The Bull & Last, Highgate
Joe Swiers and Ollie Pudney took over the Bull & Last in Highgate in the noughties but the building has been an inn for over three centuries – there’s even a book dedicated to it – so it’s no surprise its popular with fiercely loyal locals. There’s an extensive range of European wines to choose from, as well as beers from British breweries and low and no-alcohol options. The menu changes daily but you can expect elevated tasty bar snacks and pub classics. It also has one of the best dessert menus on this list – think warm puddings with ice-cream, homemade sorbet and peanut butter brownies with Ferrero Rocher.
168 Highgate Road, Highgate, NW5 1QS
The Draper’s Arms, Islington
This is where some of London’s best chefs visit for Sunday roasts with a glass of red. Headed up by Nick Gibson, the award-winning pub is housed in a powder-blue Georgian building, with a bright green bar that houses different beers every month. Upstairs, there’s an elegant dining room where diners can enjoy gastropub dishes made from seasonal ingredients, like pumpkin risotto with sage and hazelnuts; beef bourguignon pie; rabbit leg with carrots, turnips, and chervil; and pear frangipane served with crème fraiche.
44 Barnsbury Street, Islington, N1 1ER
Regular readers will know several members of the team love this pub. This Islington dining room still has its original wood panelling and a bar lined with dimpled glass tankards. Owned by the Noble Inns group (also behind The Pig & Butcher and The Princess of Shoreditch), it champions small, British suppliers and breweries – which explains why there are 20 London beers on tap. With a focus on wood-fired cooking and smoked meats, diners can choose from the à la carte menu and one of the best Sunday roasts in London, complete with roast potatoes, seasonal veg, gravy and Yorkshire pudding.
63-69 Canonbury Road, Islington, N1 2DG
Holly Bush, Hampstead
Just a few minutes from the top of Hampstead Heath, Holly Bush is surrounded by period properties and scenic walking routes. Set in a Grade II-listed building, there’s a warm glow around the bar, with passageways leading through to seating areas and a roaring fire during the winter. The pub has local beers and ales on tap, as well as an extensive collection of wine from its cellar. Food-wise, expect hearty pub classics, as well as a Sunday lunch menu and warming desserts like sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream.
22 Holly Mount, Hampstead, NW3 6SG
Cat & Mutton, London Fields
Heading to Broadway Market on a Sunday is always a good idea. The Cat & Mutton is its buzzy pub with a great selection of beers from London breweries and low-intervention wines. Sundays are a cosy affair, with hearty portions of roast chicken, pork, beef or mushroom wellington, served with roast potatoes, charred cabbage, maple roasted carrots and parsnips, celeriac purée, Yorkshire puddings and red wine gravy – washed down with a bloody mary or two. On Friday and Saturday nights, local DJs take to the decks, and there are regular themed quizzes throughout the year.
76 Broadway Market, London Fields, E8 4QJ
The Princess of Shoreditch
The sister pub to Smokehouse in Islington, the Princess of Shoreditch is an award-winning site tucked away on Paul Street near Old Street station. Serving elevated classics in its cosy dining room, it’s the ideal spot for a date or Sunday lunch. Michelin-starred chef Simon Bonwick recently took over the kitchen, so there’s a focus on British produce with a regularly changing menu. Highlights include smoked pork rillette with celeriac remoulade and crispy pork skin; slow roast rump of lamb with garlic and thyme; and peanut butter mousse with banana and coffee.
76-78 Paul Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4NE
Well & Bucket, Shoreditch
Another great East End boozer, the Well & Bucket on Brick Lane has drawn a loyal following thanks to its selection of craft beers and premium spirits. The staff are friendly and happy to make your favourite cocktail behind the bar – whether that’s a spicy margarita or something a little different. Grab a table outside or in the main dining room for food and drink, or venture downstairs into the basement bar for classic cocktails and live music. The Sunday roast is also worth trying – don’t forget to ask for an extra boat of gravy.
Canton Arms, Stockwell
This pub in Stockwell has a wonderfully cosy atmosphere with dark wood panelling, mismatched old furniture and tasty bar snacks like warm sausage rolls and pork scratchings. Get to the pub before 3.45pm on a Sunday if you want something from the roast menu, which includes beef, pork and veggie wellingtons with all the trimmings – and a huge, fluffy Yorkshire pudding. There’s also an excellent wine list, with over 75 bottles to choose from, plus classic cocktails and non-alcoholic alternatives.
177 South Lambeth Road, Stockwell, SW8 1XP
The Saxon, Clapham
The Saxon opened its doors last year. The latest venture from the East London Pub Company underwent a major refurbishment and now serves a large selection of cocktails and small plates. Set over four floors with multiple private rooms for drinking and dining, dishes on offer include burrata with tomato, lemon oil, coriander seeds and toast; courgette cakes with lime and turmeric dip; and chicken wings with hot sauce and blue cheese dip. There’s also a brunch menu to complement its cocktail menu – which features the likes of ‘The Clapham Fizz’ (marmalade vodka, raspberry and prosecco) and ‘The Saxorinha’ (tequila, Aperol, pink grapefruit, egg white, lemon, cassis and bitters) – as well as regular DJ nights and Sunday roasts.
