The Southampton Arms
Every aspect of this pub feels like a direct push-back against the corporate, chain, soulless, Fosters-serving, beer-and-burger-deal-having, laminated-menu megapub fuckery that has no doubt taken over your old local. These guys are serving strictly real ales and ciders from independent suppliers (they do wine and spirit-mixers but they look at you funny when you order them); they only take cash; and for food they have a small range of tasty pies, scotch eggs, and pork belly sandwiches served with a crusty-as-all-hell roll and punchy piccalilli. Now, before you start scoffing and muttering ‘hipster’ you should know that this is maybe the least pretentious pub we've been to. It’s mostly just old ale enthusiasts chilling the fuck out on repurposed church furniture - or in the teeny back garden - and basking in their love of all things curmudgeonly.
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The Junction is a fine example of what Britain does best - make pubs. They’ve got the whole ‘Victorian dining room’ look going on with dark wood panelling and dark red walls, plus the beer garden out back is great for some al fresco bevving. In recent times, the menu has been given a much welcomed facelift by the head chef behind Vinoteca in Kings Cross. Where the food used to be pretty lacklustre, you can now get your mits on seasonal and delicious British fare - we'd like to give a big shout out to that Sunday roast. They also make a mean Bloody Mary.
The Mall Tavern
Serving up seasonal pub grub in a cheery, modern setting, The Mall Tavern is a classic boozer updated for the modern, food-conscious Londoner. If you're looking for a week-night feast, the braised lamb shank with roast chestnut salsa verde is a real winner, while the "classic" pub menu – burgers, pies and fish 'n' chips – features home-cooked, high-quality favourites. With a range of craft ales on tap, it's as good for post-work drinks in the beer garden as it is for a cosy dinner inside with friends.
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.
Monograph London is a pop up supper club which is taking the concept of experiential dining one step further. They'll be offering their specialised dining experiences over four Friday evenings for the next month, where patrons will be given coordinates for a secret location, prepared a three-course dinner, and encouraged to mingle amongst themselves in the communal dining space, which promises to evoke the sights and sounds of Tokyo. On the menu are simple, fresh ingredients expertly prepared: a watercress salad with sesame dressing to start, followed by Sanuki udon in an umami-rich dashi broth served with Scottish smoked mackerel and mixed seaweeds, then 24-hour marinated Scottish salmon in a white miso sauce, and Japanese sweets selection for dessert. The event is BYOB, or you can opt in to the sake flight option for an extra £19. Dietary restrictions can be catered to, just give advance notice.