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Top 20 Places to Drink Beer in London

top places drink beer london

London is one of the greatest cities in the world. Replete with a storied history and a vibrant populace, England’s capital is also home to some of the finest establishments for enjoying a beer, from centuries-old public houses to sparkling new taprooms that have sprung up all over the metropolis.

While a crisp gin and tonic still might be the most recognizable current beverage for Anglophiles around the world, pubs are better known for their selection of British ales and lagers – as well as the local craft flavor of choice.

On this list of the top 20 places to drink beer in London, you’ll find a variety of different watering holes, including some notable landmarks dotted across London’s striking skyline. There are also multiple historically significant pubs, a few newer craft breweries as well as one notable storied brewery that’s called London home for over 170 years.

Read on to explore The Beer Connoisseur’s list of The Top 20 Places to Drink Beer in London.

(Disclaimer: This list is not in best-to-worst order, as all of these establishments are equally worthy of  visiting should you find yourself in the great city of London.)


Anchor Bankside sign
Anchor Bankside

We’ve covered The Anchor Bankside pub on London’s South Bank before in our Four Historic London Pubs story, but a trip to the megalopolis wouldn’t be complete without a stroll alongside the timeless River Thames and a delectable brew at The Anchor Bankside. While this storied pub is almost always packed to the gills, if you’re quick, you can nab a spot in the outdoor seating area with views of the Thames in the shadow of the Southwark Bridge. A mere six-minute walk from the tourist-laden Millennium Bridge and a stone’s throw from Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, imbibing a brew at Anchor Bankside stands out as a highlight of the top 20 places to drink beer in London.

Image Courtesy Chris Guest


Waterloo Tap sign
Waterloo Tap

A hidden gem with 26 taps of high-quality suds located under the arches of the Golden Jubilee and Hungerford Bridges, this low-key taproom with complementing neon sign featured brews from Kernel Brewery, Five Points Brewery, Siren, Budvar, Schofferhofer, Redemption Brewery, Weihenstephaner, Bloomsbury Brewing and many more. Waterloo Tap stands a few steps away from (fittingly) Waterloo Station – meaning multiples of Siren’s Guava Script Berliner Weisse or Castilian Lemon Cheesecake Sour IPA can be imbibed with little worry of transporting oneself home.

Image Courtesy Chris Guest


Market Hall Fulham rooftop terrace
Market Hall Fulham

Housed in an “ornate and well-preserved Edwardian underground station” and less than a block away from the modern Fulham Broadway underground station sits Market Hall Fulham, which is home to multiple eateries such as Made of Dough, a modern pizza spot that offers pizzas on Tuesdays for 5 pounds, Ahi Poke, a poke bowl specialist spot and Butchies, which produces some of the best fried chicken in London. Atop the hall is a rooftop terrace where intrepid beer fans can imbibe brews as they look out across the city. A splendid spot.


Beavertown Brewery gamma ray can and glass
Beavertown Brewery

One of the most well-known recent craft breweries in London is Beavertown Brewery, which produces well-known English craft brews such as Neck Oil Session IPA and Gamma Ray Pale Ale. Founded by Logan Plant, son of the legendary lead singer of Led Zeppelin Robert Plant, in the Lockwood Industrial Park, Beavertown represents one of the most notable destination breweries in all of London for craft beer fans of every stripe.


Beer Merchants Tap bar
Beer Merchants Tap

A physical extension of Beermerchants.com, Beer Merchants Tap was founded in 2018 to serve as the best beer selection in London. The Stratford-based taproom, bottle shop and blendery certainly has a case. With scintillating style experiments from Pilot, Cloudwater Brew Co. and Omnipollo in the rotation – which changes rapidly – this is one spot not to be missed and easily one of the top 20 places to drink beer in London.


The Earl of Essex beers
The Earl of Essex

A craft beer drinker’s paradise located in north London in the neighborhood of Islington, The Earl of Essex is surely worth a sojourn if you’re looking to delve into a tremendous beer menu. Though limited to only 20 taps, the pub also offers myriad bottles of brew from around the world, including various American craft favorites such as Almanac, Modern Times and American Solera. Also on offer are sharing bottles of rare brews such as Lambics, Imperial Stouts and more. E of E also provides a robust Gin & Tonic list so non-beer drinkers will be spoilt for choice as well.


view from Fenchurch Restaurant and Darwin Brasserie at the SkyGarden
Fenchurch Restaurant and Darwin Brasserie at the SkyGarden

On the top floors of London’s now-iconic “walkie talkie” building, or 20 Fenchurch Street officially, are two tremendous opportunities to take in the sweeping views of London from 36 floors up while dining on refined cuisine with a refreshing, thirst-quenching brew nearby. Tickets to the SkyGarden are free but limited and reservations for the restaurant or brasserie are a must.

Image Courtesy Chris Guest


 

The Euston Tap fridge and tap handles
The Euston Tap

The Euston Tap Craft Beer House is located in a Victorian station gatehouse in the Euston Square Gardens in the Saint Pancras neighborhood. In close proximity to Russell Square, the British Museum, University College London and King’s Cross/St. Pancras station makes this a rather easy spot to traverse when looking for craft beer destinations in London. With 47 taps of some of the freshest beer in the city, this picturesque locale – replete with verdant beer gardens in Euston Square – makes for one of the lushest and most enjoyable spots for beer drinkers in London.


