Visit London Blog » pub Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Five of the Best Cosy Pubs in London Tue, 24 Dec 2013 13:30:57 +0000

Roaring fires, steaming winter warmers, squashy sofas, board games… There’s nothing better than snuggling up in a cosy London pub or bar when it’s cold outside.

London is full of great wintertime pubs so it’s hard to pick just five, but here are a few to get you started. Add your own favourites to the mix in the comments section below.

Leather Bottle Pub

When it’s cold outside, the last place you want to go is a pub garden – unless it’s at the Leather Bottle. This historic West London pub has transformed its garden into a winter wonderland, complete with a mini ice rink and five ski chalets kitted out with heaters and blankets. Après-skate anyone?

The Dove

Beat the winter boredom at The Dove on Broadway Market, where you can while away hours playing board games from the pub’s own selection and enjoying the excellent selection of British and Belgian beers and bites on offer. Ask behind the bar to borrow one of the board games, which range from chess to Monopoly – or join in one of the pub’s regular quiz nights (the next is on 8 January).

Little Nan’s

Tucked away within the Bunker Club in Deptford, Little Nan’s is a delightfully quirky bar decorated with chintzy furniture, teddy bears and cosy lamps. On the Christmas cocktail menu you’ll find special concoctions like Sexy Scottish Santa, Santa Baby and Sir Alan Titchmarsh (with British garden rhubarb, apple and ginger compote, rum and sugar) – all served in wacky mugs and teapots. There are also ‘nan snacks’ including cheese straws, Victoria sponge and shortbread.

The George Inn

London’s only remaining galleried coaching inn, The George Inn near London Bridge was once frequented by none other than Charles Dickens. More than 300 years after it opened, the inn is still drawing the punters in with its rustic beams, beautiful gallery and cosy interior. The courtyard garden area also has heaters and old-fashioned lamps to cater for the (inevitable) overspill.

Davy’s Wine Vaults

After an afternoon exploring Greenwich Market or a crisp winter’s walk around Greenwich Park, thaw out at Davy’s Wine Vaults. Established in 1870, this characterful overground/underground bar boasts more than 100 wines and is currently serving up hot mulled wine.

You can find more suggestions on our Traditional London Pubs page.

]]> 2
Five Of The Best: Underground Bars Thu, 14 Nov 2013 10:00:16 +0000

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than snuggling up in a cosy underground bar with a warming glass of whiskey or red wine. And luckily London is full of subterranean drinking nooks. Here are five of the best:

Gordon’s Wine Bar

Located on a side street next to Charing Cross station, Gordon’s Wine Bar is a wonderful cave-like cellar bar, full of candlelit tables and hidden recesses. Established in 1890, it claims to be the oldest wine bar in London – and retains its old world charm with wooden panelling, historic memorabilia and traditional dishes on the menu. Gordon’s is hugely popular, so arrive early (4pm is suggested) to bag a table.

Salvador & Amanda

Down a flight of stairs on a street connecting Leicester Square to Covent Garden lies a little piece of Spain. At Salvador & Amanda you can drink excellent Spanish wines and sample delicious tapas. Plus with its fiery red interior you’ll soon forget all about the cold weather above at street level. Head down on a Tuesday for the Flamencana experience – which includes a cava reception, delicious tapas spread and live flamenco – you can even have a go yourself!

Cork & Bottle

You’ve probably walked past Leicester Square’s Cork & Bottle many times without realising it was there, but once you’ve been you won’t forget it. Although this bar’s main passion is wine (there are more than 300 varieties to choose from), food is far from a second thought – with charcuterie and vegetarian plates to share, plus tempting mains like Butternut squash dumplings and pumpkin pesto and the always popular C&B ham and cheese pie.

Evans & Peel Detective Agency

Evans & Peel Detective Agency

Over the past few years, London hipsters have developed a taste for quirky underground bars with secret entrances, like The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, Shoreditch speakeasy Nightjar and Callooh Callay. Evans & Peel Detective Agency in Earl’s Court ups the intrigue with an unusual entrance experience and delightful décor that’s straight out of a classic detective story. Make sure you book ‘an appointment’ in advance.

Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar

Hawksmoor is famous for its succulent steaks, but in the bar below its Spitalfields branch you’ll find it knows a thing or two about cocktails too. Like a 21st century gentleman’s club, Spitalfields Bar is a glamorous mix of dark wood tables, plush seating and reclaimed Art Deco features – and offers delicious bar snacks as well as a cocktail menu with fantastically named creations like Full Fat Old Fashioned, Nuclear Banana Daiquiri and Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew.

