So many pubs, so little space. Stylebible has laboured long and hard, raising and lowering the elbow on oh-so-many occasions, to bring to our readers a completely, utterly and selfishly subjective list of the ten best pubs in the world’s best pub city, London.
Why no Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, long the watering hole of hacks, and of literary giants ranging from Mark Twain to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I hear you cry. Why no George Inn near London Bridge (too packed and smelly), no Mitre Tavern in Holborn (amazing, but amazingly impossible to find), no French House in Soho (too much wine). So many others were considered, from the Pembroke Castle in Primrose Hill to the Shaston Arms in Soho, and the Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell to the Holly Bush in Highgate.
All are great – worthy and wonderful pubs, often with histories stretching back beyond the time of Shakespeare and Jonson (there’s been a pub on the site of the Cheshire Cheese since 1538). But what we were looking for was a mix of characteristics. Each of the ten establishments on our list had to have great beer – that was a given. Then, either loads of history, or a fascinating modern tale to tell. Also, character in bundles, a likely crowd, and a likeable atmosphere. Finally, to make this list, each pub on this list had, to paraphrase that Sesame Street song, be not like the others. It had to be unto itself, unique. So enjoy, drink up, then fess up – and tell us what you think. Cheers!
225 Portobello Rd, London W11 1LU | T: +44 20 7221 7103 | www.castleportobello.co.uk
9 Stoney St, Borough Market, SE1 9AA | T: +44 20 7407 2495 | www.markettaverns.co.uk
7 Saint Andrew's Hill, EC4V 5BY | T: +44 20 7248 7315 | No website
47 Chandos Place, WC2N 4HS | T: +44 20 7836 0291 | www.harpcoventgarden.com
31 Endell St, London WC2H 9BA | T: +44 20 7836 5185 | www.crosskeyscoventgarden.com
Lamb and Flag
33 Rose Street, WC2E 9EB | T: +44 20 7497 9504 | www.lambandflagcoventgarden.co.uk
The Spaniards Inn
Spaniards Road, NW3 7JJ | T: +44 20 8731 8406 | www.thespaniardshampstead.co.uk
The Water Poet
9-11 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, E1 6BX | T: +44 20 7426 0495 | www.waterpoet.co.uk
The Black Heart
2-3 Greenland Place, NW1 0AP | T: +44 20 7428 9730 | www.ourblackheart.com
Bradley’s Spanish Bar
42-44 Hanway Street, W1T 1UT | T: +44 20 7636 0359 | www.bradleysspanishbar.com