London is known for its diverse culture and historical gems, both of which can be experienced at the city’s oldest pubs. While every major city has its landmark drinking holes, London’s are legitimately some of the oldest in the world – some of which are so old the names can barely be considered English. What better place to enjoy a brew than with the ghosts of Anglo-Saxons past?
If you’re in search of bangers and mash to complement a cold pint of Smithwicks, join the crowds of tourists and locals at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a London favorite since the 16th-century. Literary greats like Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were both regulars at this rustic bar, which is reason enough to check out the twisting narrow hallways before taking a seat – you might just find the inspiration for your own Sherlock Holmes stories.
The Hawley Arms is an historic gem dating back to the early 1900s that has survived several facelifts over the years, including one after the fire of 2008 that almost completely wiped out this Camden pub. The crowd here is hip and shares a common love for rock and roll, a theme reflected in the collage of LP sleeves that line the stairway and a jukebox that keeps electric guitar hits blasting through the night. Despite a strong hipster influence, The Hawley Arms has retained all of its turn-of-the-century charm.
It’s rare to find a bar with a homey neighborhood vibe and a dance club flair, but The White Horse has managed to have heaps of both. Lean wooden furniture and bare brick walls share space with vibrant DJs spinning hip-hop and funk for university students and Clapham pub crawlers who are looking to get down. On Sundays, The White Horse becomes a breakfast spot complete with live jazz that could charm even the most hungover of visitors.
The Wenlock Arms is one of the most authentically charming pubs in London. Built in 1836, this historic watering hole is the kind of place where award-winning cask ales flow freely to a colorful group of regulars. A carved mahogany bar welcomes those who crave generous glasses of small-production brews and some gregarious banter or a bawdy joke. The classic British atmosphere is spiced up with Quiz Nights on Thursdays where drinkers can win free pitchers of beer and cash prizes, as well as live jazz and blues on Fridays and Saturdays.
Daniel Hogan is a writer at Party Earth – a global media and entertainment company that publishes reviews and listings of the best social experiences around the world including: bars in Paris, pubs in London, beaches in Ibiza, plazas in Rome, parks in New York, festivals and concerts everywhere, and more.