Old Fountain food and beer
Old Fountain

A chic establishment on Old Street in the Shoreditch borough of London, this gorgeous yet low-key spot features a rotating beer list of local craft selections and refreshing brews from around the world. With a well-priced food menu and attractive beer garden within, Old Fountain is sure to hold a special place in any beer drinker’s heart upon visiting it.


The Rake facade
The Rake

Located in Borough Market again in the splendid Southwark area of London – not far from Anchor Bankside – The Rake is a specialty beer bar with a massive selection of brews from around the world that seems tailor-made for those on a beer-cation. The Rake’s website might put it the best: “The beer selection is impressively large, while the seating area is famously small, making this a warm and intimate place to explore the world of brewing.”

Image Courtesy Flickr/Bernt Rostad


Searcys at The Gherkin ceiling
Searcys at The Gherkin

Another stunning jewel in London’s skyline is The Gherkin, also known as 30 Mary Axe, the stunning building that resembles a pointy pickle – hence its nickname. On the top three floors of the building is Searcys at The Gherkin, which offers a restaurant and bar with 360-degree views of London’s skyline – as well as a bevy of beverages, including a variety of local brews, which pair beautifully with the inspiring skyline surrounding visitors.

Image Courtesy Chris Guest


Fourpure Brewing Co. beers
Fourpure Brewing Co.

This Bermondsey-based craft brewery was founded in 2013, and its name references “respecting the four core ingredients used to make beer: grain, yeast, hops and water.” With well-designed, eye-catching cans and a stable of interesting flagship beers, Pils Lager, Session IPA, American Pale, Easy Peeler Citrus Session IPA and Oatmeal Stout, each with its own inspiration – Fourpure Brewing Co. is a must for beer travelers.


beer being poured at Brew by Numbers
Brew by Numbers

One of the most highly regarded craft breweries in London, Brew by Numbers has produced over 350 different beers since its inception in 2011, many of which can be found in the various beer establishments on this list. The brewery’s three locations (two in Bermondsey and one in Peckham) also make for a worthwhile trip for beer fans to enjoy the brewery’s newest style experiments and delicious brews straight from the source.


The Botanist Sloane Square facade
The Botanist Sloane Square

With a façade festooned with flowers, this flora-themed bar and restaurant features a varied and enchanting menu with various beers – including craft selections from Siren Craft Brew and Little Creatures. A refined interior combined with the striking visuals outside make The Botanist Sloane Square one of the most memorable spots on our list of the top 20 places to drink beer in London.


Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese sign
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

This ancient public house was covered in far more depth in our Four Historic London Pubs piece, but it’s worth a visit to order the extremely well-priced Samuel Smith’s brews on tap then explore the cavernous halls beneath the brewery’s top floor – which seems sparse until one bends oneself to fit down the narrow staircase meant for the smaller people of centuries past. Beer fans will surely feel the connection to London’s centuries of history while slaking their thirst at a pub that has been around since 1538 – and was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666.

Image Courtesy Chris Guest


Fuller’s Brewery brick sign
Fuller’s Brewery

Founded in 1845, beer fans would be remiss to not make the trek to Fuller’s Brewery in Chiswick, which is beyond the city center. However, it’s worth it as 20-pound tasting tours take place Monday through Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Friday, the brewery offers tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. English beer fans looking to imbibe Fuller’s ESB, London Pride and London Porter – as well as rarer releases – right from the source shouldn’t miss the chance to visit one of London’s most storied breweries.


The Craft Beer Co. Old Street exterior
The Craft Beer Co. Old Street

This simply named establishment is far from ordinary. With nine locations across various boroughs of London, each establishment has its own flair based on its surroundings. The Old Street location is painted bright red, the Hammersmith one features mirrored tiles, track lighting and a fanciful gray and pink interior color scheme and the Covent Garden location features a striking combination of wood paneling and brick interior. All nine Craft Beer Co. locations feature a rotating list of local and far-flung craft brews that are sure to whet the appetite of any and all craft beer fans that cross their threshold.

Image Courtesy Flickr/Ewan Munro


The Spice of Life interior
The Spice of Life

The Spice of Life pub located in the fashionable Soho district is surrounded by various eateries, retailers and other landmarks on all sides. Slip into the wood-paneled Victorian establishment and soak in the atmosphere of the greatest city in the world with various local brews as well as a nice fish and chips or steak and ale pie supper. Divine!


Brewmaster Covent Garden interior
Brewmaster Covent Garden

Brewmaster's beautiful tiled exterior gives way to an inviting Greene King pub in the heart of Covent Garden – a thriving and vibrant borough and tube station in close proximity to Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. Greene King Brewery owns over 2700 pubs and restaurants in England, but this attractive spot might be one of its best.


Mother Kelly’s facade
Mother Kelly’s

With five locations in London: Vauxhall, Bethnall Green, Stratford, Church Street and Well Street this taproom/bottle shop hybrid features some of the best-stocked taps and shelves in all of London. Featuring multiple beers from around the world available to drink on-site as well as many more bottles to take home and enjoy, Mother Kelly’s is a can’t-miss for beer connoisseurs when visiting Old Blighty.


While this list could’ve easily been 250 establishments long (or more), let’s hope these top 20 places to drink beer in London will be enough for one trip to one of the finest cities in the world. Any vacation that includes visits to these spectacular beer destinations is sure to be a memorable one.

Keep calm and have a pint!

Images Courtesy Respective Breweries except where noted

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