]]> 2
Five Things Americans Should Try in London Tue, 25 Jun 2013 11:36:48 +0000 By Libby Zay

There’s no shortage of tourist staples in London, and while any visitor can revel in staring up at Big Ben or walking through Westminster Abbey, there are a few exploits Americans in particular will find novel when visiting London (and I don’t just mean watching cars drive by on the opposite side of the road). Here are a few British experiences that simply can’t be had in the United States.

Indulge in Afternoon Tea — Especially Clotted Cream

The Athenaeum Royal Summer - Afternoon Tea at Buckingham Palace with Helena and Ian

Nothing is more quintessentially British than afternoon tea. Many Americans, however, don’t realize that along with a hot pot of tea (no Lipton here, folks!) comes an assortment of delightful snacks, including scones smothered with rich, sweet clotted cream. Why, oh why, does this stuff not exist in the U.S.? It seems the thick cream, which would actually be classified as butter back home, isn’t exported because of its short shelf life. But it’s oh-so-delicious, and although clotted cream has an almost shamefully high fat content, it’s okay to indulge every once in awhile (especially while we’re on vacation, right?).

Walk in Jack the Ripper’s Footsteps

Although Jack the Ripper’s legacy has influenced countless American horror films, comics, and other pieces of popular culture, it’s only possible to chart his path in London’s East End. Professional guides give graphic murder-by-murder tours of Whitechapel, the neighborhood where the world’s first — and perhaps most famous — serial killer brutally murdered several prostitutes. Follow along and see if you can put together your own theory on who the real killer was; London Walks hosts eerie tours every night (except Dec. 24 & 25) starting at 7.30 p.m. from the Tower Hill Tube station.

Get Your Picture Inside a Red Phone Booth

When was the last time you saw a payphone in the U.S.? As cellular technology becomes more and more accessible, public telephones are becoming relics of the past. The same is true in London, and unfortunately, it means those iconic red telephone boxes are now not only novel because of their colour. Although they can still be found throughout the city — especially in places tourists frequent — you’d be wise to stop by one and snap a photo when you’re across the pond. And while you’re scoping out London icons, try to snag a front seat in the top of a double-decker bus.

Wander In and Out of Free Museums

Unless you’re in Washington, D.C., you’ll be hard pressed to find world-class museums sans admission prices in the U.S. In London, however, some of the best things in life are free — including internationally-recognized museums like the British Museum, Tate Modern, and the National Gallery, to name a few. As you zigzag up and down the Thames and throughout the rest of central London, be thankful that you can pop in and out of most museums at no charge.

Take Time for a Pint in an Authentic Pub

There’s plenty of British pub copycats in the U.S., and for good reason: there’s something special about grabbing a pint at these age-old drinking holes. For an authentic experience, stop in for a Sunday roast, a British comfort food meal of juicy meat served with accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, or stuffing. Or better yet, time your pub crawl around an English football match — hopefully you’ll find yourself raising a pint to celebrate a scored goal.

Like many other Americans, Libby Zay made her first trip overseas to London. She’s since explored many cities across the globe as a writer for various travel guides and publications, but something about London keeps reeling her back in. Learn more about Libby at, or follow her on Twitter @libbyzay.

]]> 3
A Grehla at The Gun Re-Opens for Summer Thu, 12 May 2011 09:30:34 +0000

If you’re looking for somewhere to make the most of the recent good weather in London, try Docklands-based gastro pub The Gun.

From today, The Gun is firing up its charcoal barbecue and offering al fresco dining on its gorgeous terrace, A Grehla, for the summer.

Having recently returned from a trip to Portugal and knowing The Gun’s strong reputation for its food (and Best Gastro pub award from a few years back) I was eager to sample its Portuguese menu and see if it really could serve up a taste of the Algarve.

The Portuguese salt cod croquettes (baccalau) were as tasty as any I’d had in Portugal. We also tried spicy chicken piri piri, lamb espetada (kebab) and delicious Valencian paella (not so Portuguese!) which was cooked in a giant paella pan.

If you’ve ever had a beer in Portugal, it was probably Super Bock or Sagres. If you developed a taste for either, you’ll be happy know that both brands are served at The Gun.

I didn’t try any desserts but if you have a sweet tooth you can’t go wrong with a Pastel de Nata (Portuguese custard tart) or if you’d prefer a savoury option, The Gun serves a selection of Portuguese and Spanish cheeses to round off the meal.

You won’t be looking out onto a beach, but A Grehla does offer nice views across the Thames and of The O2.

Definitely worth a visit on a sunny summer’s evening.

A Grehla at The Gun. From 12 May until mid- September 2011 (or longer if the weather stays good!)

