}

Best Pub in London The Ship Rupert Street Adventures of a London Kiwi
The Blue Posts, 28 Rupert Street, Chinatown

Since its recent renovation, this is one for the hipsters seeking out fine real ales and craft beers. A small bar tucked just behind the madness of Chinatown, this has always been the meeting place to kick off our Saturday Wong Kei / leisurely Soho pub crawl that has been a tradition for my old cronies for too many years.

Friendly and knowledgeable bar staff are on hand to advise on the wide array of beers served in a convivial atmosphere. Of course, food is also served, and upstairs you will find the Mulwray cocktail lounge.

Best Pub in London The Blue Posts Adventures of a London Kiwi

So, there you have it, the best husband/boyfriend creches, sorry, the best pubs in London, as curated by a thirsty expert.

What are your favourite pubs in London?

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The best pubs in London recommended by a Londoner Adventures of a London Kiwi

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