We do love exploring London on foot and it always helps to have a pub or two as our ultimate destination.
A couple of times a year, we feel the need to be in Greenwich. Usually, we’re heading for Meantime’s brewery tap, the Greenwich Union. Over the years, it’s delighted and infuriated us, swinging from brilliant to awful from one visit to the next. The last couple of times, it’s been back on form. As well as being the best place to try Meantime’s own range, their selection of bottled beers just keeps getting better. The Old Brewery is Meantime’s new(ish) venture and, the couple of times we’ve been, we’ve loved it. In summer, it’s the nearest London comes to capturing the atmosphere of somewhere like Würzburg or Mainz. (Although not everyone agrees with us.)
The Flask in Highgate is a great place to finish a ramble through north London. It’s got hearty, only mildly pretentious food; Fuller’s beer in scintillating condition; and a small but select list of Belgian classics in bottles. Sat beneath a dark oak beam in a cosy corner, it’s easy to feel like you’re in the country pub of fable. It helps that lots of the punters are wearing wellies and Barbour jackets.
We’ve mentioned the Dove already in this series of posts (in case anyone’s in any doubt, it’s something of a favourite) but, when we’re wandering in east London along the Regent’s Canal, past the Olympic site and, more importantly, the Big Breakfast house, the Dove is usually our final destination.
Also in the East, but at the riverside, there’s the Wapping and Limehouse crawl. None of these pubs is staggeringly brilliant in its own right but there are few other such neatly arranged runs in London. You can explore the industrial history of London, stopping off every quarter of a mile for a pint of something. The views from the dining room of the Captain Kidd are particularly good; and the precarious-feeling wooden terrace of the Grapes, with the Thames lapping at its underside, is fantastic place to sit and watch boats go by at close quarters.