This rugged pub is a community stalwart over 34 years young. With a hostel upstairs and a strong focus on live music downstairs, it’s long been a home to lovable waifs and strays. While the pub has retained its distinctly punk vibe, the performances run the gamut from hip hop, to K Pop, to metal and other left field genres that’ll jolt your ear holes. Look out for their Cinema City night, where you can hear SE’s freakiest avant-garde/alternative acts making baffling sounds. In terms of consumption, there is a decent range of brews on tap, plus a food menu featuring classic pub grub like Sunday roasts, burgers and nachos. The real draw, though, is the Birds Nest's warm atmo and community-driven ethos.
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Just off Lancaster Gate, this charming neighbourhood pub is a magnificent celebration of the old British boozer. Dating back to 1850, this grade II listed building stocks a wide range of Young’s beers, world lagers and fine wines, plus its got a killer menu to boot. It's also so pretty you'll probably never want to leave - oh, and did we mention there's a cocktail bar in the basement? Talk about ticking all the boxes.
Fox and Anchor
Oolala, the Fox and Anchor is pretty much as elegant as old Brit boozers come. Housed in a rather spectacular Victorian building a hop skip and a jump away from Smithfield Market, this historical haunt is a sure way to impress anyone visiting from out of town - you can even get them a room with a copper bath upstairs. Granted, it's certainly not the cheapest place in town, but the homemade pies are lush and the 8 oz steak with blue cheese hollandaise sauce is to die for. Pair with a nice bottle of wine or a pint of ale, and you're pretty sorted for the next few hours or so.
If you've got friends visiting who insist you visit London Bridge and all the tourist tripe in that area, make sure to have this little boozer up your sleeve. This isn't a pub you're likely to make a pilgrimage to but for the area, it's great. They are big on craft beer with a myriad of ever-changing beers on offer and the food is pub grub done exceedingly well - like the veal schnitzel with crushed new potatoes, pickled cabbage and mushroom sauce.
Hagen & Hyde
Sometimes, all you need is just a warm, cosy, friendly boozer. And Hagen & Hyde is just that. Here, hidden away from the quiet streets of Balham, locals like to get loud and rowdy on a Monday (quiz night - it gets pretty real), get pretty groovy on the first Thursday of the month (blues jam bebeh) and get totally mash up on the weekend (because there's live Dj sets, but mostly because it's the muthafucking weekend). If it's the quiet, snuggle up with a paper vibe you're looking for - the hearty Sunday roast is pretty delicious.