A pub with a dart board seems to be a rare thing these days in London, let alone one in a gastropub. The Bobbin has this and more: board games, a tidy ale selection, beer garden and open fire...can you see why we like it so much? It's got more tricks up its smart little sleeve though - the menu has been given some Italian boosts, so it's got none of standard gastropub predictability. There's some amazing pappardelle with rabbit ragú, made with sage, red wine & parmesan, and even the pub burger uses mozzarella instead of cheddar. There's a sweet little conservatory too, which you don't see often.
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When you find a good gastropub that does it all, and does it all well, you want to hold on to that badboy. The Abbeville is a sweet spot - plenty of comfy seating inside, an actual open fire for toasting the old buns, some potent cocktails...it's all good. We were pleasantly surprised by the menu too - it was a slicker than a lot of other gastropubs we've been in. The sautéed forest mushrooms on toast with crispy egg and garlic sauce was lush, and they do a good range of pudding wines to polish things off. It's kid-friendly here too.
The Lady Ottoline
This Lady has seen something of a mid-00s-style teen-movie makeover. After a sudden closure, it was bought by Market Taverns and given a swish revamp before it reopened its doors in 2018. Downstairs it's all elegant dark wood, with a sweet little fireplace that people fight over in the winter. The bar serves some quality ales and a tidy selection of cocktails if you're feeling fancy. They're also well-known in the neighbourhood for their extensive gin collection, which they update frequently with different varieties from independent UK distilleries. Upstairs is the restaurant area, which features an upmarket menu of seasonal dishes that elevate pub grub to a more dignified affair. We had a creamy burrata to start, followed by a buttery pork belly and mash, and rounded off with a rich chocolate nemesis paired with burnt orange and vanilla ice cream. Overall, a very decent pub dinner - just watch out for that bill. Their two-course set lunch for £16 or three-course for £20 should go down a treat for worker bees in the area, and we have it on good authority that their Sunday lunch is a banger.
The Chesham Arms
The Chesham Arms is really all you could want from a pub - an open fire, a well curated selection of bevs, a nice little balcony, and a huge garden out back with wooden benches for the squares and hay bales for the more whimsical punters. The garden is a real afternoon sun trap, making the call of afterwork pints very hard to resist if you’re lucky/unlucky enough to have The Chesham lying in wait on your commute home. But, guilt aside, once you’ve plonked yourself on a hay bale, with one hand around a cold pint and the other patting some stranger's dog, you’ll start to think that going to the pub everyday isn’t so bad after all. And with Yard Sale Pizza a phone call away, there isn't actually a reason to ever leave. Ever.
The Swan in Chiswick is one of those pubs you wish was your local. A coal fireplace inside, a lush beer garden out the back, leather sofas for lounging, a welcoming dog policy...it all adds up to a pretty sweet place to take it easy AF. You've got your ales on tap, your gastropub classics like chops, risottos, and even special Tuscan sausages, and a good laid back atmosphere. Nothing too off the wall here, which is just fine with us.