Pubs in London - any suggestions?

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Oct 5th, 1998, 12:24 PM
  #1
Robin
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Pubs in London - any suggestions?

Planning my first visit to London next month (11/2 to 11/9). I picked up a copy of "time-out's" guide to pubs & bars; but does anyone have personal experiences they'd like to share? I'm looking for two types of pubs - those offering (1) decent, but reasonably priced food; and (2) fun place to drink & mingle with the locals.
 
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Oct 6th, 1998, 02:36 AM
  #2
NIGEL DORAN
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Hello Robin,

All Bar One is a good chain, as is Slug and Lettuce. They offer nice atmospheres and good food, like sandwiches and chips and deserts. I wouldn't say they are traditional, but they are part of a 'new tradition' of airy pubs with good service and nice interiors and can be found everywhere!
As for traditional pubs, they are few and far between. I would go with the recommendations of 'Time Out' and the like. Try out the local brews and steer clear of insipid ales and lagers. Bottled beers are a bit of a rip-off, as they are in 12oz bottles but cost the same as a pint, an Imperial pint being larger than a U S one. No need to tip either - most Brits don't. Expect to pay 2 a pint for lagers at least, perhaps a bit less for bitters.
Perhaps the best place for mingling would be near University areas, or in Soho. Don't spend all your time drinking though - there is much more to do and see.
 
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Oct 6th, 1998, 03:59 AM
  #3
Knut
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Try an exellent pub in Kensington, handy for both museums and shopping:
Britannia, 1 Allen Street, W8
(To find it on the map, try
http://www.londontown.com/nav/nav.html)
I would also recommend a guided walk of a few pubs. Try the following - they are exellent!
http://london.walks.com/
For lots of information on London, I recommend www.thisislondon.co.uk/

Knut, Oslo, Norway
(frequent London visitor)
 
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Oct 6th, 1998, 04:21 AM
  #4
Sherrie
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Hi Robin: We had great fish and chips and Foster Beer on tap at the "Bag of Nails" Pub near Buckingham Palace. Sorry I don't have the Street address. A couple days later, we went for Fish & Chips at another Pub, remembering how great it tasted, but it wasn't nearly as good as the "Bag of Nails".
 
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Oct 6th, 1998, 10:24 AM
  #5
B. Irving
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I have made these recommendations in previous posts, but I do not tire of giving out good recommendations. A couple of Pubs where I have really enjoyed the food & a pint or 2 -- The Sherlock Holmes on Northumbeland in London, a few blocks from the Enbankment tube stop. They have either the regular pub, or upstairs is a very good, inexpensive restaurant with some Shelock Holmes memorabilia. & in Greenwich -- The Gypsy Moth Pub has some excellent pub food. The Gypsy Moth is located right up the street from the Cutty Sark. I am fond of Steak & kidney pie, & similar English pub food, & look for Pubs that are good for that. Some that I have found outside of London for that are Ye Olde Jerusleum pub in Nottingham, & the Courthouse Pub in Caerphilly, Wales -- which has a fantastic view of the castle.
 
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Oct 6th, 1998, 12:03 PM
  #6
s.fowler
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Great thread! Finding a "home" pub during your stay in England is always a lot of fun.
Asking the fodor's folks to recommend one or two in the Russell Square area where we're staying. I *think* I can find the one we used many years ago.... but current recommendations are eagerly sought!
 
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Oct 6th, 1998, 07:52 PM
  #7
Ann
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The best view (really!) and friendliest service, top food, and loads of history to boot was the Anchor Pub just up the river from the Globe Theater. Best fish and chips at Shakespeare's Head very near to Liberty's of London, mayby it was Carnaby Street, in the upstairs restaurant. The pubs have gotten very classy since my trip in the '70's but they all had their own personality. We probably ate at least one meal per day in one (and my husband made a point of trying the local brews, as many different ones as he could over the course of our vacation). The only ones that I was hesitant to visit were in Hampstead at night, where it seems all of London's beautiful people congregate. If I was younger though, it would have been great!
Have a great trip.
 
