30 March 2017 | 10 °C

The 10 Best London Pubs For A Secret Rendezvous

The 10 Best London Pubs For A Secret Rendezvous
Photo: Linda Wisdom.

Shhh, everyone's got their own little secret. We know this, you know this; nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Sometimes these secrets have to be talked over; worked through. Whether you're changing careers, planning a surprise, or meeting someone you shouldn't, here's a guide to the top London pubs and bars with snug corners, hidden back rooms and cosy out-of-the-way booths, perfect for those times you want to chat without being disturbed.

The Southwark Tavern

Southwark Tavern. Photo: Simon Goldsworthy.

Hide away after wandering around busy Borough Market in The Southwark Tavern right next door. Clamber up the spiral staircase and slide into one the several booths hidden inside the exposed brickwork, where you can sample the wide selection of ales.

The Southwark Tavern, 22 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU

Ye Old Mitre Tavern, Holborn

You'd be hard pressed to find a pub that's more hidden away than Ye Old Mitre Tavern.

Tucked into a little side street in bustling Holborn, the pub was originally built for Queen Elizabeth I's servants. Stepping inside feels like stepping back to the 16th century, with dark wooden walls and a traditional bar.

Ye Old Mitre Tavern, 1 Ely Place, EC1N 6SJ

Bermondsey Arts Club

An old Victorian toilet may not sound like the most glamorous of locations, but Bermondsey Arts Club has skilfully retained some of its original features such as the original tiling, while turning the basement room into a bustling bar.

The comfy benches all around the walls and the small tables make this the ideal spot for a quiet conversation. There's a decent list of interesting and inventive cocktails, as well as a small selection of beer and wine if you don't fancy forking out a small fortune.

Bermondsey Arts Club, 102a Tower Bridge Road, SE1 4TP

The Holly Bush, Hampstead

The Holly Bush. Photo: Shadow In The Water.

The Holly Bush was built in the 1790s by portrait painter George Romney and turned into a pub by Watford Breweries a little later on.

It's now owned by Fuller's with a wide selection of ales and beers served in the three low-ceiling rooms.

Holly Bush, 22 Holly Mount, NW3 6SG

The George Inn, London Bridge

The George Inn. Photo: Pallab Seth.

The George Inn near London Bridge is the only pub owned by the National Trust, with an impressive galleried exterior.

The maze-like interior and comfy sofas and booths makes The George the perfect stop off for a cosy pint and intimate chat. It's managed by Greene King so expect plenty of local and craft ales.

The George Inn 75-77 Borough High Street, Southwark, SE1 1NH

Little Yellow Door

This 1990s house-party vibe bar has a very secret Snug area. Sneak past the doorman, down the stairs and climb through a small opening in the wall into the hideaway. The Snug must be booked in advance.
Little Yellow Door, 68 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3HT

Deliveroo now from Notting Hill

Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London

Renowned British caricature artist Gerald Scarfe has lent his name and vision to this drawing room style bar, with his illustrations adorning the marble walls.

Have a cosy chat in the bouffant sofas and arm chairs in the corner booths and in front of the huge open fire.

Scarfes Bar, Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN

Call Me Mr Lucky, London Bridge

Hidden beneath the Breakfast Club in London Bridge you need a secret phrase to get past the bouncer. Once in, you're led through the crowded restaurant, through the kitchen and down the stairs into a subterranean cocktail bar serving drinks, hot dogs and chicken.

Call Me Mr Lucky is a bit more lively than the others on this list, so is perhaps a place to go when you're feeling a little more lubricated.

Call me Mr Lucky, 11 Southwark Street, SE1 1RQ

The Mayflower

The Mayflower. Photo: Matt Brown.

The Mayflower is one of the oldest pubs in London, dating back to 1621, and is named after the famous Mayflower ship which took the pilgrim fathers to America.

Inside it is suitably old fashioned, with dark wood panelling, plenty of corners and a big log fire. Perfect for cosy winter evenings.

The Mayflower, 117 Rotherhithe Street, SE16 4NF

The Anglesea Arms, Hammersmith

The Anglesea Arms is much more than just a pub, with a menu that is updated daily. You can even BYOB on a Monday for a small corkage fee. Head over if you fancy food as well as a pint — the varied selection of locally produced, British-inspired dishes is worth trying.
The Anglesea Arms, 35 Wingate Road, W6 0UR

Know anywhere else that works for a secret rendezvous? Let us know in the comments below: we won't tell anyone else, promise...

Last Updated 17 February 2017

Ian

How could you omit the legendary Gordon's Wine Bar in Villiers Street, close to Embankment station? A stalwart hiding-place for many years for those undertaking illicit liaisons...er, so I'm told. Bosses and secretaries were the easiest to spot, closely followed by the Me-and-Mrs.-Joneses - women of a certain age with their younger companions. It has a raft of cosy nooks which are perfect for clandestine cuddles over a bottle of house white. Legendary!