London's best gastro pubs

Words by Simon Difford

London's best gastro pubs image 1

London is known for its numerous gastro pubs, establishments that offer great restaurant-style food in a pub environment, without the white table cloths but with traditional British cask ales to wash down hearty meals. Follows our selection of London’s best gastro pubs listed alphabetically by London districts.

The gastro pub concept was created in London when David Eyre and Mike Belben took over the Eagle in Clerkenwell in 1991. However, the history of English pubs offering sustenance to travellers dates back to the Ale Houses of the 11th century. For more on how the English pub and indeed the gastro pub have developed over the centuries and recent decades see British pub food and the rise of the gastro pub.

We continually add to and update this page as we drink and dine our way across London. We have visited and can recommend pubs with a score, review and link to dedicated page with more information. Others listed without a score and review are places that have been recommended to us and that we are yet to review, or have not reviewed recently.

If you have any recommendations or want to comment on your experiences in one of London's gastro pubs then please email

ency 13 image

The Only Running Footman (image courtesy of The Merdith Group)


The Only Running Footman
Given its upmarket location The Only Running Footman has a suitably swanky feel and accordingly, perhaps more than any other London Pub, The Only Running Footman attracts the rich and famous drawn by its homely atmosphere and the quality of its food and drink. 5/5
5 Charles Street (nr Berkeley Square on corner Hay's Mews), Mayfair, W1J 5DF

The Running Horse
Although the food is exceptionally good, The Running Horse is more pub than gastro pub - especially on a week day evening when local office workers pile in - but what's not to like about a pub being pub-like? The Running Horse is said to be Mayfair's oldest pub and the stately interior with dark wooden panelled walls and a bare wooden floor has something of a country house feel. 4.5/5
1st Floor, 50 Davies Street, Mayfair, London, England W1K 5JE


Polpo at The Ape & Bird
This large Victorian pub has been gastrofied with Polpo's Venetian theme and offers cicchetti (small plates), meat balls and other typical Venetian cuisine as well as thin crust pizzas. Beers are mostly from local breweries with a suitably Venetian themed drinks menu offering Spritz, Negroni, Cynar and Bellinis. All the dozen Italian wines on the short wine list are available by the glass. 4/5
142 Shaftesbury Avenue, (corner West St by Cambridge Circus), London, WC2H 8HJ


The Portman
51 Upper Berkeley Street, Marylebone, W1H 7QW

Also in the area (Fitzrovia & Marylebone): The Grazing Goat 3.5/5


Duck and Rice
Brought to us by Alan Yau (the man behind Hakkasan and neighbouring Yauatcha), Duck and Rice is best summed up as a Chinese gastro pub with a great beer selection. It debuted in April 2015 as one of London's the most eagerly anticipated openings. No gastropub could live up to the level of hype but the opportunity to pop in for a spicy salt and pepper squid accompanied by a cool beer should not be missed. 4.5/5
90 Berwick Street, Soho, W1F 0QB


No.11 Pimlico Road
No.11 Pimlico Road has what is best described as a country chic kitchen interior with pained wooden panels and planking, oak floor, zinc and marble-topped tables and stripped pine window shutters. The colour scheme is pastel and creamy white and the high ceilinged room, shaped like the bow of a ship, clean and bright with large arched windows on two sides. From the flowers on the table to the cream leather chairs this is a very feminine interior. 4.5/5
No.11 Pimlico Road, Belgravia, SW1W 8NA

The Orange
This suitably gentrified gastro pub and hotel sits proudly in the heart of swanky Belgravia. The ground floor bar has a good buzz about it, attracting a local well-healed crowd, but if you are visiting for a meal, you're likely to find yourself eating in the upstairs dining room which has a French farmhouse feel, particularly if there for Sunday roast 4/5
37 Pimlico Road, (corner St Barnabas St), Belgravia, SW1W 8NE

The Thomas Cubitt
Situated on a Belgravia backstreet and named after an apparently legendary master builder, The Thomas Cubitt is a decidedly upmarket gastropub. Dishes are on the smaller side and perhaps more restaurant than pub. There's upstairs dining room but the ground floor is where the buzz is. 4/5
44 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, SW1W 9PA

The Warwick
Lying in the village-like back streets of Pimlico, a five-minute stroll from Victoria station, The Warwick is a mid-terrace boozer that has been gastrofied with the requisite chesterfield leather sofas, mismatched wooden tables and token church pew. While the Bloody Marys are excellent and there's a choice of three draught ales, it is the food offering here that makes the Warwick stand out.
25 Warwick Way, Pimlico, SW1V 1QT