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Oct 7th, 1998, 09:52 AM
  #8
Nick Cole
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Robin,
According to a recent study, there are 3,000 pubs in Central London - the highest concentration in the UK!
As a local, I'll be frank - 99.9% of West End pubs cater in some way for tourists, office works or passers-by.
If you want to really find a "local" pub, you're going to need to be a bit more adventurous (-don't worry, you'll fit in anywhere).
So, my personal favourites:
(1) for food try
The Captain Kidd, Wapping High Street, Wapping, E1 (you can walk it from the Tower of London)
The Castle, Battersea High Street, Battersea SW11
The Flask, Highgate Hill, Highgate, N19
(2) for real locals pubs
The Prince of Wales, The Pavement, Clapham, SW4 - without doubt the most varied (and strange) pub in the known world
The White Hart, Whitechapel, E1 for illegal 'lock-ins', gambling and various other fine passtimes
The Coach and Horses, Romilly St, Soho, W1 - the only real locals pub in the West End (if you like drunks, pimps, and media-types - good mix!)

The Time Out guide is actually very good, but look through the pages on areas outside central London.

PS, English pub etiquette in 7 easy steps:

Drink bitters, not largers
Sold pints and half pints (men always drink pints)
Always eat pork scratchings if available
Don't play darts unless you know how to
Never say "excuse me" if a large and drunked man is in your way, use terminology such as "'Sxuse mate", "Watcha" or other grunts
Fellow drinks when male are always "mate"
Bar maids are always "'Darlin'"

(PPS, I am joking - sorry, sick English sense of humour)
 
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Oct 7th, 1998, 01:53 PM
  #9
Mavis
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Having just returned fr. England would like to recommend Nell's on Drury Lane just across fr. the theatre where Miss Saigon is playing (by the way we went to the Wed. matinee and got great, great seats for L25). Great food, the upper bar is very private, and the ambiance is very nice. The bar man (not sure what else to call him?) was friendly, and even opened a window for us by climbing on one of the seats. Nell Gwynne, actress and mistress of Charles II, used to sell oranges out front, hence the name. Can also sit out on the street. Was disappointed in the Sherlock Holmes pub, perhaps my expectations were too high. Would add my support to Ye Olde Trip in Nottingham, was where the crusaders 'supped' before leaving for the Middle East. If you are travelling out of London another great pub is the Falkland Arms in Great Tew (they also sell pipe tobacco and homemade wine) and the White Horse in Oxford (where Inspector Morse drinks). I would like to add a few things to the fellow's comments before me: I never noticed anyone but tourists saying hi - it was either hiya or all right then? When you leave the pub say cheers, you can also say cheers when the barman/woman gives you your drink. They seem to frown at you when you order lager, altho we noticed as many English ppl drinking it, we always asked the barman/woman to recommend a good bitter, and they always did. You don't need to tip, but if you are having two or three (and don't drive!) and chatted a bit with the barman/woman we would tell them 'have one for yourself' - which they would take out of the cost. You have to order your food (and your pints) at the counter, but they will deliver it (the food) to your table. In some pubs, particularly for dinner, when your food is ready they will take you to another part of the pub - away from the riff-raff I guess. And when you leave it's polite to return your empty glasses to the counter. Have fun.
 
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Oct 11th, 1998, 04:21 AM
  #10
Mike Long
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My favorite for lunch when visiting Westminster is the Westminster Arms on Parliament Square, located on the northwestern side of the square. Upstairs is strictly for quaffing a pint, but the dining room downstairs servers a wonderful lunch. Many M.P.'s stop in before the afternoon session of the Commons, and I have even seen the deputy Prime Minister there. The food is great and I am always amazed at how many people fit in this seemingly tiny pub.
 
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Oct 11th, 1998, 07:29 AM
  #11
Connie
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My favorite pub in London is the Three Tuns located at Portman and Seymour Street. It's easy to miss and not touristy. Quaint, real gaslamps on walls, sawdust on floor, good food.
 
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Oct 11th, 1998, 10:31 AM
  #12
Ben Haines
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You might like a note of pubs I like to lunch in, Mondays to Fridays. Mostly these lunch rooms are upstairs, with a view of the street below.

The Two Chairmen, junction of Queen Anne's Gate and Lewisham Street, a hundred yards north east of St James Park Station. Useful if you're at Parliament, Westminster Abbey, or the Cabinet War Rooms.

The Devereaux, Essex Street, just west of the Temple, and just south of the Law Courts on the Strand. Nearest tube Temple. Good if you're at Dr Jiohnson's House, the Courtauld Galleries or even the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery.

