These are the most stylish pubs in London

the walmer castle best london pubs
The most stylish London pubsThe Walmer Castle

Nothing beats a good old fashioned boozer. Whether it is a languorous Sunday lunch with friends or a cosy candlelit dinner for two, nestled in a wood-panelled booth in the corner of a 19th-century watering hole, the pub is always a good idea.

But far from sticky floors, grubby carpets and blinking arcade games, the pub can be as stylish an option as any upscale bar. As the bank holiday weekend approaches, we round up five of the capital's chicest offerings for casual dining, romantic moments and family gatherings, from old favourites and historic institutions to the hottest new tables in town.

The Walmer Castle, Notting Hill

West London design studio Isabella Worsley reimagined this Notting Hill institution late last year, breathing some ineffable, understated glamour into an already well-regarded watering hole. Established in 1845, The Walmer Castle has undergone several reinventions (as well as brief celebrity ownership by a certain footballer) and has settled into its new era – under the stewardship of revered publican Jack Greenall – with unflappable charm and an easy sense of cool. The atmosphere is buzzy and warm and the interiors lean heavily on tradition, with a sprinkling of modern irreverence and a fair few iconic pieces of British art, by Yinka Shonibare and Cornelia Parker. The delicious menu is spearheaded by Luaan van der Watt and champions British seasonal produce; the chef works closely with cult butchers The Ginger Pig and seafood suppliers Flying Fish. A dreamier pub date one could not imagine.

The Walmer Castle, 58 Ledbury Rd, London W11 2AJ

a room with a fireplace and tables
The Walmer Castle

The Holly Bush, Hampstead

Quite possibly the cosiest pub in London, what The Holly Bush lacks in size it makes up for in charm. The place is brimming with history, having operated since the 18th century, and it wears its history on its sleeve, with quirky crooked stairs, low ceilings and improbable layouts, walls plastered with oil paintings and a roaring fire crackling in the background during the winter months. The menu is a classy but simple take on pub classics, and the upstairs dining room feels airy and elegant, while the ground floor is firmly a warm hug in pub form.

The Holly Bush, 22 Holly Mount, London NW3 6SG

the holly bush pub
The Holly Bush

The Devonshire, Soho

Who knew a pub could attract so much buzz? Since the grand reimagining of this Soho landmark in 2023, The Devonshire has become one of the hottest tables in town. Practically fully booked for weeks in advance, it is a testament to the venue's new ownership: Charlie Carroll, the mastermind behind the Flat Iron restaurant business, Ashley Palmer-Watts (a Heston Blumenthal protégé) and one of London's most well regarded publicans, Oisín Rogers. They have shrewdly returned a sense of old-school grandeur to the place, as well as a revitalised menu of Great British classics (with a heavy emphasis on meat) done exceptionally well. Head here for the very definition of an upmarket night out at the pub.

The Devonshire, 17 Denman St, London W1D 7HW

the devonshire pub soho
The Devonshire

The Harwood Arms, Fulham

Frequently lauded as the best Sunday roast in all of London, The Harwood Arms is the ideal choice for the aforementioned weekend treat. The hype is to be believed – they are the only pub in the capital to hold a Michelin star, after all – and the menu has been imaginatively deployed by head chef Josh Cutress, with a heavy emphasis on game. An elevated elegance pervades the décor and the crowd is always lively. The perfect Sunday afternoon.

The Harwood Arms, Walham Grove, London SW6 1QJ

the harwood arms
The Harwood Arms

The Prince Arthur, London Fields

This East-London neighbourhood pub is bursting with character. The convivial spirit matches the relaxed-yet-cool trappings and the menu is an inventive blend of modern European and traditional pub fare; roasted tomato risotto and pan-fried veal sweetbreads alike served on prettily-patterned plates accompanied by lashings of expertly-poured Guinness. The interiors are a refined take on the classic pub, with pared-back wooden floors, Victorian oil paintings, marble fireplaces and comfy leather armchairs you can melt into on one of The Prince Arthur's live jazz evenings.

The Prince Arthur, 95 Forest Rd, London E8 3BH

the prince arthur
Giles Smith

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