Beer gardens in London: the best pubs and bars for outdoor drinking
Weather experts are predicting a hot summer for London this year, with heatwaves likely.
Conditions in early June are already expected to smash through the 30C mark, providing ample opportunity to hit some of London’s best outdoor drinking spots.
As ever, we have compiled the best pubs to drink in when the sun is shining.
Take a look at the full list below, starting with this corker on the banks of the Thames in Rotherhithe.
The Mayflower, Rotherhithe
Close to the site where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in 1620, The Mayflower claims to be the oldest pub on the River Thames. On a cobbled backstreet, the pub has become a South London institution. A good selection of real ales are served alongside a menu rooted in comfort food, though the outside (heated) jetty is the main draw, hanging over the Thames, equipped with tables. Just don’t drop your phone, keys, or face mask.
The Mayflower is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at mayflowerpub.co.uk.
Chesham Arms, Hackney
One of east London’s best pubs, the Chesham Arms will re-open its large beer garden on Thursday 15th April. Without a kitchen, the pub wasn’t able to open under Tier 2 restrictions imposed last year, so the re-opening is long awaited and comes as a welcome relief. To drink, a rotating selection of six beers, two ales, and one cider are served, while pizzas can be ordered from nearby Yard Sale Pizza.
Chesham Arms’ is set to re-open on Thursday 15th April. Bookings can be made at sevenrooms.com.
Campfire by Two Tribes Brewery, King’s Cross
A new venue from Two Tribes Brewery, Campfire has been created to showcase open air cooking delivered by live fire chefs. There’s also a focus on top musical talent, and exclusive beers from Two Tribes Brewery for the opening season. Adjacent to the brewery headquarters, Campfire promises to offer a unique taproom experience, centred around an open-fire kitchen, which will host a rotating roster of UK and international chefs, beginning with a residency by From The Ashes BBQ (responsible for that doughnut filled with smoked pork, chilli jam, BBQ sauce, and Nduja). Chef Adam Handling will also host a series of ‘Beyond BBQ’ events on the evenings of 21st, 22nd, 28th, and 29th April.
Campfire is set to launch on Saturday 17th April. Further information can be found at twotribes.co.uk.
Left it too late to book a table for that long awaited drink? With three venues, in Shoreditch, Croydon, and Wembley, BOXPARK will re-open on 12th April, with seating available on a first come, first served basis. All guests need to do is register with the BOXPARK Black Card to gain entry. With plenty of space for outdoor drinking and dining, the Shoreditch and Croydon venues offer additional outdoor seating as well as the terrace areas, and Wembley will have plenty of seating outside along Olympic Way. Food and drink from any BOXPARK venue will be available for delivery (via the main apps), or to collect; while all venues will run full table service for food and drinks.
BOXPARK is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at boxpark.co.uk.
In the heart of Bermondsey’s famous ‘beer mile’, Fourpure’s taproom will re-open on weekends for outdoor drinking, starting from Friday 16th April. With a name inspired by the four core ingredients used to produce beer (grain, yeast, hops and water), Fourpure Brewing Co. launched as a family-run brewery in October 2013. Since then, the brewery has gone from strength to strength, now known as one of London’s most famous craft beer producers. On Bermondsey Trading Estate, between Surrey Quays and Millwall Football Club, the Fourpure taproom offers the brewery’s full core range on tap, plus a range of guest beers.
Fourpure Taproom is set to re-open on Friday 16th April. Further information can be found at fourpure.com.
Hot 4 U at The Prince Arthur, Hackney
Born out of the first national lockdown, Hot 4 U is a project from chefs Eddy Tejada (ex-St John and Silo) and Matthew Scott (ex-Cub). Following a string of successful pop-ups and weekly-changing delivery menus, Hot 4 U will launch a new permanent residency at The Prince Arthur in Hackney, once open next week. Taking over The Prince Arthur’s kitchen, initially for outdoor dining in the beer garden only, the menu will draw on the chefs’ experience working in sustainable restaurants. Expect the likes of oysters with hot sauce and fermented potato; ‘Psychedelic burrata’ with cedrat lemon; or fried dough with smoked ricotta and gooseberry escabeche.