Upstairs in the two pubs in Leadenhall Market, corner of Bishopsgate and Leadenhall Street. I don't really know them, but they looked good: I turned up late ! Nearest tube Monument or Bank. Good for visits to the eastern City churches, including the medieval St Helen's.

The Lamb, northern end of Lamb's Conduit Sreet, nearest tube Russell Square. The whole street is half-pedestrianised, and offers various cheap lunches. Good for visits to the British Museum and the British Library. Also good for people staying in Russell Square hotels (where the food is a bit expensive, and dull). Another weekday lunchtime idea for people near Russell Square is on the west side of the square the self-service university restaurant, the MacMillan, in Senate House, and at the north west corner the restaurant (not the student canteen) in the basement of the School of Oriental and African Studies. The waiter is French, the menu has pleasing Asian touches, and there's wine but, alas, at London prices.

The Founders Arms, just downstream from the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge. Modern building, splendid view over the river to the city, much better value for money than the nearby Anchor. Also, supper until 8.30pm, and service seven days a week. Beware over-sized poirtions: they don't at all mind if you ask for one course and two plates. Which may leave space for their puddings. Good for the Globe Theatre and for visits in the City, such as St Paul's. Not impossdible for supper before the play or the concert on the south bank: the twenty kinute riverside walk is pleasant.

The Market Porter, Stoney Street, in Borough Market, across the road from London Bridge station. Less romantic location, but better food, than the nearby George. I'm not knocking The George: it's useful for weekends and for evenings. Good for Southwark Cathedral, or the Old Operating Theatre and herb garret.

Both the pubs in the old market place in Greenwich. A third nearby, the Mitre, next to the splendid St Alphege parish church. I slightly prefer all three to the Gypsy Moth, but there's not much difference between them all. I think all these offer weekend lunches, too. Good for visitors to the College Chapel, the National Maritime Museum, and the Observatory.

Now to mingling with the locals (sir, are you addressing me ?). The Shepheard Neame pub on West Smithfield. Equal first with Young's as the best beer in London. Nearest tube Farringdon. The Black Friar, opposite Blackfriars station, especially fort city people stpping on their way home. The Founders Arms, as noted. We ancient south Londoners tend to gather at tables near the food counter. And then the rest that I use are out in the suburbs. My own local, for example, is the Old Nun's Head on Nunhead Green, with particularly well-kept Bass, but nobody in their right mind would traipse out to Nunhead just to use this good pub.

And now a little knocking copy. Nobody should be hurt: tastes in pubs and in drinks are highly personal. As somebody says, All Bar One andSlug and Lettuce pubs (and they could have added Fuller's Ale and Pie houses) are chains, short of character, and with food, mostly bread or chips or piecrust, fabricated in a factory somewhere far off. Every pub I've listed for lunch has a cook. Foster is not beer, but is lager, and is a mistake when you can get Young's, Shepheard Neame, or Bass (but avoid Courage). Even benighted lager lovers would prefer one direct from Bohemia -- Pilsner Urquel from Pilsen, the real (not the American) Budweisser, Staropec (have I got that right ?) from Prague, and so on. The end of the Cold War (which we owe to you Americans and to Mr Gorbachev) has many a good bi-product.

Please write again if I can help further. Welcome to my city.

Ben Haines, South London

For Mr S Fowler: I have on disc a list of free public lectures in central London, mostly academic, from now to June. Would you please tell me if you'd like it by E-mail, and say when you're to be in London ?
 
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Jun 8th, 2003, 08:56 AM
  #13
Reg
 
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We swear by "The Good Pub Guide". It has never let us down and is revised every year. In Kensington I would recommend The Churchill Arms and The Windsor Castle. The Churchill Arms has the best Thai in town and Gerry, the publican is the real deal. The Windsor Castle is a bit "Etonian" but it has a great garden and if you want some bangers & mash - this is the place.
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Jun 8th, 2003, 10:05 AM
  #14
 
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I love London, mostly for its Pubs.I second the above plug for "The Good Pub Guide" you can order it online from Amazon.It actually covers the whole of the UK,but you can just rip out the sections that cover the areas your'e travelling too. Its a paperback and the whole book is to big to take with you.Try to drink real cask-conditioned ale from a handpump because its very hard to find anywhere else in the world and its unique to England.
Here is a link to a Pub finder website that can be used to find Pubs by their nearest Tube stop.
http://www.fancyapint.com/
Cheers...
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