Perhaps notwithstanding the outcome of today’s game, you may find yourself on the lookout for a pub. One where you can either resume reveling in the triumphant celebrations of your team or locate an unobtrusive corner where you can have a drink or two to wind down the day and contemplate your team’s poor showing.
As you may or may not be aware, England is regarded highly for its pub culture and the capital city of London is no different, with the drinking or rather gulping scene among one of the finest in the world. While I would stop short of calling it ‘The Drinking Capital of the World’ (that title was snagged by the Belarusians), it assuredly isn’t far off. A fun place to hang out, pubs are where life happens for most locals, from unwinding after a workday to Friday lunches to long Saturday afternoons to recovery Sunday’s. These pubs are more akin to museums rather than mausoleums, a setting reserved for forging memories, new friendships or catching up and solidifying bonds with old mates.
From modern Michelin-star gastropubs to institutions that have been around for centuries, as you will discover for yourself, every nook and cranny of the city is packed with places where you could enjoy the perfect pint.
The ambience: If a historical setting is what you seek then look no further, established in 1720, pubs don’t come with much more heritage than The Grenadier. Originally an officer’s mess for the Foot Guards Regiment, it became a pub thereafter in 1818.
It is alleged that the Duke of Wellington used to frequent for pick-me-ups and if you would like a story to go along with your drink then the legend goes that the pub is haunted by a former soldier who met his untimely demise due to cheating in a game of cards.
In more recent years, Madonna saw The Grenadier fit for one of her post gig celebrations. Conjecture and celeb appearances aside, if a traditional English pub lunch and pint is what you are after, your search should end right here.
What to order: The Grenadier cast ale is excellent and some bar snacks of scotch egg, sausages and pickled onions will do you nicely
Address: 18 Wilton Row, Belgravia, London SW1X 7NR, UK
The ambience: Pinpointing the French House should be no bother at all as this London landmark will always have a horde outside its doors. Once indoors, you will find yourself among a teeming assemblage of people who guarantee quite the atmosphere, which more often than not, spills out onto the pavement.
Ironically, the first landlord of the French House pub was a German, Herr Schmidt who was shown the exit gates to England at the outbreak of the First World War. During the Second World War, the pub was used as a meeting point for the French Resistance, including none other than General De Gaulle. The pub retains some of its old-world charm, serving alcohol in French measures and traditionalists will approve of the ban on mobile phones and the no television policy.
What to order: Un verre de reserve du patron, s’il vous plaît
Address: 49 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 5BG, UK
The ambience: The signboard outside Southampton Arms proudly proclaims ‘ale, cider, meat’ and in no way does the management mince their words, for it tells you all you need to know about the pub.
Time seems to have come to a standstill in this little gem and its all the better for it! The interior will draw you to times past, then again, so would the cash only stance. Also, not one to take phone calls or reservations, the pub is enchantingly unfashionable. The pubs open fire and dog friendly policy (the resident pub dog is a true indigenous star) give it a unfussy and homely air.
Southampton Arms is propped up with a wide variety of craft ales and beers which come from smaller, independent breweries around UK and suppliers change all the time. Though, they only offer two varieties of wine but then again this pub never claims to be extravagant or pretentious, something its patrons are well aware of.
What to order: The likes of Howling Hops, Burning Sky and Five Points are good drink options while food options may be limited and you could stick to cheese and charcuterie boards
Address: 139 Highgate Rd, Kentish Town, London NW5 1LE, UK
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
The ambience: Quite possibly on each and every pub list in London, and with good reason. Several literary greats have graced the pub, from Dickens to Samuel Johnson, it’s not hard to imagine such eminent names to be holed up in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese’s labyrinthine interior, working away under the faint candle light.
Falling prey to a colossal fire, you will find signage outside with the date boastfully embossed on it – ‘rebuilt 1667’, this features heavily on the tourist trail and doesn’t offer much in the way of beer selection. However, if you find yourself in one of the cellar bars you can thoroughly let your hair down as you will be assured of no mobile phone reception.
What to order: A pint of Sam Smith’s
Address: 145 Fleet St, London EC4A 2BU, UK
The Harwood Arms
The ambience: A gastropub concealed in the back streets of Fulham, The Harwood Arms is the only pub in London to be bestowed a Michelin star.
The Harwood offers the very best of British produce (with an emphasis on game and wild food), all within a casual relaxed setting. Bring into play their extensive wine list and now you also have a great place to grab drinks.
What to order: You could opt for for their set price two/three course menu and pair it with a Villa Rosa, Chianti Classico Riserva
Address: Walham Grove, Fulham, London SW6 1QP, UK