Trinity Arms, Brixton

Top 20 bars and pubs in South London

London is a big place with many places to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, and The London Economic is not shy of visiting a watering hole or two.

But even we can’t decide on the top 20 pubs in London, so we will take it in stages, starting with “sarf” London. We are covering a large geographical area and if you could do all these in a daily pub crawl, you are a better drinker/explorer than we are.

Obviously drink responsibly and have some food, as some of these public houses are a gastronomic delight.

For the purpose of this top 20, we are using London Bridge as the gateway to the “dirty south,” so you can gauge how long it will take to reach each destination for your well-earned pint.

20. The Riverside Bar & Restaurant, Vauxhall. Hamilton House 5 St George’s Wharf. London SW8 2LE

The Riverside Bar & Restaurant, Vauxhall

An oasis hidden away in the St George Wharf complex on the banks of the river Thames, boasting amazing views up and down the river and over London’s skyline. There are surprisingly few watering holes on the south side of the river near central London and on a sunny day you will get a tan until sunset. You can also still see central London, if the idea of south London scares you. South London Lite if you will.

London Bridge to pint? 16mins, Northern line to Stockwell then change for Victoria line then jump off at Vauxhall.

19. The Sun, Clapham old town47 Old Town, London SW4 0JL

The Sun, Clapham old town

Tucked away in Clapham Old Town, just far enough from the bustle of the high street, savour a pint of real ale after a picnic on the common or refuel with a plate of freshly cooked pub food after walking the dog. Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood lives near-by, so put on your best attire.

London Bridge to pint? 14mins, Northern line to Clapham Common.

18. Prince of Wales, Kennington, Cleaver Square, SE11 4EA

Prince of Wales, Kennington

Situated on Cleaver Square, a beautifully-preserved Georgian gem, close to Kennington tube station, the Oval and the Imperial War Museum. The pub is reputed to have been the favourite watering hole of the Richardson gang, arch rivals to the Krays, during the 1960s. Now actors, judges and politicians can often be found enjoying a quiet pint. It is always a favourite for those going to the Oval to watch cricket.

Watch boule matches taking place on the square and/or pretend you are a South London hoodlum.

London Bridge to pint? 5mins, Northern line to Kennington.

17. The Rosendale, West Dulwich65 Rosendale Rd, SE21 8EZ

The Rosendale, West Dulwich

Originally a Victorian coaching inn, The Rosendale today is a magnificent public house with a handsome bar, elegant dining room serving simple, seasonal and sustainable food. Located in leafy West Dulwich, the pub has extensive gardens featuring a climbing frame for children and table tennis, table football and boules for adults. You will need a pint after all that.

London Bridge to pint? 18 mins, train to Tulse Hill

16. The Prince Albert, Battersea85 Albert Bridge Rd, London SW11 4PF

The Prince Albert, Battersea

Situated just across the road from the beautiful Battersea Park, The Prince Albert has a vast selection of guest ales, such as locally brewed Wandle Ale. A warm welcome, real fires, hearty fresh food and even bowls for any visiting dogs. So even if you don’t want a drink, your furry friend probably will.

London Bridge to pint? 49 mins, tube to Clapham Common, then 345 bus.

15. The Falcon, Clapham, 33 Bedford Rd, London SW4 7SQ

The Falcon, Clapham

The distinctive yellow hue of The Falcon’s exterior is a hint of the jovial nature of this Clapham local and also probably the biggest causes of migraines in Clapham. Enjoy your favourite tipple over a plate of freshly prepared pub food and a heated game of Scrabble (other board games are available, they have a monster collection), or settle into their snug for a cosy night catching up with your best mates. Pub garden and outdoor bar is perfect for BBQs in the summer, migraines permitting.