]]> 0
Dinner at The County Arms in Wandsworth Common Wed, 20 Oct 2010 09:00:22 +0000 Pearl wen brie, pear and hazelnut salad Tomato soup Root vegetable parcel

Last Sunday, I went for dinner at the recently-refurbished County Arms pub in Wandsworth.

The pub is huge and just a few minutes’ walk from Wandsworth Common – great for a Sunday lunch if you’ve just been for a stroll.

The County Arms is a pub at the front, a restaurant at the back and also has a conservatory, comfy lounge and a beer garden. Our waiter told us there is even an upstairs section of the restaurant should they need it.

Like the pub, the menu was extensive! The mains were divided into lighter options, Sunday roasts, and the regular menu. There really was a great variety – from risotto to burgers to guinea fowl.

To start, we had rustic tomato soup and organic pearl wen brie, pear and hazelnut salad with apple and honey vinaigrette. The soup was thick and tasty and the salad was refreshing. I thought the balance of cheese, pear and dressing was just right.

As it was a Sunday, we both opted for roast dinners. I ordered the vegetarian option of a root vegetable parcel: a puff pastry parcel served with green vegetables and roast potatoes. My dining partner had roast chicken.

The root vegetable parcel was a perfect autumnal meal – warming and full of seasonal orange and red veggies. The only thing missing for me was a Yorkshire pudding – although perhaps it would’ve been too heavy alongside the pastry.

Although I was full, I did manage a dessert – pecan pie with ice cream. Again, a nice winter treat, the pie was very sweet and I had to go home before the post-sugar slump hit!

The County Arms would be a great place to meet up with friends for a Sunday lunch – due to its size you’d have a good chance of getting a table for a group and the pub does take reservations. Plus, you can work it all off with a brisk walk on Wandsworth Common afterwards…

 The County Arms, 345 Trinity Road, SW18 3SH

]]> 0
Win a Meal for Two at The Globe Restaurant, Covent Garden Fri, 28 May 2010 10:44:20 +0000 The Globe pub and restaurant is a pleasant haven amid the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden.

Recently refurbished, The Globe’s interior has a traditional English pub feel, with a dose of French bistro (chequered table cloths and black & white photographs of Picasso, Bridget Bardot etc) thrown in for good measure. This can be attributed to new manager Oliver Trotel – a pleasant and engaging chap who has been working hard over the past few months to reinvigorate the look and feel of the place.

The Globe’s menu is a good mix of pub and bistro fare with pies, steak, fried calamari, pasta and daily specials, plus a specially selected wine list to match.

Chatting to Trotel after our meal, he let us in on some of The Globe’s fascinating history. The building is part of the site of the world’s first Police Station – home of the Bow Street Runners. There’s even an original cell in the basement that’s now used for storage (not accessible to the public). And, of course, there is a ghost, although Trotel said he’d never seen it himself.

During the World Cup, The Globe will be screening matches downstairs. Upstairs,  the outside terrace will be open shortly, just in time for the summer.

Best of all, Visit London is offering you the chance to win a meal for two at The Globe (click the link for info on how to enter).

]]> 0
Visiting London: Chris Dexter Wed, 24 Jun 2009 11:32:24 +0000 Chris Dexter

Chris Dexter

How old are you, Chris?
I’m 29.

And where are you from?
I’m visiting London from Manchester.

How long are you staying in London?
I’m here for the weekend. I’m staying with friends in Wandsworth Town.

What have you been up to?
I’ve taken a wander down Northcote Road in the sunshine, which was lovely. My friends and I ate lunch sitting outside a cute café called Al Gusto (great paninis) and watched the world go by. There was an Italian market on Northcote Road on Saturday. We didn’t buy anything, but the waffles looked amazing. The pubs and bars in the area were all really busy with people watching the rugby. Luckily, a place called Babel doesn’t have big screens (and so was emptier), so we were able to have a quiet glass of wine in there.

And where did you go on Saturday night?
I went to a party with some friends I met while I was travelling a couple of years ago. The party was at a pub in Dalston called The Haggerston. I found it eventually, after taking a wrong turn out of the station. It was a cool place for a party, although it was absolutely rammed. Lots of people in there had very big hair. And very skinny jeans, with turn-ups. Particularly the boys.

What’s different about life in London and life in Manchester?
In London, things are a very long way away from each other. If you want to see someone for a cup of tea after work in Manchester, it’s no problem. In London, it takes 40 minutes to get anywhere. If I drove for 40 minutes from my work in Manchester, I’d be in Leeds! And I’d expect more than a cup of tea for my travels.

What surprised you during this visit to London?
Lots of blokes have moustaches in London. It makes them look very 80s; I’m not sure I like it. That’s a trend that hasn’t reached Manchester. Yet.

]]> 0