The Best Gastropubs in London

For centuries, London’s pubs were first and foremost places to drink and socialize. Menus featured good value beer and a small selection of wines and spirits. Conversation—an essential part of the equation—was free, and food, if served at all, was largely an afterthought. A change in pub licensing in the ’90s paved the way for a new kind of establishment—the gastropub—which offers high quality food alongside traditional liquid sustenance. The extent to which this new genre favors food above beverage depends on the venue, but in all cases, when it comes to the food, quality rules. —Katie Parla

  • 1

    Brunswick House

    Brunswick House's Georgian-era furnishings and classic-yet-current cocktail offerings deliver an immersive historical experience without feeling stuffy. The drinks menu has something for everyone from the wine-inclined to cider lovers—and plenty of food to go with it all.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • full menu
    • low wine markups
    • craft cocktails
  • 2

    Great Queen Street

    Covent Garden’s Great Queen Street serves modern British food with a clear emphasis on meat and game, offering few options for London’s considerable vegetarian population. Dishes include hearty pub classics like steak and Guinness pie, roast partridge, braised pig’s cheek and seasonal specialties like grouse carpaccio. Great Queen Street fully embraces the “gastro” element of its genre, leaning more toward restaurant than a pub. As such, booking is essential for dining, but the cellar bar serves snacks and craft cocktails on a first-come-first-served basis.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • outdoor / patio
    • day drinking
    • bar food
    • full menu
    • craft cocktails
  • 3

    The Anchor & Hope

    More than a decade after its founding, Southwark’s The Anchor & Hope continues to deliver uncompromising quality dishes known for their depth and richness. The menu merges traditional British and imported ingredients from Continental Europe in dishes like grilled Dover sole, spinach and Parmesan and slow-cooked Scottish veal, Spanish ham, dried porcini and soft polenta.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • bar food
    • day drinking
    • outdoor / patio
  • 4

    The Bull & Last

    Housed in a 19th-century carriage house near Hampstead Heath, The Bull and Last serves expertly executed game, meats and fish alongside classic cocktails, cask ales and wines from the Old and New World. Downstairs, the low-key bar delivers satisfying snacks from a limited dining menu, each crafted to pair with the independent ales on draft.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • bar food
    • day drinking
    • craft beer
    • lots of whiskey
    • outdoors / patio
  • 5

    The Cow

    West London’s The Cow serves light pub food on the ground floor, with a more formal dining setting upstairs. Pair raw, smoked and marinated fish from France and Britain with a pint of ale—or a pint of prawns—and don’t miss the whole Dorset crab with aioli. There are plenty of beers on tap, as well as a selection of white wines from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and France, which are chosen with seafood pairing in mind.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • bar food
    • day drinking
    • oysters / raw bar
    • outdoor / patio
  • 6

    The Eagle

    Thriving since the early 1990s, The Eagle was among the pioneers in the gastropub field, cashing in on Britain’s more liberal approach to licensing. Beck’s and Guinness are poured right alongside locally produced craft beers, with a handful of wines and cocktails, too. The food menu features a rotating selection of dishes, thoughtfully sourced.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • historic
    • full menu
    • bar food
    • day drinking
    • outdoors / patio
  • 7

    The Harwood Arms

    At The Harwood arms, Mike Robinson of The Pot Kiln in Berkshire and Brett Graham of London’s two Michelin-starred The Ledbury  have teamed up to bring exquisite food to Fulham in Southwest London. The menu showcases seasonal British ingredients like Yorkshire grouse and Wiltshire truffles and most ingredients are sourced from small local producers that embrace a sustainable approach to agriculture. The others are hunted by the owner, so be prepared to pair your pint with house-butchered game.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • bar food
    • day drinking
    • good wine
    • games
  • 8

    The Royal Oak

    At The Royal Oak on East London’s Columbia Road, British pub food is tweaked to embrace global flavors in snacks like merguez Scotch eggs and pig’s cheeks with Alsatian bacon, and in main dishes like roasted lamb with harissa hummus and 12-hour beef short ribs with kimchi. Drinks span from local ales to crisp ciders to rotating house cocktails and perfectly balanced pitchers of Pimm's Cups.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • bar food
    • day drinking
    • outdoors / patio
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