For the most part, people enroute to London have their thoughts consumed with seeing the sights, such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and the like. Then there are those who love nothing more than a great pint of beer in a cozy little pub. Those folks are spoiled for choice when they hit the streets of the English capital as there is virtually a pub on every corner. Many of those places are similar in style and while great to hang out in, they don’t really offer anything that original to the bar world. What you really want is a place that serves great beer, but which also offers something a little outside the ordinary. Here are 5 that do just that:
1. The Betsy Smith
If you are looking for a place whose décor is antique shop meets fairground, then Betsy Smith is the bar for you. The whole interior of the place is a mishmash of old furniture. But they have stellar food and cocktails, not to mention a DJ and a pretty snazzy dancing space.
2. Callooh Callay
As you may have already guessed by the rather odd sounding name, Callooh Callay is no ordinary British pub. Sure they have the regular bar and lounge set up that is common to most pubs in the UK, but the décor is extremely different, especially the rather oversized wardrobe that sits in the corner. Open the door to that wooden monstrosity and you are taken to the secret Juj-jub members only lounge.
Set in a Shoreditch basement, the Ninetyeight bar and lounge looks more like the interior of your crazy aunt’s house than it does a pub. Garish sofas and kitschy decorations are everywhere, but it’s definitely the place to be for those that love a delicious mixed cocktail (or ten.) It’s also the place to go if you love art and live music as they offer a liberal sprinkling of both.
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4. Half & Half
Ordering a half and a half at Half & Half will get you a half pint of beer and a shot of whisky at this pub. This fixture in Croydon has a great collection of both, with imported beers being the order of the day. It’s a cozy little place with a fantastically intimate downstairs bar.
5. Worship Street Whistling Shop
If you are looking for an alcohol related trip back in time then you need to visit the Worship Street Whistling Shop. The bar is set in an alley with almost zero signage to let you know where it is. That’s not bad advertising, but rather a hint at what lies inside — a speakeasy style bar and lounge that creates cocktails faithful to the period setting. You also have to check out the windowed laboratory in the rear where those cunning cocktails are concocted. This is a trip back in time that is definitely worth taking.