As much as BarChick loves cocktails, sometimes you can’t really beat a good pint or even a yard down the pub. So BarChick’s been hitting the City to find those places that offer that little bit more than your average pub, and with more and more microbreweries popping up that take the quality of their brews very seriously, we were pleasantly surprised. Check ‘em out…
The guys here are all about making great beer, and with kit that serious, they are more than able to do it – you can soon see for yourselves when they start their tours of the brewery on Saturdays. Their Hells Lager has already started popping up around town, but the best place to drink it is in the brewery itself and with the Big Apple Hot Dog van in residence, as well as other food stalls that change around, it the perfect place for a session!
55-59 Wilkin Street Mews, London, NW5 3NN
These guys started off in Scotland with the idea of making beer that was different from the commercially produced mainstream beer that you find everywhere… and it caught on. Their first London venue is a wicked little place, with a cash bar downstairs and some serious burgers on the menu. The beers on tap are a bit different, like their Wasabi Stout or the Tokyo Rolling in at 18%… the Scottish don’t p*ss about when it comes to drinking.
113 Bayham Street, Camden Town, London, NW1 0AG
If you wander out of Euston station you’ll come across the two facing stone lodges that are The Euston Tap and The Cider Tap. For a tiny place they’ve crammed in a big selection… just watch the winding staircase if you’re on your tenth pint upstairs. Since they’re not tied to a brewery, these guys can choose what they want to have on tap and they’re all about bringing in the best craft beers, with their selection changing regularly, so man up and try something new. N.B. If you’re planning an after party, get takeaway bottles at the end.
190 Euston Road, London, NW1 2EF
With the summer coming everyone loves a good beer garden, and this place has one of the best in town. With only a small yard to work with, the guys here got clever with some decking and built a sort of multi-level terrace… like a car park for beer drinkers/high-rise beer garden! They’ve got a decent range of beers to enjoy while you get food and negotiate the decking and the stairs.
19 Perth Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3HB
This little place in Kentish Town is a proper no frills pub – it’s cash only, you can’t reserve anything and they don’t even have a phone. Perfect place to hide. It’s a pork lover’s heaven in here; they have everything from scratching to sausage rolls, pork baps with crackling and pies. The taps are always changing and they also work with a lot of London microbreweries, so the beer is amazing. If you’re trying to get your date pissed, they also have a wicked selection of ciders that will work nicely.
139 Highgate Road, London, NW5 1LE
These BBQing boys have taken things into their own hands and installed a home-smoker and their own microbrewery. They’ve been experimenting with all kinds of different wood chips and smoking methods and they serve up their delicious, slow cooked pork or beef with homemade pickles and slaw. They have a dozen beer taps and a healthy selection of bottles… plus at weekends they do a US-style brunch with buttermilk blueberry pancakes and omelettes stuffed with smoked pork belly – our kinda place!
33 Downham Road, De Beauvoir Town, Hackney, London, N1 5AA
The first thing that BarChick noticed when stepping into this place was a huge plate of rib bones on someone’s table, take note – get the ribs. But with “butchers” in the name, it’s kind of what you’d expect. Their beer selection, chalked up on a massive board above the bar, is impressive. Camden Town Brewery and Meantime are there to name a few, looks like they’ve covered the London scene… you’ll also find a great selection of Weissbiers, as well as imports like Sierra Nevada Pale ale – American craft beer at its best.
204 Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16 7HU
This pub in East London has a wicked selection of ales on tap – they’re supporting a lot of the London microbreweries like Brodies, Sambrooks, Redemption, London Fields and Meantime, so you can get the best of the local brews. It doesn’t stop at the drinks though… they’ve managed to get the Lucky Chip guys in residence in their kitchen and if you haven’t tried one of their burgers yet, you’re missing out on one of the best in London. Full marks all round.
31-35 Coate Street, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9AG
This place has a great selection of beers on tap and the bar snacks are amazing! In fact, you might as well stay for food – because with over 10 beers you’ll need something to soak them all up and be sure you’ll make it safely through the list. They’re supporting local brewers like London Fields Brewery and if you’re starting the session off with a headache, they make a banging Bloody Mary as well.
130 Lauriston Road, Victoria Park, London, E9 7LH
In this part of town the bars tend to be a little rough around the edges and uber “cool”… Jaguar Shoes fits right in. With dark lighting, a massive sofa in the corner and the walls covered with the work of whichever resident artist has curated the space that month, you can’t help but love it. You’ll find London Fields Brewery beers in here as well as other speciality beers, and it’s definitely one of the cooler places that you will be drinking them in.
32-34 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, London, E2 8DA
If you’re really after something different (or you just love beer that much), this is the place to go. They have one of the best selections of beer that you’ll find anywhere in the country. They have 16 cask ales on tap at all times from the best British microbreweries and the largest selection of craft keg beer available in the UK… but in case you really are that picky, they also have over 300 bottles. See it how you want: either there’s loads to choose from or you’ve just been challenged!
82 Leather Lane, Clerkenwell, London, EC1N 7TR
This place is small in size and big on beer – in fact, it’s the smallest pub in London, so leave your fat mates at home. They’ve got 5 taps that they change regularly and their policy is “no crap on tap”, so you’re in good hands. As if it wasn’t good enough, if you’re not happy with what they’ve got on tap, they also have over 200 bottles of beer and cider. Nuff said.
14A Winchester Walk, London, SE1 9AG
The guys behind The Draft House are serious beer geeks – they take its provenance, cellaring and serving seriously and they have a huge selection of quality brews to show for it. If you’re here for a long Sunday session, they’ve kept the menu simple but delicious, you can’t go wrong.
206-208 Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP
Yet another place with a huge beer selection, with some of the best cask ales available from across the country and a huge selection of kegs… oh and then there are the bottles, which have come from all over the UK and as far as Japan. The beers here are amazing and if you’re planning on working your way through their selection, you might want to book a cab now.
6 Charlwood Street, Pimlico, London, SW1V 6EE
This wicked, Colonial Britain inspired bar is all about the best of British and that includes their beer list, which is built around a celebration of traditional British brewing. That means there’s nothing too ordinary about the list, which BarChick loves! They have an interesting selection of draft beers and they rotate their cask ales seasonally. But their bottled beers are really where it’s at, with some really unusual options like the Grozet Gooseberry ale, which goes through a second fermentation with ripe Scottish gooseberries. Enjoy.
147 St Johns Hill, London, SW11 1TQ
This tiny place has been around for decades (it’s possibly an ex brothel) and you can see why its lasted – they have an original 1972 jukebox on the side with a wicked selection of rock/blues 7s and all kinds of stuff up on the walls… plus the little bar downstairs that opens after 5pm is even better! It’s small and cosy and they have a great beer selection – it’s one of the only places in London where you can get the Spanish brew Mahou on tap. Try one of their Tequila Sangritas as well – it’s a shot of tequila followed by a shot of spicy tomato juice… BarChick’s favourite!
42 Hanway Street, London, W1T 1UT
Sometimes you need to try something a bit different, and if you love beer why not try a beer cocktail? BarChick loves a proper pint when the time is right, and this bad-ass, industrial basement bar underneath the amazing restaurant upstairs is the place to get experimental. They have created their own version of the Swedish classic Mumma, with lager and porter, or an original called Giddy Up, with Tapatio Blanco tequila, elderflower cordial, Bramley & Gage Slider, lemon juice and camomile-infused acacia honey, topped with Sierra Nevada IPA.
39 Whitfield Street, London, W1T 2SF