Travelling to London on a budget? Well aside from booking into some cheap hotels you’ll also need to find yourself some fun nights out that are easier on the wallet. So whether you’re heading North, south, east, west or central, here is our Top 10 of the best cheap pubs in London…
1. Jerusalem Tavern
A staple on the London pub scene, the Jerusalem Tavern stocks St Peter’s brews, a brewery nestled in the heart of Suffolk. Aside from the traditional bitters they also stock the more peculiar fruit and honey porter beers, seasonal brews such as the Christmas Ale and, dragging beer into the 21 century, a gluten-free G-Free beer. Located in Clerkenwell, it is a work-a-day choice for the surrounding creative industry types and therefore only open Monday to Friday until 11pm.
- Where: 55 Britton Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 5UQ
2. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
This one is a Samuel Smith’s brewery, a name synonymous with cheap plonk that only serves its own brand of ales, lagers and even soft drinks. Most pubs claim to be the ‘oldest pub in London but this Holborn city boozer lives up to its ‘Ye Olde’ title, with the Horn Tavern recorded to have occupied the same spot back in 1538. Easily one of the best pubs in London, the dark wooden panelling, roaring fireplace and cavernous rooms leading off from a maze of stairwells make it a cosy winter hideaway.
- Where: 145 Fleet Street, City of London EC4A 2BU
3. Salisbury Hotel
One way to reduce the price for a pint of the good stuff is to head out of town. The Salisbury Hotel is a restored Victorian building in Harringay complete with an enchanting stained glass skylight. Pre 2003 it was something of a down-and-out establishment but is now a much-loved local favourite with quality roasts on Sundays and great imported ales and beers sold from behind the carved wooden island bar – quite a statement piece. Also check out our post on the cool boutique hotels in London.
- Where: 1 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, N4 1JX
4. Sherlock Holmes
Tourists can often be easy targets when it comes to novelty London attractions. But the Sherlock Holmes pub next to Charing Cross is a charming mix of detective memorabilia and well-priced bitters, liquors and spirits. It’s an intriguing place with a replica sitting room and study beside the restaurant which serves traditional English dishes including scampi, burgers, roast beef and pies for £10-£13.
- Where: 10-11 Northumberland Street, Westminster, WC2N 5DB
5. The Eagle
Heading west, The Eagle is an eclectic joint with a particularly fine beer garden and bean bag-studded lawn which beckons in the summer months. But it’s equally inviting in winter as punters rustle up a game of Jenga beside the open fireplace. They have a refreshing rotation of ales on tap so there is always something new to try.
- Where: 215 Askew Rd, London W12 9AZ
Strongbow, Magners…it has become depressing to see these as the standard run-of-the-mill ciders served in London pubs. For the real thing, try the Harp which won the CAMRA National Pub of the Year Award 2010/2011. Close to Trafalgar Square in Covent Garden this buzzing drinking hole is crammed with all sorts of perries and ciders from across the UK. Have a taster before committing to a pint.
- Where: 47 Chandos Place, London WC2N 4HS
7. The Crosse Keys
So, if you are really committed to finding a cheap pint in London, swallow your pride and head to a Wetherspoon’s. Most are dark and dingy but the Crosse Keys in Bank is housed in a ginormous old banking hall and has a bit more going for it with one of the best real ales selections. Its location means it has a buzzy suit atmosphere past 5pm and the best spot is from the balcony with a view across the vast venue. Skip all but the most simple food and stick to the £2.65-£3.05 pints.
- Where: 9 Gracechurch Street, City of London EC3V 0DR
8. The Swan
Closely behind Wetherspoon’s in the discipline of cheap drinks in uninspiring interiors is the Nicholson chain. But The Swan is something of an exception with a decent refurbishment job on the 18th-century building and a focus on regular guest ales. It offers pints in the budget region of £2.70-£3.20.
- Where: 46 Hammersmith Broadway, London W6 0DZ
9. The Old Nick
One of the few pubs to reward regulars. Ask for as many stamp cards as you want and write your tipple of choice on it (eg. Double G&T, pint of Staropramen…) and you will receive a stamp for each one you purchase. The 10th is free! Tucked down a small side street, it is popular with the surrounding Holborn office workers and is closed on Saturdays and Sunday evenings.
- Where: 20-22 Sandland Street, Holborn, London WC1R 4PZ
10. The Blue Posts
A handy place to duck out of the Oxford Street crowds, The Blue Posts is another Sam Smith pub. Downstairs it’s a matter of leaning on ledges and perching on high stools but upstairs, if it is not hired out for a private party, you can sit in the elegant Edwardian drawing room complete with own bar.
- Where: 81 Newman Street, London W1T 3EU
If you’re planning a pub crawl to the above establishments, make sure that you’ve booked your London hostels within stumbling distance!