The Pubs of London
London is one of the world’s significant megacities, attracting almostLink opens in a new tab 30 million tourists every year. The city is an eclectic mixture of cosmopolitan diversity, fast-paced energy, world-class arts, glorious entertainment, ancient architecture, and a historical significance that somehow relates to your home country, regardless of where you’re from.
When people think of London — they think of Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, and the London Eye. Of course, these are all superb attractions. But, London is also home to the world’s most extraordinary pub scene.
In fact, you could spend weeks exploring London’s pubs, and you still wouldn’t scratch the surface. So how many pubs are there in London? The City of London and the City of Westminster are home to 7,000 pubs, so as you’d expect — finding the best pubs of London isn’t always easy. Nevertheless, we’re here to help.
8 Facts About London’s Pubs
- Pubs date back to Roman times with the beginning of the Roman road system
- Five of London Underground stations, including Angel, Manor House, Elephant & Castle, Swiss Cottage, and Royal Oak, are named after pubs that existed close to the station
- London’s pubs employ over 600,000 people
- The Rake — a famous City of London pub — is the smallest pub in London
- German beer is the strongest in London’s pubs at around 50 percent
- Leffe beer is London’s most expensive beer, averaging £5.80 per pint at the Coach and Horses
- Some of London’s pubs still have frosted glass screens used by the pubs to prevent middle and upper-class drinkers from seeing working-class drinkers
- The Japanese bank Nomura owns over 5,000 pubs in London
What is the age limit for pubs in London?
You must be 18 years old to buy alcohol in the United Kingdom. So, that’s slightly younger than the USA. However, teens aged 16 and 17 may purchase wine, beer, or cider with their meal if an adult accompanies them.
Children under 16 can enter pubs with an adult, but they cannot drink alcohol. Some pubs may refuse you if you seem too drunk, but generally speaking, London’s pubs are more relaxed than many cities globally.
Our Top 5 Pub Recommendations in London
1. The Harp, Covent Garden
Firstly, London is perhaps the most touristy city worldwide, and that’s why we’ve started with a pub that will get you away from the tourists. You’ll find the Harp in London’s iconic Covent Garden, a popular area in the West End. The Harp has a diverse range of beers focusing on local produce. Suppose you’re feeling a little hungry? The Harp serves delicious butchers’ sausages in baps to eat with your beer.
The pub is excellent during the summertime as the landlady — who has run the pub for many years — opens the massive stained-glass windows so you can watch the thousands of Londoners pass by. The pub is quintessentially British and the perfect location to explore local attractions.
Address: The Harp, 47 Chandos Place, London WC2N
2. The Newman Arms, Fitzrovia
The Newman Arms has an incredibly storied history. The pub is one of the best pubs of London and it played an integral part in Fitzrovia’s 20th-century literary scene, which started back in 1730. However, much to the dismay of many Londoners, the pub closed in 2017. But a new operator reopened the pub in 2018, bringing its historical charm back to life. The Newman Arms is clubby, cozy, and completely unpretentious.
Furthermore, the Newman Arms is home to superb food, a diverse range of lagers and ales, and the option of private dining. Guests rave about the delicious pies on offer, and the pub makes all pies on-site daily. You can enjoy the pies from the traditional pie room alongside various lite-bites and pub classics.
Address: The Guinea Grill, 30 Bruton Street, London W1J 6NL
3. Princess Louise, Holborn
Are you a lover of gin? London isn’t short of old-fashioned pubs to grab a gin and tonic. But Princess Louise in Holborn is the mother of them all and one of the best pubs of London. The pub is a step into the Victorian era, and the owners have preserved the pub spectacularly. The mixture of intricate tiling, etched glass screens, marble pillars, and stained-glass windows offer a perfect British feeling.
During the day, the pub remains relatively quiet. Then, as the offices close, hundreds of workers from the Holborn area descend on the pub. So if you’re looking for that classic pub feeling in London, visiting Princess Lousie at night will give you that!
Telephone: +44 20 7405 8816
Address: Princess Louise, 208 High Holborn, London WC1V
4. The Lyric, Soho
If you’re wandering around the West End — which you almost certainly will — you’ll have to visit the Lyric. This charming pub is only a minute walk from the notorious Piccadilly Circus, yet it feels like another planet with its quaint and cozy charm. However, if you’re looking for a carnival atmosphere, the pub comes to life after 5 pm after the West End’s workers come for their favorite ale.
The Lyric is a small yet beautiful pub with a stunning array of fine wines, spirits, draught beers, fresh food, and Victorian decoration. The pub prides itself on being a ‘proper pub,’ and it’s definitely hard to argue! Needless to say, if you’re on a pub crawl (as the locals call it), The Lyric is in the middle of Soho, arguably London’s finest nightlife area.
Address: 37 Great Windmill St, Soho, London W1D 7LT, UK
5. The Churchill Arms, Notting Hill
Notting Hill? You’ve probably heard of that area from the famous movie. And if you’re exploring beautiful Notting Hill — which we would absolutely recommend — you’ll have to drink at the Churchill Arms. Named after Sir Winston Churchill, this pub is the ultimate London pub, and the thousands of flowers covering the pub make it arguably London’s prettiest public house.
You’ll find everything from gas masks, old tin clocks, and copper pots inside the pub. Moreover, check out the old newspaper columns, trinkets, photos, and memorabilia in the pub. Oh, if you’re feeling hungry, there’s a delicious Thai restaurant at the back. It’s been there since the 1980s and provides a delicious break from the stout Britishness of this pub.
Address: 119 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LN