London Bridge to pint? 12 mins, northern line to Clapham North

14. The Ship, Battersea41 Jews Row, London SW18 1TB

The Ship, Battersea

On the banks of the Thames by Wandsworth Bridge, it would appear at first glance that this is not the most appealing location for one of South West London’s most famous pubs. The Ship has been supplying fine ales, wines and food to its surrounding residents since 1786 when it was founded as a Thameside Waterman’s Inn. Popular with the Made in Chelsea type crowd and especially busy on a Sunday, you could even meet Spencer in there, you lucky people.

London Bridge to pint? 23 mins, Jubilee line to Waterloo then train to Wandsworth Town

13. Balham Bowls Club, Balham7-9 Ramsden Rd, London SW12 8QX

Balham Bowls Club, Balham

The stunning Balham Bowls Club was, as the name suggests, originally a Bowls club house. Now reclaimed, the pub has long been favourite of the good people of Balham. The Sunday Roasts are so popular that reserving a table is always a good idea. On the bar a selection of ales is always on rotation and if wine is your tipple, the list is extensive and varied. Try not to “bowl” in too late, there can be a pretty large queue at the bar later on.

London Bridge to pint? 18mins, northern line to Balham.

12. Market House, Brixton443 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LN

Market House, Brixton,

Watering hole situated at the top of Coldharbour Lane serving cocktails to a busy and energetic crowd. The pub has more of a club vibe later and is busy with the beautiful people of Brixton. Note you need to pay on the door later in the evening. DJ’s spinning a variety of tunes and serving even more cocktails, which means a fairly long wait for a drink. Take a hip flask.

London Bridge to pint? 16mins, Northern Line to Stockwell changing at Vauxhall for Brixton.

11. Peckham Springs, Peckham Rye, 22A Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QN

Peckham Springs, Peckham Rye

Part-gallery, part-bar, and you will be happy to know, is inspired by Del Boy’s infamous back garden water business, in the shadow of Peckham Rye Station. It started as a summer pop-up but is now staying open all year round on Fridays and Saturdays. Some of the best priced cocktails in the whole of the big smoke with a lengthy list of strong, well-made drinks. This time next year Rodney…we’ll be drunk.

London Bridge to pint? 9 mins, train to Peckham Rye.

10. Tram & Social, Tooting46-48 Mitcham Rd, London SW17 9NA

Tram & Social, Tooting

Hard to spot but impressive once you find it, this converted tram shed incorporates a cavernous, chandelier-lit main bar and a smaller mezzanine, filled with decorative quirks and televisions for football viewing. The bar has been bringing stylish punters to the up and coming area of Tooting, which still has not quite up yet even five years after its rise was predicted.

London Bridge to pint? 22 mins, Northern line to Tooting Broadway.

9. The Amersham Arms, New Cross388 New Cross Rd, London SE14 6TY

The Amersham Arms

With Goldsmiths College nearby it’s not surprising that some pubs in the area aim to attract a younger crowd. The Amersham Arms is such a place, with an interior that would best be described as shabby chic. It’s a very decent pub though, with a wood-panelled bar area out front and a room out back for live music and events. Pretend you an art student for a day, even if you are actually a trainee accountant.

London Bridge to pint? 8 mins, train to New Cross.

8. The Gypsy Moth, Greenwich60 Greenwich Church St, London SE10 9BL

The Gypsy Moth, Greenwich

In Greenwich you’ll just want to drink in the historic atmosphere – and you’ll want to drink in this grade I listed pub. Well you can’t go wrong with this boozer, which also has an all-weather beer garden. It’s a magnificent slice of history with comfy interiors which make it a retreat away from the bustle of nearby tourist spots such as the Cutty Sark and Royal Observatory. The people of Greenwich invented time, but sadly no way to stop time at the bar.

London Bridge to pint? 10 mins, train to Greenwich.

7. The Gowlett, Peckham62 Gowlett Rd, London SE15 4HY

The Gowlett, Peckham

The Gowlett still looks like a proper boozer, albeit an antique wood-panelled, minimalist boozer – which is something of an achievement round here. This place sells the best pizza for miles around. Like everywhere in Peckham it’s full of the trendy people with handsome beards. Don’t wear a fake one, they will see straight through it, literally.

