RECOMMENDED REAL ALE PUBS
The Wellington 56 Haldane Road Fulham London SW6 &EU Tel: 020 7385 8638 A hidden gem. It has been closed for many years and has finally been saved from development by the community and tastefully refurbished and redesigned. Three hand-pumps including fabulous Long Man ales from Sussex. Brunch, snacks and good Sunday lunches. BT Sports (No Sky) on large screen and televisions in the back room – most screenings are of rugby matches but may be overturned if pub is full of football fans! May be crowded on Chelsea home football matches but mostly with local supporters. Small outside seating area in front of pub. The best local pub in the area.
The White Horse (aka “The Sloaney Pony”)
1-3 Parsons Green
London SW6 4UL
Tel: 020 7736 2115
Yet another new General Manager (ex The Engineer in Primrose Hill) started in July 2017 in replacement of the previous General Manager (Danny Dawes appointed in March 2016). The latter was listening to customer representation and on course to restoring the past unique iconic status of this pub sadly lost over past years by increasingly insensitive corporate homogenisation by brand-obsessed owners, Mitchells & Butlers Plc (M&B), who ignored the maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it”. Sadly over the past decade M&B have treated The White Horse as just another one of their Castle branded pubs despite it being their flagship pub in London and the UK! 18 hand-pumps in the bar but only front eight hand-pumps in daily use with Harveys, Oakham JHB & Chiltern 300s (in winter months) as regular ales. Guest ale selections on other five hand-pumps has improved in last two years and included ales from award-winning breweries, Long Man, Chiltern & Hobsons. 20% discount on cask ales for CAMRA members and welcome 25% discount for January 2018 on total bill when ordering a main meal from corporate Castle brand limited menu (similar menu to other M&B pubs). Piped “musac” recently installed by M&B. Gets uncomfortably crowded on Chelsea home football match days with tables in the bar area reserved by football supporters (mostly from afar) who are rarely visible in the pub on other days! It is to be hoped that the new General Manager will continue his predecessor’s good works in improving this great pub and restoring its individuality. However, closure of the entire pub at short notice on a weekend Sunday evening in December 2018 for a private function (despite function rooms for hire upstairs) was alarming, disturbing and totally unprecedented (closure of the entire pub for a private function has always been refused in the past by previous General Managers). Watch this space!
The Hopbine Petteridge Lane Petteridge Matfield Nr Tonbridge Kent TN12 7NE Tel: 01892 722561 A gem of a pub in every respect but not easy to find, as with all of the best pubs! Six hand-pumps with good selection from micro-breweries and always including one ale from the excellent Long Man Brewery in Sussex. Tempting good value menu with daily specials and featuring superb pizzas made with own produced sour-dough. Friendly and attentive staff. Once here you will find it very hard to leave this glorious pub.
The Bell The Street Waltham St Lawrence Oxfordshire RG10 0JJ Tel: 01189 341788
Picturesque 15th century oak-beamed pub in a quiet village. The pub was apparently bequeathed to the community by Ralph Newbury and is currently leased from a charity by two brothers. The pub has five hand-pumps serving interesting well-kept ales from micro-breweries including regular Hoppit from the nearby Loddon Brewery. Ales priced at £3.50 or £3.60 per pint. Lovely friendly staff and regulars. Very popular for the good food, sourced from local produce, which tends to sell out extremely quickly. One of the “must visit” pubs of England – a real gem!
The Eagle Ale House
104 Chatham Road
London SW11 6HG
Tel: 020 7228 2328
Good traditional pub run by real ale enthusiasts – basic but friendly back-street local with 8 hand-pumps and, despite being “tied”, an ever-changing variety of real ales of generally under 5% ABV available from micro-breweries (much smaller selection on less busy weekdays when the pub does not open until 4:00 pm) all at £3.90 per pint, well served and maintained by knowledgeable and friendly staff. A real locals’ pub but with a warm welcome extended to all. No meals but individual pies with a variety of flavours sourced from a specialist pie maker. Permission also granted to bring in own sandwiches and snacks. Sadly no longer able to afford BT Sports (apart from 1) or Sky Sports. No machines. Some good recorded background music played at sensible volume. Traditional “Toad-in-the-hole” pub game during the week. First London pub to appear on the front page of the national CAMRA Good Beer Guide and the origins of the Fair Pint Campaign has its roots here. Gets very crowded (mostly standing room only) for international rugby matches shown on terrestrial television for which the pub has a very strict policy of NO reservations.
St George & Dragon 183 High Street Acton London W3 9DJ Tel: 020 8992 3712
Newly re-opened 16th century olde worlde brew pub which is home to the latest London micro-brewery, The Dragonfly Brewery. The pub has been taken over by Remarkable Restaurants Ltd and tastefully refurbished with guidance from English Heritage. A veritable delight and oasis in an unremarkable high street and in an area with a noticeable absence of real ale pubs. All of the real ales brewed on the premises are excellent and £3.70 per pint (2 O’Clock Ordinary 4.0% Dark Matter 4.3% & Early Doors 4.3%). The experienced manager and brewer are refugees from a hithertoo brew pub, The Lamb in Chiswick which has sadly fallen victim to corporate homogenisation by brand obsessive owners, Mitchells & Butlers. Good food available at reasonable prices. UPDATE – SADLY NOW FOR SALE!
