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De Hems

De Hems is a great Dutch Pub in Soho, selling a huge range of beers, including Strawberry Beer on Tap. The building is old and characteristic, upstairs has sofa chairs and tables. It gets pretty busy so arrive early for a seat.
The staff are very friendly, talkative, and will happily make drink suggestions. They also do cocktails!

However with the huge range of beers on offer you may need to check which ones are vegan, and bar staff may not know this. Luckily Dutch (and German) beers are more commonly vegan than those of other countries.

Walk from Leicester Square Station, just off Shaftesbury Avenue and Chinatown.

Mon – Thurs – 10:00 ~ 00:00
Fri – Sat – 10:00 ~ 00:30
Sun – 10:00 ~ 11:00

Shaftesbury Avenue, London - De Hems - Macclesfield Street

The Old Queen’s Head

The Old Queen’s Head in Islington always draws a lively crowd. The Ground floor has plenty of seating, a fireplace, and a nice long bar. Upstairs there is a dance floor and usually either a DJ or live band performing.

I wouldn’t plan on eating here, but it’s a good, fun pub and always something happening.

Walk from Angel Tube Station or get a bus along Upper Street or Essex Road.

Sun – Wed – 12:00 ~ 00:00
Thurs – 12:00 ~ 01:00
Fri – Sat – 12:00 ~ 02:00

Old Queen's Head, Islington, N1

Waxy O’Connor’s

Waxy O’Connor’s is a great Irish Pub right in the center of London, just near Leicester Square. It’s a pretty big pub with 4 different bars and 6 levels, connected by a maze of staircases and passages. The interior is all wood with a large tree being the focus of the design.

It has a great atmosphere and gets quite busy, sometimes with live Irish music or showing football matches. It’s not cheap compared to nearby pubs, but the vibe and design make it worthwhile. Go early to avoid long queues and get a table.

The main entrance is on Rupert Street, but there is a smaller entrance/exit on Wardour Street too. Walk from Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square Station.

Mon – Wed – 12:00 ~ 23:00
Thurs – 12:00 ~ 23:30
Fri – Sat – 12:00 ~ 00:00
Sun – 12:00 ~ 22:30

Waxy O'Connor's

All Bar One, London

All Bar One is like a smartly dressed pub. This English chain offers a range of foreign beers & ciders, cocktails, coffee, tea, juice etc. in a relaxed atmosphere with stylish decor and at good prices. They have a changing menu that always has a few vegetarian options, and occasionally some vegan ones. Its nicer than a pub, but more casual (and cheaper) than a typical bar.

I quite like this chain and the branch at Leicester Square has outdoor seating (not great at the moment with the park under construction, but when that’s finished it will be!).

Many more branches can be found here.

Leicester Square – Walk from Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus Station
Mon – Thurs – 10:00 ~ 23:30
Fri – Sat – 10:00 ~ 00:00
Sun – 12:00 ~ 22:30

New Oxford Street – Walk from Tottenham Court Road
Mon – Wed – 10:00 ~ 23:00
Thurs – 10:00 ~ 00:00
Fri – Sat – 10:00 ~ 01:00
Sun – 12:00 ~ 22:30

London Bridge, Walk from London Bridge Station
Mon – Wed – 09:00 ~ 23:00
Thurs – Fri – 09:00 ~ 00:00
Sat – 10:00 ~ 00:00
Sun – 11:00 ~ 22:00

Wetherspoons, London

There are over 800 J.D. Wetherspoon Pubs across the Uk, with around 100 in London alone! While some branches are actually named & labeled as “Wetherspoons”, the majority of its pubs have individual names, with J.D. Wetherspoons as a sub name under the sign. They are the cheapest pub chain in the UK, with cask ale, pub grub, long opening hours and no music. They even have some vegan options on their menu, which you can see by selecting your dietary requirements here.

Many branches are huge, and with no music, the atmosphere is a bit different to most pubs, but some branches do show live sports, and it means you can actually have a conversation without screaming. Despite the low prices, many branches are quite modern and stylish. I can’t say the same for the clientele though.

The main reason to go to a Wetherspoons? It’s Cheap.

There are far too many branches to put on this map, so search for the closest one to you here.

Walkabout, London

The Walkabout is a chain of Australian-themed pubs throughout the UK, with 3 branches in London. They’re cheap, loud, a little dirty, with lots of Aussie beers & paraphernalia, and full of Australian and Kiwi backpackers. Some people won’t go near them, but the truth is, they’re fun. Maybe a little rowdy at times, but there’s always something going on, whether its Live Sports on one of the many TVs and Big screen, Live Music, or a Dj.

Events and holidays like Australia Day (Jan 26), St Patrick’s Day (March 17) and Xmas, NYE and all major sporting events are huge days here, especially at the Shepherds’ Bush branch which is one of the largest, and located in an area popular for Australians living in London.

So if you want to catch some sport, have a bit of fun, a cheap drink, or meet some Australians, head to a Walkie. If you don’t like noise, sticky floors, Australians, the smell of beer, or drunk backpackers, you’d best avoid.

Other UK Branches here.

Ostraya Day 2008