The Culpeper
Named after Nicholas Culpeper, the 17th century English herbalist, brown and white factory tiles clad the façade of this Victorian boozer. Inside the look is stripped back but the 'Pepper' is warm and welcoming with an impressive range of spirits, fortified wines, beer and an all-natural wine list. Acclaimed chef Sandy Jarvis' unfussy modern British dishes have made The Culpeper a gastro pub of some repute. 4.5/5
40 Commercial Street (corner Old Montague St), Aldgate/Spitalfields, E1 6LP

The Jugged Hare
This City gastropub's name is appropriate due to its reputation for game dishes, including eponymous jugged hare. The slick interior features a tiled vaulted ceiling, stuffed animals, walk-in wine cellar, factory tiles and white panelled walls. 4.5/5
49 Chiswell Street (corner Silk Street), City of London, EC1Y 4SA

The Water Poet
Salvaged vintage furnishings, gilt framed mirrors and pictures along with voodoo-like embellishments help turn what was a back street city boy's boozer into a modern gastro pub, enjoyed by hipsters over the weekend and a new crowd of city boys and girls weekdays. The walled beer garden is a large part of this this City pub's draw. 3.5/5
9-11 Folgate Street (just off Bishopsgate), Spitalfields, E1 6BX

ency 16 image


The Gun
The site of a public house for over 250 years, The Gun's rear terrace looks across the Thames to the Millennium Dome on the opposite bank. While the Gun boats river views and is only a 15 minute walk from Canary Wharf, its Isle of Dogs location feels isolated but that doesn't stop foodies making the pilgrimage to this quaint gastro pub. 4/5
27 Coldharbour, Blackwall, Isle of Dogs, E14 9NS


Jones & Sons
23-27 Arcola Street, Dalston, E8 2DJ

The Marksman
Sat on a prime corner on one of the approach roads to Columbia Road's Sunday flower market, this east end pub was re-launched in May 2015 under the ownership of veteran St. John chefs Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram. 4.5/5
254 Hackney Road (corner Horatio St), Hackney, E2 7SJ

Morgan Arms
This old corner boozer sits among Victorian terraced houses just off Mile End Road. The Morgan Arms offers proper British pub food - mostly locally sourced, as is its good range of beers. 4.5/5
43 Morgan Street (corner Coborn Rd), Bow, E3 5AA

The Prince Arthur
On an upwardly mobile residential street in deepest Hackney, the Prince Arthur is a great example of an old boozer given a new lease of live by passionate and imaginative owners who recognise good food as being an essential part of their offering. 4.5/5
95 Forest Road (corner Elrington Rd), London Fields, Hackney, E8 3BH

The Princess of Shoreditch
With three cask ales on draught and an excellent range of over 30 bottled beers and ciders this Shoreditch gastro pub boasts a better selection than most. However, the excellent food here is the real draw - especially Sunday roasts. Pre-book your table in the small, chic upstairs dining room. 4.5/5
76-78 Paul Street (corner Willow St), Shoreditch, EC2A 4NE

The Royal Oak
Positioned smack in the centre of Colombia Road, famous for its Sunday morning flower market, the Royal Oak has retained its original work-a-day interior from when this pub was rebuilt in 1923. Predictably rammed on Sundays and busy most weekday eves, this old boozer is rightly noted for the quality of its modern European menu. 4/5
73 Columbia Road (corner Ezra St), Bethnal Green, E2 7RG

ency 57 image

The Eagle, Clerkenwell


The Eagle
London's first gastropub is still going strong. To call it 'popular' is an understatement - lunchtimes and evenings see the place stuffed with visiting foodies. A 'no bookings' policy operates so go early. Both food and furnishings are unpretentious and The Eagle is somewhat cramped, but thoroughly enjoyable. 4.5/5
159 Farringdon Road, Farringdon, EC1R 3AL

The Easton
Hardly pretty or grand, The Easton sits in an equally unattractive setting in the arse end of Clerkenwell. This pub's attraction is its food - Sunday roasts, hearty gastro pub meals and bar snacks delivered with friendly efficient service. 4.5/5
22 Easton Street (off Rosebery Av, near Farringdon Rd), Clerkenwell, WC1X 0DS

