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For hundreds of years, the neighbourhood pub has been a focal point for many of the different communities of London. The word “pub” even derives from the word “public”. The English also consume more beer than most of their western European neighbours. Pubs also range from high class establishments to local and leisurely hubs, so you will need to plan ahead to decide what to wear and when to go.
To quell the binge drinking culture, there is a law that says that pubs are supposed to close at 11 pm. While this law has changed and some places can get permits to stay open later, most still close around then. If you are out late, taking a taxi back to your hotel may be a better option as the Tube stops running after 12:30 am.
Many pubs are also putting a lot more effort into their food menu and are often as good for dinner as they are for a night out. Some places also allow children and will have a sign that says if they do. Like many other parts of Europe, smoking is becoming less and less common, and it is illegal to smoke in pubs.
Types of Beer
It’s common knowledge that it’s important to know what to drink and where to drink. Here are a few of the most common beer types that you will find in London. The first is the drink most commonly consumed by Londoners, known as a bitter. It is an amber colour and is usually very hoppy. The next and more picturesque of the beers is ale. These come in wooden barrels and are like a flat version of a lager. Most Americans will be the most familiar with lagers. These beers are often light and are carbonated. The most famous stout style beer is a Guinness. These are usually very dark, with a burnt flavour and a thick milk-like texture.
If you aren’t a beer drinker, fermented apple or fruit juice, known as cider, is a popular choice, and there are several different varieties. Most of the pubs also serve wines and cocktails.
A Few of Your Options
There are literally thousands of pubs in London. These range from high end places to themed joints to local spots where everyone knows each other by name and even pubs that have celebrated 100 birthdays or more. If you like to have a beer and soak in some history, the Mayflower is one stop to consider. This pub is more than 400 years old and has a history that can be traced back to the time of the Puritans. The Mayflower also has a back deck that looks out over the Thames River. To experience England as it was before and during World War II, check out the Palm Tree. This East End pub stands by itself because the buildings that were once beside it were bombed during the war.
One bar that prides itself most on its sense of community is the Earl Ferrers. This quaint Victorian feeling bar has events going on several nights a week, and there are often special concerts and other activities planned by both the bar and community that happen at the Earl Ferrers. They are also known for their extensive selection of beers. For those in need to be above it all, head to the Heights. This bar is fifteen stories up and is frequented by celebrities. The Dickens Bar may also be a necessary stop for the book worm of the group.