It’s only been a few weeks since the city of London opened up its non-essential retail and service sector again. Whilst many have sufficed on takeaways and supermarket-bought beers, the fact of the matter is that London and indeed, the whole of the UK has a social culture centred around its drinking establishments. Pubs have now reopened but, not with the warmth and comfort of indoor seating. The gradual lifting of COVID restrictions that are tentatively set to finally end for the UK in June, means that socialising outdoors is now back on the table, literally so for pubs.
This is why the last few weeks have seen countless Londoners and visitors to the city take a pew on outside tables. Whether you’re enjoying the city centre nightlife on a London UK city break or just popping down to your local for a cheeky after-work pint, the new normal is becoming that little bit more normal.
The thirsty visitor on a last-minute London getaway deal tourist might have trouble finding the best beer gardens. There’s a lot to factor in for outdoor seating, especially when it can reach rather chilly temperatures later in the evening. Beer jackets aside, warmth is just as crucial for a pleasant early spring outdoor experience as a good range of brews on tap. This blog will outline some of the best pubs for outdoor seating that have recently reopened, giving London visitors a head start for booking tables and enjoying the London culture.
The Founders Arms is the perfect starting place for first-time guests at the Montcalm Hotel Finsbury Square London on account of its central location on the banks of the Thames. With tables ready for booking and stunning riverside views beside the striking designs of the Tate Modern, the Founders Arms might not have outdoor heaters, but the atmosphere will most definitely warm you up.
Another South Bank staple for first time London domestic travellers, The Understudy is the pub run by the staff of the National Theatre. Whilst the Olivier Stage won’t be opening for a few months yet, the Understudy Pub is offering tables, deck chairs and a veritable range of beers and ales to customers who might be wanting a taste of the London theatre scene - without the performances.
Punch & Judy
Keeping it central, the Punch & Judy is an 18th-century era pub, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks before you can appreciate its interior. Located on Market Square, this pub is a haven for people-watching and perfect for the shop-weary visitors to Covent Garden.
The Tattershall Castle
The Tattershall Castle is moored on the Victoria Embankment - yes we said moored. The Tattershall Castle’s name might be misleading because this is indeed a boat bar on the Victoria Embankment. Overlooking the London Eye and Westminster, you should make sure to book this one in advance as it can be rather popular.
The Dickens Inn
The Dickens Inn on St Katherine’s Dock was originally an authentic docklands warehouse that has its origins in the early 18th century. Keeping with traditions, it’s thought that this multi-storied building was originally a brewery but nowadays it is an upmarket pub and restaurant. Its ivy-clad balconies offer stunning views over the docklands and it’s for this reason that it features on our list of must-visit pub gardens.
With its large conservatory area acting as a sun trap in the warmer months, this Isle of Dogs pub spot is one of the best in the area. As it’s located off the main roads, The George offers some respite from the commuter hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf. You can find The George and its leaf beer garden on Glengall Grove near the South Quay DLR station.
The Red Lion
Leytonstone’s Red Lion is among the most popular hangouts in Leytonstone on account of its stylish wood-floored interiors and local beers on tap. The Red Lion’s atmosphere pre-pandemic was unrivalled, but even then visitors would flock for its expansive beer garden and street-facing outdoor seating. Now fairly lit and complete with heaters, you could fritter away hours in the Red Lion’s beautiful beer garden.
The Leyton Star
This popular East London locals boozer on Leyton High Road has a striking blue painted interior and oodles of space inside. Whilst its beer garden might be a little smaller than its Leytonstone competitor the Red Lion, it’s still got equal amounts of vibes amidst its terraced garden and sheltered seating.
Terrace At Ally Pally
The Terrace at Alexandra’s Palace has historic connotations as part of the “people’s park” named in celebration of Alexandra of Denmark. Its terrace now acts as an outdoors pub venue, offering dining and a great selection of wines and views of the London skyline that are equally drinkable.
Truman’s Social Club
A newcomer to Walthamstow’s growing selection of pubs, Truman’s Social Club is located in the warehouse district of Blackhorse Road and offers up expansive outdoor seating and street food stalls to match. In keeping with the legacy of Truman’s Brewery in Shoreditch, the Social Club offers over 20 different beers, meaning that you’ll no doubt be visiting more than once.
Hope & Anchor
The Hope & Anchor on Brixton’s Acre Lane is just one of many pub garden offerings in the South London nightlife hotspot. Hope & Anchor, however, takes the biscuit on account of its sheer beauty alone. The beautiful pub garden has hanging flowers and fairy lights that make this one you’ll want to bask in the glow of after dark.
Skehan’s overlooks Telegraph Hill in Nunhead and is a firm favourite for Southeast Londoners. Here you’ll find a cheery atmosphere of Thai Food and Irish aesthetics, all topped off by its front-facing terrace and back garden sheltered seating that it shares with its sister restaurant. In the days before the pandemic, Skehan’s was a favourite for local bands and musicians, who would often put on eclectic shows on the pub floor, that same atmosphere is still prevalent at Skehan’s, which much like the other pubs on this list, has retained its core essence throughout the COVID restrictions.