The Old Red Cow
Part of the Local Beer House chain (see also Dean Swift and Hack & Hop, The Old Red Cow is best known for having 16 craft beers on draught, but this little boozer on the fringe of Smithfield Market is not all about beer, the unpretentious food served here is also great - they don't have to go far to source great meat. 4.5/5
71-72 Long Lane, Farringdon, EC1A 9EJ

The Peasant
London is awash with gastro-pubs but Clerkenwell's The Peasant was one of the early pioneers and remains one of the better examples. A la carte dining is offered upstairs and food also features heavily in the downstairs pub. The good drinks offering includes regularly changing guest cask ales. 4.5/5
240 St. John Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4PH


The Anchor & Hope
The exterior of the Anchor & Hope looks unpromising and the interior, with its swirling ceiling fans and the usual gastro pub mismatched second-hand tables and chairs, is merely nice enough. But the Anchor & Hope takes the best elements of pub and restaurant, and combines them in a relaxed, informal, friendly setting. The food leads gastrophiles to trek across London to join hordes in the scramble for one of the unbookable tables. 4.5/5
36 The Cut, (corner Hatfields, close to Southwark tube) Waterloo, SE1 8LP

The Canton Arms
Lying among the suburban streets of Stockwell, The Canton Arms retains the shabby chic interior of down-at-heel boozer but with a distinctly upmarket food offering. Sister to the renowned Anchor & Hope, foodies trek here from across south London and the large back area beyond the sprawling central bar is given over to mismatched old tables exclusively for dinners. 4.5/5
177 South Lambeth Road, Stockwell SW8 1XP

The Dean Swift
The Dean Swift buzzes with local office workers and residents from the surrounding warehouse conversion apartments who are drawn to this little corner pub by its food and selection of predominantly London brewed ales and lagers. Expect four casks ales advertised on a chalk board and a selection of seven keg ales and lagers with the obligatory stout and two ciders. Although beer-led, the good food and roasts served here are also a major draw and the upstairs restaurant a cosy haven from the buzz below. 4.5/5
10 Gainsford Street, Bermondsey, SE1 2NE

The Garrison
The Garrison's green-tiled exterior has a quaint, almost country pub look and the theme continues inside. The homely feel, coupled with its modern British menu is a hit with Bermondsey's hip creatives. The Garrison retains all the essential elements of a great pub although diners take precedence and there's not much space to prop up the bar. 4.5/5
99-101 Bermondsey Street (corner White's Grounds), Bermondsey, SE1 3XB

The Rose Pub
A sympathetically refurbished Victorian corner pub in the shadow of the Shard serving a suitably traditional British menu. 4.5/5
123 Snowfields (corner Weston St), Bermondsey, SE1 34T

Also in the area (Southbank, Borough, London Bridge & Bermondsey): The Grange 4/5; The Roebuck Pub 4/5 and The Three Stags 3.5/5

ency 48 image


The Greenwich Union
Owned by the Greenwich-based Meantime Brewery, The Union is a quaint little pub traditional flagstone floors and wood-panelled walls which boasts an excellent range of bottled beers in addition to the brewer's own beers on draught. However, The Union makes this selection due to the quality of its food. A gem to remember when in Greenwich and far enough away from the tourists to be a haven.
56 Royal Hill, Greenwich, SE10 8RT


The Smokehouse
Prior to August 2013 this was just another forgotten backstreet boozer but an award-winning menu built around British produce with meat butchered on site (much of it either smoked or grilled over charcoal) has made The Smokehouse something of a destination. 4.5/5
63-69 Canonbury Road (corner Halton Rd), Islington, N1 2DG

The Albion
A gentrified pub in the equally upmarket residential hinterland between Islington's Upper Street and the Caledonian Road. The Albion is a large Georgian pub which dates from when Islington comprised fields and farmland with patrons visiting as part of their afternoon constitutional from the city. Today it's the food and walled garden that still causes people to trek to this wisteria covered pub that retains its countrified charm. 4.5/5
10 Thornhill Road (btwn Barnsbury St & Richmond Ave), Islington, N1 1HW

Hops & Glory
While the interior décor is far from special, the food served at Hops & Grapes is. Sunday roasts may not be cheap but they are amongst the very best in London, as is the delightfully moist Sticky Toffee Pudding. As for the drinks, while the star-tenders that graced this venue moved on early in 2017, their legacy lives on with one of the tastiest Bloody Marys we've found in London. 5/5
382 Essex Road, Islington, London, N1 3PF