London Bridge to pint? 9 mins, train to Peckham Rye.

6. Trinity Arms, Brixton45 Trinity Gardens, SW9 8DR

Trinity Arms, Brixton

Popular with locals and gig-goers alike, the Trinity prides itself on its great beer and cosy atmosphere. Built in 1850, it is named after the Trinity Asylum in Acre Lane which was founded for poor women who professed belief in the Holy Trinity by Thomas Bailey. It has a nice outdoor area, and some tables have their own charcoal fires, in the winter, just don’t have one too many and fall in.

London Bridge to pint? 16mins, Northern line to Stockwell changing at Vauxhall for Brixton.

5. Franks Bar, Peckham, 10th floor, Peckham Multi-story Car park 95A Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST

Franks Bar, Peckham

Part of Peckham’s Bold Tendencies Sculpture Project, this pop-up bar is on a multi-storey car park and showcases the work of international artists. Feast your eyes on Central London from afar – you can see the Gherkin, the London Eye and the Shard among the city skyline.

Pick a sunny day and you can’t go wrong, but expect to queue, this bar is very much on the radar of drinkers across London. Carlsberg don’t make multi-story car parks…

London Bridge to pint? 9 mins, train to Peckham Rye.

4. The Kings Arms25 Roupell St, London SE1 8TB

The Kings Arms, 25 Roupell St, London

The Kings Arms located in the architecturally wonderful backstreets of Waterloo, a quintessential real ale pub in one of the most historic streets in London. They have nine real ale pumps and served Tasty Thai food. The pub is situated on the quaint and charming Roupell Street, tucked away nicely from the main drags of Waterloo Road. Lots of TV types drink there as it is so close to ITV studios, could even get some inside info on the presenters of Loose Women, if that floats your boat.

London Bridge to pint? 2 mins, Jubilee Line to Waterloo.

3. Camberwell Arms, Camberwell65, Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8TR.

Camberwell Arms, Camberwell

Cunningly located in Camberwell (the answer is in the name) this pub has recently opened and is already becoming the place to be seen in Camberwell, an area going through a renaissance at the moment (Trendy but that little bit more discerning than the younger crowd that go out in near-by Peckham). Hearty English grub, great food and drinks. There’s a long bar around which you can eat supper, though the dining area with its solid wood tables and roaring log fire are just as decadent.

London Bridge to pint? 24 mins, Northern line to Elephant & Castle, 155 bus to Camberwell New Road.

2. Duke of Edinburgh, Brixton204 Ferndale Rd, Brixton SW9 8AG

Duke of Edinburgh, Brixton

The Duke of Edinburgh is a pub tucked away between Brixton and Clapham North. It boasts one of the biggest beer gardens in south London with plenty of seating and a large bar and BBQ pit. Inside, there are plenty of comfy sofas, a pool table, Sky Sports and of course a fine range of ale and cask beer on rotation. Good place to watch the England lose every game during the World Cup on their outside screens.

London Bridge to pint? 16mins, Northern Line to Stockwell changing at Vauxhall for Brixton.

1.Canton Arms, Stockwell177 S Lambeth Rd, London SW8 1XP

Canton Arms, Stockwell

Granted the Canton Arms is not in the coolest part of south London, but this fabulous boozer and gastro pub is very handy for the tube. Think of it as an oasis in the desert between Kennington and Brixton/Clapham. The Canton has a great atmosphere and even better food, so do yourself a favour and jump off tube one stop before Brixton, you are in for a treat. You will not be disappointed.

London Bridge to pint? 10 mins, Northern line to Stockwell.

2 Responses

  1. Some Guy

    Your photo for both the Camberwell Arms (that is a picture of Great Queen’s Street in Covent Garden) and Peckham Springs are incorrect.

Leave a Reply