From Sunday roasts and mid-week brunches to craft cocktails and obscure ales, the city’s pub scene has it all. These are our seven favourite London gastropubs to have on your radar…
Words Miriam Carey
Must-visit London gastropubs
Hero of Maida
The much-loved Truscott Arms in Maida Vale closed in 2016 amid rent hikes. Thankfully, the site was snapped up by the Harcourt Inns group and transformed into the glorious Hero of Maida. Henry Harris (of much-missed Racine) is chef director, and he brings his French-with-a-touch-of-British cuisine to leafy northwest London. Downstairs, framed memorabilia adorn the walls while a zinc-topped bar boasts a wide range of beers and ales. Upstairs, find an elegant dining room which you can rent out for a celebration, or book ahead for a heroic Sunday lunch.
The Old Hand: The Victoria
Head chef Damo Ciolik has over eight years of experience in the kitchen at The Victoria, having started out there as protégé of Saturday Kitchen frequenter, Paul Merrett. In 2015 Damo left the pub to launch The Malt House, winning it Best Pub Food at the Casual Dining Awards. Now Damo has returned to The Victoria to head up the excellent team. After a long week of hard work, nothing is more needed than a sit down at the pub with a glass of wine and some good quality food.
For Beer and Bites: Gunmakers Clerkenwell
Gunmakers is an enchanting Victorian watering hole that has been taken over by the team behind Nine Lives. They serve small and large plates of snack food such as fried chicken wings and beef shin broth, along with some cracking craft beers and cocktails. The pub is also full of quirky surprises, hidden in the attic is a hair salon-cum-bar.
Seafood Saloon: The Hourglass Pub
The Hourglass pub is one of London’s most historic gastropubs. It’s light, airy and an established favourite with the Chelsea locals. The pub has recently appointed a new head chef, Sean Marsh who has a particular flair for cooking with fish. His approach in the kitchen is sustainable and ingredient-led; the seafood they source comes from small dayboats. It’s the perfect place to go for a sauvignon blanc and plate of fish and chips.
An Irish Knees-Up: Nuala
If you’re looking for a party, Nuala is the place to go. Opened by ex-Chiltern Firehouse chef Niall Davidson, the venue is a slice of Ireland in the middle of Shoreditch. They serve the best Guinness outside of Dublin and an incredible atmosphere to match. You can expect revelry, Irish music and guests fuelling up on potted smokie and scampi-fried quail eggs.
For Obscure Ales: Boaters Inn
The Boaters Inn in Kingston is best known for its interesting ales. This is the ideal destination for lovers of beer and you will find they often run meet the brewer nights. Located right on the River Thames, it’s a great place to relax at the weekend with some pub food and a fine craft brew.
A Lazy Afternoon: The White Hart
The White Hart pub is a landmark in the Crystal Palace neighbourhood and has recently undergone renovation. The established watering hole, enduringly popular with local residents and visitors, does a perfect gin and tonic. The cosy interiors are also just right to accommodate many a lazy afternoon sheltering from the elements in front of the fire.
Great British Gastronomy: Fox and the Grapes
A firm favourite with the foodies, The Fox and the Grapes in Wimbledon has reopened following refurbishment. Owned by chef Paul Merrett and business partner Tim Woodcock, the menu has recently undergone a revamp. Visit for some great British classics – a bloody Mary on a Sunday and a slow-cooked duck.