The Pig & Butcher
Hearty British food produced from whole carcasses butchered on-site, along with an impressive beer offering has made this back street Islington gastro pub so popular with affluent late 20 and 30-something locals. With a gun metal grey shaker-style back bar, the overall look is somewhat mock-country kitchen. 4.5/5
80 Liverpool Road (corner Theberton St), Islington, N1 0QD

Also in the area (Islington, Highbury & Kings Cross): Charles Lamb, The Fellow 3.5/5, The Old Queen's Head, The Snooty Fox 3.5/5


Paradise by way of Kensal Green
Built in 1892, this pub takes its name from a line in the G.K Chesterton poem, The Rolling English Road, which opposes the prohibition of alcohol and references nearby Victorian Kensal Green cemetery. This is very much a local's place - catering for their every need - modern British meals served in the restaurant, quiet boozer early week to hip hop come live music nights on Friday and Saturday evenings. 4/5
19 Kilburn Lane (corner Regent St), Kensal Green, W10 4AE

ency 100 image

The Anglesea Arms, Hammersmith (image courtesy of Orange Giraffe Pub Co.)


The Anglesea Arms
One of the first and best-known of London's gastro pubs, The Anglesea Arms has the look and feel of a country pub. Wooden logs crackle in the fireplace of the main dark panelled room (which can be a touch smoky). Since a re-launch and introduction of a new chef in 2014 the food offering is better than ever. The dining room barely houses forty diners so many prefer to eat in the more atmospheric bar. 4.5/5
35 Wingate Road (corner Wellesley Ave), Hammersmith, W6 0UR

The Cumberland Arms
29 North End Road, Hammersmith, W14 8SZ

The Dartmouth Castle
The Dartmouth Castle is a classic neighbourhood boozer that's been gentrified by brothers Richard and George Manners and their Orange Giraffe Pub Company. Like the other pubs in their estate, the Castle is far from flashy, offering good quality honest food and good value for money. Don't expect flamboyant garnishes on your Bloody Mary but do expect very friendly attentive service. 4/5
26 Glenthorne Road (corner Overstone Rd), Hammersmith, W6 0LS

The Princess Victoria
217 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, W12 9DH

The Scarsdale Tavern
The Scarsdale has a picture postcard Georgian façade with trailing ivy, hanging baskets and window boxes brimming with flowers, and sits facing the lush gardens of Edwardes Square, creating a wonderful village pub feel. The open kitchen serves good, hearty, meat oriented meals. Part of the Fuller's Estate so the brewer's own products predominate. 4.5/5
23a Edwardes Square (corner Earls Walk), West Kensington, W8 6HE

Smokehouse Chiswick
Sister venue to the well regarded Smokehouse in Islington.
12 Sutton Lane North, Chiswick, W4 4LD

The Swan
1 Evershed Walk, 119 Acton Lane, Chiswick, W4 5HH

ency 72 image

The Bobbin, Clapham (image courtesy of Orange Giraffe Pub Co.)


The Avalon
16 Balham Hill, Clapham South, SW12 9EB

The Bobbin
The Bobbin is a back street boozer in Clapham Old Town offering good food and service in an unpretentious traditional pub environment. The large bar area straddles the wide front of the pub with large windows looking out onto the residential side street. For more formal dining there's an airy flagstoned conservatory area behind the bar. Beyond that lies a sun trap of a walled beer garden. 4/5
1-3 Lillieshall Road (off North St), Clapham Old Town, SW4 0LN

The Bolingbroke Pub & Dining Room
With its bare wooden tables, and painted wooden plank walls, this corner pub has something of a country pub feel to it. A pleasant conservatory-like dining room lies outback, while tables spill out on the pavement under an awning with heaters. A very full food offering also caters for the pub's considerable mum's with pushchairs audience with a children's menu.4/5
174 Northcote Road (corner Honeywell Rd), Battersea, SW11 6RE

The Earl Spencer
260-262 Merton Road, Wandsworth, SW18 5JL

The Fox & Hounds
66 Latchmere Road, Battersea, SW11 2JU

The Jam Tree
13-19 Old Town, Clapham, SW4 0JT

The Latchmere
503 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, SW11 3BW