The Sultan 78 Norman Road Merton London SW19 1BT Website: www.hopback.co.uk/our-pubs/the-sultan.html Tel: 020 8544 9323
One of South London’s hidden treasures, being the only Hophead pub in London with one of the cheapest and best pints (Hophead GFB/Golden Best 3.5% at £2.80 per pint!). 1930s style community local with a warm welcome to all who cross the threshold. Good range of Hophead real ales and normally at least one seasonal ale from the excellent Downtons Brewery. Two bars – one with double doors leading through a recently constructed conservatory to an attractive small enclosed garden containing a new micro-brewery. Occasional good beer festivals and happy hours when the ales are even further reduced in price. Former SW London CAMRA pub of the year. Well worth a visit if you like your real ales at very competitive prices.
Oaka at the Mansion House 48 Kennington Park Road London SE11 4RS Tel: 0207 5825599
London home of Oakham Ales. Eight hand-pumps featuring an extensive range of award-winning Oakham Ales and a cider at reasonable prices. Modern relaxing decor with tables outside on the wide pavement. Welcoming knowledgeable management maintain the ales in excellent condition. Delicious Pan Asian cuisine which can be viewed in its preparation on a screen in the bar linked to a video camera in the kitchen thus avoiding bar smells associated with an open kitchen. Interesting array of craft beers, alongside keg and bottled craft beers from the likes of Krombacher, Kernel, Partizan, Brewers Union, Brooklyn, Camden and Sierra Nevada. Definitely the place to come especially if you are a refugee Oakham JHB drinker from the recent corporately homogenised White Horse on Parsons Green (see hereunder).
Willoughby Arms 47 Willoughby Road Kingston upon Thames Surrey KT2 6LN Tel: 020 8546 4236
Good local pub in the back streets of Kingston – not easy to find but well worth it as the landlord, Rick, is a real ale enthusiast and supports live music which is frequently featured in the dedicated upstairs room (with stage and PA). Good value pub grub and one of the best quality giant sports screens you will find anywhere. Priceless film memorabilia on the walls in the separate area accommodating the pool table. The ale festivals here are one of the best with hog roast and live music.
Jerusalem Tavern 55 Britton Street Clerkenwell London EC1M 5UQ Tel: 020 7490 4281
Delightful small olde worlde pub in a side street behind Farringdon station. Home of St Peters’ ales in London and sole St Peters’ pub in London. Popular with office workers in mid-week but closed at weekends. Tasty snacks.
3 Baldwin Street
London EC1 V9NU
Tel: 020 7253 2970
Friendly pub in a side street behind Old Street station serving a good selection of ales from micro-breweries. Good salt beef sandwiches. Occasional live music (look out for Little George Sueref).
139 Highgate Road
London NW5 1LE
Tel: 07958 780073
Boasts being the only pub in the UK that only serves ales from micro-breweries!
One would almost expect sawdust on the floor at this small wood-floored pub.
Good selection of real ales on 14 hand-pumps but on a recent visit sadly spoiled by sour-faced barman who served my pint in a hot glass with no attempt to replace. Really disappointing when a pub like this goes to all the trouble of tapping, spiling, settling and cooling a real ale only for it to be spoiled by an ignorant barman serving it in a hot glass that has just come out of the glass washer! Journeyed across London to go here and will probably not make the effort again!
Occasional live solo pianist. No meals but basic pies and sausage rolls. Small garden at rear.
16 Elia Street
London N1 8DE
Tel: 020 7837 5040
Small back street pub renowned for its good food as well as real ales from micro-breweries. No booking, so need to get here early for a table as it is very popular with a limited number of seats.
Ye Olde Mitre No: 1 Ely Court London EC1N 6SJ Tel: 020 7405 4751 A little hidden gem in a narrow passageway just of Hatton Garden – step back in to 16th century London! Gorgeous small olde worlde pub owned by Fullers – but with three varying guest ales in addition to regular London Pride and Seafarers – ELB Night Watchman, Dark Star Pale Ale and Adnams Broadside were on hand-pump on my last visit. The ELB (at £3.90 per pint) was in peak condition and served at the perfect temperature. The pub has a sensible policy of trying to keep the price of ales below £4 per pint (M&B take note) in the current economic climate. A further 15% discount is available for CAMRA members. Very welcoming and helpful team. Good pub snacks include toasted sandwiches and sausages.
The Edgar Wallace 40 Essex Street Temple London WC2R 3JE Tel: 020 7353 3120
Welcoming pub in the back streets near Aldwych. 8 handpumps serving a good variety of
ales from micro-breweries. The house bitter brewed by Colchester Brewery is very good.
Snooty Fox 75 Grosvenor Avenue Canonbury London N5 2NN Tel: 020 7354 9532
Award winning North London pub opposite Canonbury Overground station with a good selection of real ales tended by enthusiastic and knowledgeable governor. Excellent recent real ale festival celebrating the green, green hops of Kent. Open kitchen with a good chef producing delicious home-made sausage rolls and scotch eggs as well as more gastronomic fare. Friendly welcoming staff. One for the ale trail!
The Bull Brewpub
Tel: 020 8341 0510
Re-opened after a long closure, tastefully refurbished and converted to a brew pub, being the home of The London Brewing Company. Under the control of Dan Fox (used to be General Manager of The White Horse – see below) who could always be relied upon to run a pub to a professionally high standard. Good menu and good food at reasonable prices. A very comfortable and comforting pub. Occasional live music and comedy events upstairs. UPDATE – DAN FOX IS MOVING ON TO PASTURES NEW
The Bree Louise
69 Cobourg Street
London NW1 2HH
Tel: 020 7681 4930
Sister pub to the Duchess of Cambridge above. Good real ale selection from micro-breweries mostly served direct from the barrel. 50p per pint discount available to members of CAMRA. Décor rather tired.
The Plough Inn Stalisfield Green Faversham Kent ME13 0HY Tel: 01795 890256