There are few things that are as enjoyable as getting a pint at a traditional pub or bar in London. Unfortunately, a lot of the old pubs have been bought up by corporations which have taken the charm and uniqueness out of some spots. Instead of reading the same menu in different places, but a little extra effort and research into where you can go for a great pint. You’ll be glad you did. Drinking and eat is a great British pastime and in London, there are plenty of pubs that will make you feel right at home. To start you off on the right path, here are a few watering holes you can hit up for superb ambience, lengthy beer lists, lively entertainment, and more.
The Churchill Arms in Notting Hill lays a genuine claim to being London's most famous watering hole. Built in 1750, this Kensington pub was once frequented by Winston Churchill's grandparents - and it's now the preferred haunt of many a modern day celebrity. There is an always-changing offering of pints, but you are always guaranteed a top quality drink at the Churchill Arms. To see what they have on tap, visit their site where you can browse their wide range of perfectly kept cask-conditioned ales.
The Princess Louise is a famous pub in Holborn, central London, known for its traditional Victorian interior. In fact, just about everything in the Princess Louise screams royalty. “Comfy” is the most frequent adjective used about the pub, and after settling into one of their giant plush armchairs with a cold pint, you’ll have no choice but to agree. If you’re looking for an honest, traditional Great British Pub, with traditional Samuel Smith drink options, the Princess Louise is the place to go.
As one of London's oldest pubs (est. 1585) The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead has its fair share of stories to share. Dickens immortalised this charming pub in The Pickwick Papers, and it's said that Keats wrote Ode to a Nightingale here over some drinks. The Spaniards is essentially a country pub in the city with large gardens out back for when the weather is fair and roaring fireplaces for when it’s chilly. Beyond the superb ambience, beer and food matching is at the heart of what they do — each dish on the menu is perfectly paired to a beer.
This oddball little pub stands out from the rest of the pubs in London. The Grenadier was originally built in 1720 as the Officers Mess Hall for the Royal Foot Guards and has since been converted into a classy and cosy pub. Formerly known as The Grenadier Arms, this pub is in an ideal location, tucked away a few blocks from Buckingham Palace. Get your pint from one of the friendly bartenders, and then go for a walk in the palace gardens afterward.
Ye Olde Chesire Cheese is most notable for its long history but today, the best part of the tavern is its tasty beer selection—the menu is long enough and varied enough to please any beer aficionado. Commonly referred to as simple “The Cheese”, this six-tiered tavern looks fairly dark and dingy from the outside and the inside is just as dark — there’s no natural light in the rooms. As you wander the rooms (each has its own theme and character) you’ll notice woodchips on the floor and original portraits hanging on the wall. Both are efforts to retain the original character of this tavern that first opened its doors in 1538.
If you’re ready to head to for the nearest pub, then you’re ready to book your British holiday. As you plan and reserve accommodations, remember to look at travel insurance to decide if it’s something that would supplement your holiday and lend you peace of mind.
Image courtesy of Flickr user klndonnelly; cropped from original.