The Stonhouse
165 Stonhouse Street, Clapham, London SW4 6BJ

The Woodman
60 Battersea High Street, Battersea, SW11 3HX

Also in the area (Clapham, Battersea & Wandsworth): The Abbeville 3.5/5

ency 20 image

The Lady Ottoline, Bloomsbury


The Lady Ottoline Pub & Dining Rooms
This superb gastro pub sits on quiet corner in the back streets, just off the Gray's Inn Road. The "Dining Rooms" in its elegant name refer to two homely first floor dining rooms. The wide, sallow ground floor bar is altogether more pub-like, although still gentrified. The Lady Ottoline is rightly a gastro pub of some note. 5/5
11a Northington Street (corner John St), Bloomsbury, WC1N 2JF


The Admiral Codrington
There's a pleasing contrast to the atmospheres of the bar and the restaurant at this tucked away pub. The restaurant menu is a sensible length, offering not over-elaborate but gently imaginative food that neither wows nor disappoints but satisfies. Its pubby origins are still evident in the likes of good burgers and fish and chips. A snack menu is offered in the bar and you can eat from the restaurant menu at lunchtimes.
17 Mossop Street (opp. Leverett Street), Brompton, SW3 2LY

The Arbiter
308-310 North End Road, Fulham, SW6 1NQ

The Atlas
Little of the interior of this former Truman's pub has changed over the years and the Atlas retains its workaday appearance. A kitchen visible through the hatch above the rear fireplace and a blackboard menu hint at The Atlas' gastro pub credentials. 4/5
16 Seagrave Road (off Lillie Rd), Fulham, SW6 1RX

The Builders Arms
The Builders lies tucked away among the posh residential streets between the Fulham and King's Roads. It is cosy and homely with comfy sofas, arm chairs, bookshelves, low lighting and a fireplace. An upscale crowd of Chelsea types are drawn by the modern British menu, wine selection with over 30 by the glass and choice of three cask conditioned ales. 4/5
13 Britten Street (off Kings Road up Chelsea Manor St), Chelsea, SW3 3TY

The Butcher's Hook
If you're not a football fan, don't let the fact that this stylish gastro pub lies bang opposite Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground put you off (other than match days). The good standard of food offered ranges from simple snacks such as Welsh Rarebit to an interesting and diverse full modern British menu. 4.5/5
477 Fulham Road (corner Moor Park Rd), Fulham, SW6 1HL

The Durell Arms
704 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5SB

The Harwood Arms
As it proudly declares on its website, The Harwood "is not your average gastropub". Indeed, it is the only gastro pub with a Michelin Star. The Harwood may boast pub essentials such as a solid wooden old bar counter, a couple of cask ales on hand pump and a classic pub mid-19th century corner building. However, all other aspects are decidedly more restaurant than pub. 5+/5
Walham Grove (corner Farm Lane), Fulham, SW6 1QP

The Henry Root
9 Park Walk (off Fulham Rd), Chelsea, SW10 0AJ

The Imperial
In March 2015 The Imperial launched a new menu with the appointment of new head chef Jason Lee Cole and sous chef Ollie Quench. Choose to eat in the 50-seater restaurant with its large windows and open plan kitchen or the less formal bar area, while the garden has a large heated deck area and comfy sofas. A private dining room is available for canapés or a sit down dinner for up to 60 guests.
577 King's Road, Fulham, SW6 2EH

The Jam Tree
541 Kings Road, Fulham, SW6 2EB

Lots Road Dining Room
114 Lots Road, Chelsea, London, SW10 0RJ

The Phoenix
23 Smith Street (corner Woodfall St), Chelsea, London, SW3 4EE

The Pig's Ear
A gastro pub of some note with real character in the heart of residential Chelsea. You can eat in the busy bar but we recommend reserving a table in the cosy side room or the charming panelled dining room on the first floor. 4.5/5
35 Old Church Street (off the King's Road), Chelsea, SW3 5BS

The White Horse
An old coaching inn on the tip of Parson's Green with a large umbrella covered terrace. Big and loud but distinctly upmarket boozer. If you are a rugby or beer fan then this pub, known to its regulars as the Sloany Pony is the kinda of pub you'll be sure to like. Highly regarded for its broad beer selection (6 to 8 cask ales + 135 bottled brews), the White Horse also deserves praise for its hearty food. 4/5
1-3 Parsons Green, (north corner of green), Parsons Green, SW6 4UL

Join the Discussion

... comment(s) for London's best gastro pubs

You must log in to your account to make a comment.

Report comment