London's Best Lesser-Known Gastropubs

James Drury
By James Drury Last edited 49 months ago
London's Best Lesser-Known Gastropubs

London's gastropub scene is ubiquitous, with a wide range of places to get good food and the perfect pint. Many of the city's gastropubs are well-known and most people will have a favourite, but have you discovered these lesser-known gastropub gems in London?

The Havelock Tavern, Hammersmith

The best secret gastropubs in London: The Havelock Tavern
Photo: The Havelock Tavern

Set on a quiet road, this award-winning pub is a splendid spot to sit outside with a glass of excellent wine and top-notch food. One of London's first gastropubs, it has found a winning formula and stuck to it. A small, daily-changing menu is based around what's in season and the wine list will suit most budgets. Clientele here is a mix of locals and people coming for a full-on meal out, and everyone seems to rub along very well. There's no music playing, but that doesn't make it like a library — the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.

The Havelock Tavern, 57 Masbro Road, W14 0LS

The Ladbroke Arms, Notting Hill

Pretty flowers and great food at The Ladbroke Arms - one of London's best hidden gastropubs
Photo: The Ladbroke Arms

Come for the hanging baskets, stay for the food. Once you know where it is, it's impossible to miss this pretty little London gastropub that's festooned with flowers. Excellent food, and a wide wine selection make this a favourite for Notting Hill locals. The Sunday roasts are particularly worth the trip, although the prices are pretty well in-keeping with the costly area.

The Ladbroke Arms, 54 Ladbroke Road, W11 3NW

The Marquess Tavern, Islington

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Tucked away down Canonbury Street, within spitting distance of the New River Path, The Marquess has a strong focus on local goodies. Meat and fish are sourced from a family butcher in Highbury and a fishmonger in Essex Road, while the fruit and veg comes from Covent Garden. Even most of the beer is from London brewers. The menu ranges from pub favourites like burger 'n' fries or beer-battered haddock, to the more exotic tofu pad thai. If dessert is your weakness, the Marquess Mess — chock full with raspberry meringue, cream and summer berry compote — is big enough for two.

The Marquess Tavern, 32 Canonbury Street, N1 2TB

The Anchor and Hope, Waterloo

Cosy, hidden away and with locally sourced ingredients, The Anchor and Hope is one of the best gastropubs in London
Photo: The Anchor and Hope

There are no bookings at this atmospheric gastropub in London, other than for Sunday lunch, so be prepared to share some wine at the bar while you wait for food. It's well worth it, with reliably superb British cuisine like grilled Orkney kipper, braised artichokes with cheesy polenta, and sticky toffee pud regularly on the menu. The slew of candles makes this place extra romantic (and rather warm) too – ideal for a date night.  

The Anchor and Hope, 36 The Cut, SE1 8LP

The Bull & Last, Highgate

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One of London's best gastropubs, this gem on the southeast corner of Hampstead Heath is a magnet for walkers, diners and boozers alike. Following an extensive refurbishment in 2020 it's better than ever before, although exciting European cuisine still take centre stage. There's homemade pastas that'd make any Italian proud, Scandinavian smoked eel smørrebrød and Isle of Man scallops to whet your appetite, although the menu changes slightly every day according to what's in season. It's an accomplished joint, which comes at a price, but it's worth splashing out when the food is this good.

The Bull & Last, 168 Highgate Road, NW5 1QS

The Thomas Cubitt, Belgravia

Looking for London's best, secret foodie pubs? The Thomas Cubitt is a gastropub with wow factor
Photo: The Thomas Cubitt

In the world of London gastropubs, this is a pretty fancy place to eat. More restaurant than pub, you'll struggle to find a main under £19, but you get what you pay for and this is worth the outlay. Elegant dishes such as fillet of beef (with delectable beef-fat mash), or celeriac steak with orange pickle should give you an idea of what to expect in the more formal dining room; although there's a less expensive pub menu with more traditional items to pick from. Befitting the location, the champagne list is well curated, and if cocktails are your thing, you won't be disappointed.

The Thomas Cubitt, 44 Elizabeth Street, SW1W 9PA

The Harwood Arms, Fulham

The Harwood Arms is one of London's best gastropubs
Photo: The Harwood Arms

The poshest pub on this list — it’s got a Michelin star to prove it — The Harwood Arms retains an intimate charm thanks to its tucked away location on the back streets of Fulham. The kitchen here has a real fondness for game, so expect to see a fair bit of deer and the like popping up alongside your usual beef rump and braised pork jowl. The ultimate, though, might be the roast sirloin of beef served up alongside cauliflower cheese croquettes, root veg galore and bone marrow gravy of a Sunday lunchtime. Three courses off the main menu will set you back a cool £49.95, but at time of writing this is London's only Michelin-starred pub – bookmark it for a special occasion.

The Harwood Arms, Walham Grove, SW6 1QP

The Pig and Butcher, Islington

London's best secret gastropubs: The Pig and Butcher
Photo: The Pig and Butcher

The Pig and Butcher made it onto our map of the best roast dinners in London, with special mention for the gravy. It's three days in the making, during which time the stock is gradually reduced until it's supremely rich and thickened. Perfect for pouring all over those roasties. That level of attention to detail should mean it's no surprise this place takes its meat very seriously indeed — all carcasses come straight from the farm and are butchered on site. Without doubt one of our favourite gastropubs in London.

The Pig and Butcher, 80 Liverpool Road, N1 0QD

Tulse Hill Hotel, Tulse Hill

Tulse Hill Hotel is a secret gem and one of London's best gastropubs
Photo: Tulse Hill Hotel

The rapid gentrification of south London's SE24 has seen a boom in dining options, and the success of the Tulse Hill Hotel is proof of how much this area has changed. But sneer not, the food here is fantastic – especially from the hot coal robata (a traditional Japanese charcoal grill) which charrs up jerk chicken burgers, rib-eye steaks and the like. On Sundays a decent range of roasts sit alongside more traditional pub grub on the menu, and it's all served 'til 9pm so if you over-do it on Saturday night and need a pick me up, you've got time for a serious lie-in first.

Tulse Hill Hotel, 150 Norwood Road, SE24 9AY

Marksman, Hackney

Marksman is one of the best gastropubs in London for great food in a cosy atmosphere
Photo: Marksman

A Victorian pub through and through, the food might have gone gastro at this Hackney Road watering hole, but the rest of the place remains just as simple and welcoming as in the good old days. As well as a reliably delicious Sunday roast menu, there are a number of major standouts on the a la carte. The pheasant pie, chunky with game and encased in butter-soft pastry is a total knockout, while the brown butter and honey tart is the stuff of legend. Seriously. It made our best desserts in London list and you'll probably find half the other diners tucking in after their meal too. Oh, and be sure to look up when you're here – the ceiling is incredible.

Marksman, 254 Hackney Road, E2 7SJ

Last Updated 27 February 2020

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