London’s After-work Pubs

Last year, a friend sighed and rolled his eyes when we sug­gest­ed Cask for an after-work pint: “Is this anoth­er one of your bizarre real ale pubs?” The pubs list­ed below all have good beer but are also (a) con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed for most Lon­don-based salary­men and (b) won’t freak out a Fos­ter’s drinker.

After all, usu­al­ly the point of a mid-week pint is to spend time with friends or col­leagues. Good beer is just a bonus.

The Jugged Hare, Vaux­hall Bridge Road
It’s an iden­tik­it Fuller’s pub in an old bank; it’s a bit cor­po­rate and pla­s­ticky. And yet, it’s got a cer­tain charm. Very friend­ly, Euro­pean bar staff com­pen­sate for the chain pub feel, and the beer is impec­ca­bly kept. In fact, the Jugged Hare has won Fuller’s in-house pub of the year com­pe­ti­tion more than once. The pies aren’t bad, either, not just pots of goop with pas­try lids.

The Edgar Wal­lace, Essex Street, Ald­wych

Very handy for bus­es, tubes and trains to all cor­ners of Lon­don, this pub is also a CAMRA favourite, with between six and eight real ales on offer at any one time. Usu­al­ly crawl­ing with lawyers but we always seem to get a seat, too.

Ye Old Mitre, Hat­ton Gar­den
A Fuller’s pub these days, but with guest ales, usu­al­ly includ­ing more than one from Adnams. It’s also cosy and extreme­ly charm­ing. The only down­side to this as an after work venue is how hard it is to find. Expect to spend some time on your mobile phone giv­ing direc­tions. With thanks to Ten Inch Wheel­er for the tip a cou­ple of years back.

The Black Fri­ar at, erm, Black­fri­ars
Part of the Nichol­son’s chain which, as Steve has point­ed out, is try­ing very hard to get its beer right. Hand­i­ly locat­ed for chums who work in the City of Lon­don, it also hap­pens to be one of the most unusu­al and impres­sive pub build­ings in Lon­don, bedecked with mosaics and with the atmos­phere of Baskerville Hall. There are usu­al­ly one or two gen­uine­ly excit­ing beers on offer (i.e. Thorn­bridge spe­cials).

Occa­sion­al­ly, none of those hit the spot, and that’s when we rely on Sam Smith’s. There are mil­lions of their pubs in Lon­don and they are all reli­ably good, if you buy into the SS schtick and like their beer, which we do. Com­ing away from buy­ing a round with change from a ten­ner is a bonus, too.

Holy shit! Sam Smith’s have a web­site? What will Chris­t­ian Hor­ton do with the time he no longer has to waste answer­ing our let­ters?

13 thoughts on “London’s After-work Pubs”

  1. The pres­ence of Sam Smiths in cen­tral Lon­don pret­ty much makes pub life worth liv­ing.

    The Chan­dos on St Mar­tins Lane has a place reserved for­ev­er in my heart for this very rea­son.

  2. I was in the Black­fri­ar yes­ter­day evening, did­n’t fan­cy any of the cask beers (Doom Bar, Trib­ute, TT Land­lord) but then I spot­ted a bot­tle of Mean­time Choco­late in the fridge, so they’ve got that going for them as well.

    And as you say, it’s an absolute­ly love­ly inte­ri­or.

  3. On the sub­ject of Nichol­son’s, I have been VERY impressed with the cask selec­tion at the Horn­i­man at Hays (Hays Gal­le­ria) on the south bank next to Lon­don Bridge. Usu­al­ly some­thing from Thorn­bridge plus plen­ty of oth­er top-end micros. Well kept too in my expe­ri­ence. Who­ev­er is choos­ing and keep­ing the beer at that place is doing a good job!

    As a bonus they do a good selec­tion of lagers, afford­able food and have lots of seat­ing right on the riv­er with good views of Tow­er Bridge.

  4. HGF – the Chan­dos is spe­cial – always heav­ing, full of stu­dents and the­atre­go­ers, but, if you get there at the right time, you can have a booth to your­self and just watch the world go by through a stained glass win­dow. Mar­vel­lous.

    Tan­dle­man: more on salary­men here; and, no, although we often joked about writ­ing to Chris­t­ian Hor­ton, we nev­er actu­al­ly got round to it.

    Dar­ren – I’d take the lat­ter two glad­ly. And had bet­ter get used to Doom Bar…

    Dubbel – that makes me think that we prob­a­bly ought to do a round up of river­side pubs, too!

  5. The major ben­e­fit of SS Lon­don pubs is the pres­ence of “upstairs”. Princess Louise, Blue Posts, Chan­dos, Lyceum are all fine down­stairs if you can get in, but give an oasis for beer upstairs at oth­er times. The Angel near TCR prob­a­bly breaks all def­i­n­i­tions of what a cen­tral Lon­don pub should be. The Fitzroy and the Brick­lay­ers will always be spe­cial. Not been the same since they stopped doing ridicu­lous­ly cheap Mild though.

    Fuller’s pubs are sim­i­lar­ly exchange­able, and also pret­ty ser­vice­able (not sure I’ve ever actu­al­ly reached the Jugged Hare as it was­n’t a pub when I worked round there).

  6. The Sam Smith’s pubs in Lon­don seem to be revered but the ones oop here are reli­ably godaw­ful some­times.

    My local does’t let us in half the time on grounds that we’re not halfwits, and they don’t keep the beer par­tic­u­lar­ly well any­way. And there’s a love­ly report online some­where about one of the estab­lish­ments in Har­ro­gate relat­ing to a dog that eats chil­dren, com­par­ing the car park (pos­si­bly unfair­ly) to The Bronx and (I para­phrase) a mush­room brained bar­man.

    Still, The Angel in Brig­gate is worth going to see for the man who dress­es as Sher­lock Holmes and if you have a par­tic­u­lar pen­chant for watch­ing peo­ple grad­u­al­ly slip­ping down the bar into their own piss.

  7. Sam Smith’s are nice in the­o­ry, but the Old Brew­ery Bit­ter is pret­ty hor­ri­ble IMO (and many pubs don’t have any hand­pumps any­way), and the love­ly bot­tled stouts are very expen­sive (4.50 i think?) which seems at odds with the bud­get prices on oth­er items. do they have any oth­er cask beers besides OBB?

  8. although on a more pos­i­tive note, the one on King­ly St (Red Lion?) is nice, i like the lit­tle wood pan­elled room down­stairs

  9. Michael – OBB isn’t all that excit­ing, although I quite like its tart­ness, when I’m in the mood. I don’t know about oth­er cask beers, but I like their keg stout a lot (more sour and char­ac­ter­ful than Guin­ness) and their York­shire Bit­ter reminds me dis­tinct­ly of a Dues­sel­dorf alt.

  10. Thanks for the men­tion! I was won­der­ing where that traf­fic spike came from …

    As for Sam Smiths – i’m still doing a one-man boy­cott over their treat­ment of Crop­ton. That’ll learn ’em.

  11. The sign out­side the Jugged Hare actu­al­ly made me sali­vate – the thought of a steak and ale pie, washed down with a fresh pint of ESB from the cask.

    There’s some­thing tru­ly beau­ti­ful about the British tra­di­tion of pies and beer 😀

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