Hot 4 U at The Prince Arthur is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found on Hot 4 U’s Instagram page.
The People’s Park Tavern, Hackney
On the north-eastern tip of Victoria Park, The People’s Park Tavern is “a pub for the people, inspired by the people”. As well as having one of the biggest and best beer gardens in East London, the pub offers bottomless bunch, food from a BBQ kitchen, drinks from a pop-up cocktail bar, and a strong events programme. The venue is also home to an on-site microbrewery – Laine Brew Co. – which offers a good range of classic and contemporary styles, poured alongside a fair selection of standard issue beers.
The People’s Park Tavern is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at peoplesparktavern.pub.
The Duke of Edinburgh, Brixton
The Duke of Edinburgh is tucked away between Brixton and Clapham North. It boasts one of the biggest beer gardens in South London, with plenty of outdoor seating and a large bar offering a fine range of ale and cask beer on rotation. The pub also has an independent kitchen, operated by White Men Can’t Jerk.
The Duke of Edinburgh is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at dukeofedinburghpub.com.
The City Barge, Chiswick
Dating back to the 14th century, The City Barge was famously featured in a scene from The Beatles’ Help! The riverside pub is named after an old barge once moored between the building and Oliver’s Island, used as a toll collection vessel. Following a 2014 refurbishment, some of the original fixtures have been preserved, including Victorian panelling and open fires, while the bar offers seven rotating hand pull ales and an extensive wine list. Food is at the ‘gastro’ end of the spectrum, with some elevated takes on pub classics also served, to eat outside on the banks of the Thames. Booking is recommended due to limited outdoor capacity.
The City Barge is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at citybargechiswick.com.
The Old Ship, Hammersmith
A picturesque riverside pub, The Old Ship has become somewhat of a West London waterside landmark, established in 1722. Resembling a Roman villa, the pub also has a riverside beer garden, which offers sweeping views of the Thames, and is a particularly popular spot for watching the boat race. A comfortable pub, expect a standard Young’s drinks offering, while the food menu utilises seasonal and local produce in its traditional and modern pub food classics.
The Old Ship is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at oldshiphammersmith.co.uk.
Vinegar Yard, London Bridge
With one of London’s largest beer gardens, Vinegar Yard will re-open next week with extensive health checks and safety measures in place. The capacity has been capped, tables spaced to facilitate social distancing, and increased hand-washing and sanitation procedures. On-site staff members’ temperatures will also be checked daily before each shift. In addition to its line-up of street food vendors and open-air bars, the Rum Shacks will also be able to re-open as part of the venue’s outdoor portion.
Vinegar Yard is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at vinegaryard.london.
The Antelope, Surbiton
Formerly home to Big Smoke Brew Co.’s brewery – before moving 20 miles down the road to a new, larger premises – The Antelope is also home to a self-contained new dining space, The Brewhouse, and a decent beer garden for outdoor drinking and dining. As well as offering Big Smoke’s full range, various real ciders and small batch spirits are poured, served alongside a food menu rich with meats smoked in-house, channelling a distinct North American feel. Big Smoke’s beers are a must try here: especially their Underworld Milk Stout.
The Antelope is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at theantelope.co.uk.
The Duke of Hamilton, Hampstead
After a community group launched a successful campaign in 2015 to make The Duke of Hamilton an ‘Asset of Community Value’, the landlord barred 800 members – clearly not keen on the idea. Today, those locals are welcome, with the North London pub, now under new management. Once famed as a favourite among actors such as Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, and Oliver Reed, the pub was first opened in 1721. Some original features have been retained, namely the central bar, with a good selection of beers served alongside the food menu which champions elevated takes on pub classics. Bookings are also being taken for the pub’s covered beer garden.
The Duke of Hamilton is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at thedukeofhamiltonnw3.com.
Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant & Castle
Home to more than 40 food and drink vendors, Mercato Metropolitano has a 15,000 square-foot partially-covered beer garden area, with over 500 seats. The on-site micro-brewery, German Kraft, specialises in German style beers, while sustainable ‘urban gin’ is produced on-site by Jim and Tonic. Food options, on the other hand, have a global slant, with stalls championing Italian, Japanese, Colombian, German, Vietnamese, Argentinian, and more.
Mercato Metropolitano is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at mercatometropolitano.com.
The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park
Just behind Finsbury Park, The Faltering Fullback is an Irish pub with a prominent focus on sport. Inside the ivy-draped pub, the main room has a horseshoe bar and is festooned with sporting regalia, which hangs from the ceiling. While the drinks selection is fair – and reasonably priced – and fine Thai food is served daily, the multi-level garden is the North London pub’s main draw, with most seats heated and covered. Walk-ins only.
The Faltering Fullback is set to re-open for outdoor drinking on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at falteringfullback.com.
Homeboy, Nine Elms
A brand new Homeboy venue is set to open its expansive terrace in Embassy Gardens, near Vauxhall, on Monday 12th April. Following the success of Homeboy in Islington, the second site is a long-time project of owners Aaron Wall and Ciaran Smith, which had recently been put on hold due to the national lockdown. As of next week, they’ll be able to welcome guests for outdoor drinking, met with the “welcome and service expected from any great Irish bar”.
The bar will also offer a selection of cocktails and promises to pour the “best pint of Guinness in London”, in addition to an all-day food offering.
Homeboy Nine Elms is set to open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at homeboybar.com.
The Rosendale, West Dulwich
Originally a Victorian coaching inn, The Rosendale has a handsome bar and elegant dining room serving simple, seasonal, and sustainable food. As for the drinks, there’s a focus on local ales, award-winning wines, and a selection of cocktails. Moreover, the West Dulwich pub also has an extensive beer garden featuring a climbing frame for children and table tennis, table football and boules for adults.
The Rosendale is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at therosendale.co.uk.
The Blue Anchor, Hammersmith
A traditional riverside pub, The Blue Anchor is set to re-open for outdoor drinking and dining on 12th April, with cosy covered areas. Originally called the Blew Anchor and Washhouses, the pub has been licensed since 1722, with olde worlde wood panelling adorning the downstairs pub. As well as offering a warm, sociable atmosphere, four real ales are always served on tap, alongside a range of premium lagers and ciders, while the food menu features well-made takes on classic pub grub.
The Blue Anchor is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at blueanchorlondon.com.
The Spaniard’s Inn, Hampstead
Believed to have been built in 1858, The Spaniard’s Inn boasts plenty of history. With his father said to have been its landlord, Dick Turpin is thought to have once been a regular, as well as Charles Dickens (who mentioned the pub in The Pickwick Papers), Bram Stoker (who allegedly borrowed one of the pub’s ghost stories for Dracula), and John Keats, who’s said to have written Ode to a Nightingale in the beer garden. Roughly equidistant between Hampstead, Golders Green, and Highgate stations, it’s not the easiest pub to reach on the tube, but is ideal for a pit stop while visiting Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House (or, of course, if you live nearby). The food menu adheres to a parade of pub classics, but with the odd contemporary flourish, while a decent selection of real ales are also offered to be enjoyed in the sizeable beer garden.
The Spaniard’s Inn is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at thespaniardshampstead.co.uk.
The Black Horse, Barnet
A family and dog-friendly pub on the corner of Wood Street, The Black Horse is also home to the Barnet Brewery. From a site on the pub’s premises, the microbrewery produces a selection of real ales each week, brewed with the original tanks from the Federation Brewery in Newcastle Upon Tyne, sourced from the Iceni Brewery in Norfolk. Some of Barnet Brewery’s beers are available from the bar’s eight hand-pumps alongside other regional and national beers. The North London pub also boasts a decent beer garden with a covered patio area and bookable tables for outdoor drinking and dining.
The Black Horse is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at blackhorsebarnet.co.uk.
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