Long gone are the days where London was considered a terrible place to eat and drink, it has come such a long way. It’s got fabulous restaurants, and even the pub experience has improved so much. The quality of food and drink at our pubs are exceptional, so since we still have to stay outside I thought I’d share some of the best places to enjoy a meal outside.
Number 1 – The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead
First up is The Spaniards Inn – this historic pub dates back to 1585 and sits on the edge of Hampstead Heath near Kenwood House in northwest London. It’s a perfect place to grab a pint or drink after a long walk on the heath, with a lovely beer garden which has fairy lights throughout creating a magical oasis.
Food at The Spaniards Inn
The menu is quite upscale and includes options like shallot and Armagnac tart tartan, and pan-roasted venison with spiced squash puree, which will be sure to whet your appetite.
You’ll be so glad you visited as you’ll be in the company with Charles Dickens and John Keats who frequented for drinks in the past.
Number 2 – Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant and Castle
Now let’s head southeast and feature Mercato Metropolitano this is a really well kept secret in Elephant and Castle at 15,000 square feet and seating over 500, it is absolutely massive.
Food & Drink at Mercato Metropolitano
What’s also cool about Mercato Metropolitano is that there are more than 40 drink and food vendors, including their own on-site micro brewery German Kraft, which is a craft brewery rooted in German tradition which specialises in authentic German-style beers.
There’s also sustainable urban gin company Jim and Tonic which offer classic gin-based cocktails with a range of gin flavours.
Number 3 – The Duke of Hamilton, Hampstead
Now we’re going to feature another great pub that happens to be in Hampstead and it’s called The Duke of Hamilton its roots go back to 1721 and has been a favourite watering hole of actors Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, and Oliver Reed. This sweet spot beloved by locals for over 300 years, and is just a two minute walk from Hampstead Heath.
Food and Drink at The Duke of Hamilton
They serve cocktails and an impressive selection of wines and beers and apparently their gin and tonic is legendary. Also the food is exceptional including their Sunday roast with seasonal British produce and local ingredients served up. The Duke of Hamilton shows how far pub food has come from fish and chips!
In 2019 The Duke of Hamilton was brought back to life by local brothers Ben and Ed who grew up in the area, along with their childhood friend, Adam. These are the stories that are great to see and really what makes London so special, it’s about that history that goes back hundreds of years. Here you have a place that you can enjoy in the 21st century that has roots dating back to the 18th.
Number 4 – Gordon’s Wine Bar, Embankment
Speaking of roots we must mention Gordon’s Wine Bar. While I’m not sure if this is a pub garden per se, but it’s definitely one of my favourites so worth a mention. It is one of London’s oldest wine bars dating back to 1890 and has been frequented by poet Rudyard Kiplin. It is a subterranean cavernous space, and the building’s records date back to the 1600’s.
Close to Covent Garden and London’s theatreland, it is truly a hidden gem but pretty much the worst kept secret! It’s just minutes away from Trafalgar Square between Charing Cross and Embankment stations, Gordon’s is actually famous for his vaulted candlelight cellar with oak barrels filled with sherries and ports. Walls are covered with old photographs, newspaper clippings of historic events, and I’m putting it on the list because it’s so popular for locals and tourists. I frequented it often and it’s definitely a place that if you’re coming to visit me I’m going to offer to take you by.
Food and Drink at Gordon’s Wine Bar
It’s got a fair amount of outdoor seating under heated awnings that provide an all year round alfresco experience. Along with world-class wines you can enjoy sharing boards, snacks, and homemade dishes.
Number 5 – The County Arms, Wandsworth
Next, let’s head southwest to Wandsworth to The County Arms this big stately pub dominates the north end of Trinity Road. The beer garden is serene with deck chairs, faux turf, big leafy planters offering privacy and shade and outdoor heaters and parasols for the unpredictable weather.
Food and Drink at The County Arms
For food, there’s a dedicated summer barbecue station outside to complement the menu of bar snacks and gastropub nosh. If you want to pass on food, there’s also plenty of options for great beers with several on tap, with other drinks including a bit of bubbly. When we’re allowed back inside you can enjoy the deep arm chairs and leather sofas in front of cozy fireplaces as well.
Number 6 – The Four Thieves, Battersea
Staying south of the river, I’m going to feature The Four Thieves in Battersea. This spot has its own microbrewery and they distil their own gin, they even keep an escape room & arcade in the basement. Located in a beautifully renovated Victorian palace, it is full of wall-mounted taxidermy, scuffed wooden floors, and beautiful vintage tiling.
Food and Drink at The Four Thieves
Aside from their own distilled gin, they also have a further 45 gins available, and they have a range of more exotic tonics so there’s plenty of options to discover. Of course, they make today’s list for the outdoor space also known as the gin yard. It’s a large area ideal for sipping spirits from the extensive menu and there’s a canopy so you don’t have to scamper away if it’s raining.
Number 7 – The Rose Pub, Fulham
Finally, we’re going to give a shout out to The Rose Pub which is considered by many Fulham village’s ideal pub. It’s situated just off Avalon road and is the go-to place for Fulham and Chelsea residents.
Food and Drink at The Rose Pub
It serves up local beers, a curated selection of wines, and interesting cocktails. The beer garden is one of the best in the area, and is covered in greens and rose bushes, so it makes for a perfect place to spend your day during the summer, and it’s even covered and heated during the colder months too. There’s a water feature and flowering shrubs so a perfect way to relax. Here you can enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine, or beer any time of day, you can also sample the freshly prepared meals or delicious platters.
So, did you have a favorite or maybe you’re going to check out all seven? Is there a local pub to you with a garden that I’ve missed? I’d love to find some new gems to visit in London. There’s definitely plenty of options throughout the city for you to have a drink outside but as soon as things do open up I’ll make sure to feature some of the best places to have a great meal in different parts of the city.