50 Clapham High Street, Clapham, SW4 7UL
Trinity Arms, Brixton
Just a five-minute walk from Brixton station, Trinity Arms has a buzzy atmosphere during weekends, but it’s also a lovely spot for post-work drinks. The beer garden is open year-round with outdoor heaters and a fire pit, while the main dining room on the ground floor surrounds a mahogany bar. There’s also a quieter dining room upstairs which can be hired for private events. Diners can choose from sharing plates and pub classics, plus a great Sunday lunch consisting of roast beef-rump, pork belly, chicken, or butternut squash and chestnut mushroom wellington, with goose-fat roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, celeriac purée, crushed parsnips, carrots, buttered savoy cabbage and gravy.
45 Trinity Gardens, Brixton, SW9 8DR
The Anchor & Hope, Waterloo
This is the sister pub to the Canton Arms, where several of London’s top chefs trained before getting a Michelin star. A proper boozer with a chalkboard menu, this gastropub serves comfort food like hot smoked eel with celeriac and mustard; chopped veal shin with crushed Cornish new potatoes and spring onions; sheep’s ricotta and broad beans on toast with chilli and mint; and cherry and almond tart with Jersey cream. An impressive wine list complements its selection of local ales. It’s also the perfect spot for a long Sunday lunch – we recommend the seven-hour lamb shoulder served with tomatoes, fennel seeds and gratin dauphinois, to be shared between three.
36 The Cut, Waterloo, SE1 8LP
The Princess Royal, Notting Hill
Cubitt House – the group behind The Grazing Goat in Marylebone and The Builders Arms in Chelsea, to name a few – opened a site in Notting Hill earlier this year. The Princess Royal comprises a spacious restaurant and horseshoe bar, two private dining rooms and four individually designed bedrooms. Georgie Pearman is behind the interior design which pays homage to the pub's Victorian heritage, and many of the original features have been kept intact, including the Victorian doors and stained-glass panels in the main restaurant. Downstairs, chef Ben Tish has put his signature Mediterranean stamp on pub classics with dishes like red prawn crudo with rosemary and orange; beef tartare with pine nuts, mint and dried chilli; monkfish with borlotti beans, chilli and salsa verde; and lemon and olive oil cake served with whipped mascarpone.
47 Hereford Road, Notting Hill, W2 5AH
The Fox & Pheasant, Chelsea
A ‘little country pub’ tucked away in a small corner of Chelsea, the Fox & Pheasant was originally the Bedford Arms in 1846. After a huge restoration a few years ago, it’s now a snug pub with three fireplaces and plenty of armchairs for Sunday lounging. Tasty bar snacks include truffle, mushroom and brie toasties and buttermilk-fried rabbit with mustard mayo, while the à la carte menu includes the likes of Cornish crab with cured salmon, avocado and seaweed cracker, followed by duck breast and sausage with spiced carrots and spring greens. All of this is available on a Sunday, alongside three weekly changing roasts. A darts board and unlimited biscuits for dogs complete the country feel.
1 Billing Road, Chelsea, SW10 9UJ
The Harwood Arms, Fulham
As London’s only Michelin-starred pub, the Harwood Arms is an institution. Chef Jake Leach heads up the kitchen, which focuses on the best of British produce; the gastro menu changes regularly with the seasons, but right now you can expect plenty of game and foraged food. The daily menu includes Cornish cod with roasted cauliflower and brown crab butter, and pork with carrots, marmalade and mushrooms, but the Sunday menu is the star of the show, with slow-cooked deer shoulder, beef sirloin, pork or cod served with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, baked carrots, cauliflower cheese and greens. Three courses are a very reasonable £65, so save room for lemon thyme panna cotta or burnt cream with shortbread and honey for dessert.
Walham Grove, Fulham, SW6 1QP
The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea
We’re big fans of the Cadogan Arms, which reopened last year after an extensive renovation. Inside, there’s a spacious mahogany bar in front of stained-glass panels that house a vast selection of spirits, cask beers and European wines, as well as plenty of plush seating – whether you want to eat in the main dining hall or sit on leather stools at the bar. Diners can enjoy elevated pub classics like beef and Guinness pie, beer-battered fish and triple cooked chips, mussels with cider and crusty bread, and sticky toffee pudding. The pub runs regular events and quizzes, and there’s a separate room downstairs for live sports.
298 King's Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UG
The Royal Oak, Marylebone
Diners at the Royal Oak can order bar snacks like homemade scotch eggs and sausage rolls with truffle mayo, before tucking into classic pub dishes from the à la carte menu, including beer-battered fish and chips and steak with béarnaise sauce. Locals flock to the main dining room for Sunday lunch, which includes the option of roast chicken, beef rump or cauliflower steak, all served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, carrots, seasonal greens and gravy. The menu changes seasonally, but the current dessert is a crowd-pleasing apple and pear crumble with vanilla ice-cream.
74-76 York Street, Marylebone, W1H 1QN
The George, Fitzrovia
After a five-year closure, the George in Fitzrovia re-opened last year following a takeover by publican Dominic Jacobs and restaurant group JKS (the team behind Bao, Gymkhana and Lyle’s). The extensive renovation pays homage to its history (think dark wood panels and a mirrored bar) while it serves inventive cocktails and modern interpretations of classic pub grub. Earlier this year, it opened a new restaurant by James Knappett (of Michelin-starred Kitchen Table) upstairs, alongside a dedicated English sparkling wine bar and private room for 20.
55 Great Portland Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 7LQ
The Black Horse, Fitzrovia
The Black Horse dates back more than 200 years, but it had a slick update at the beginning of the year. Upstairs is now a speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar, while downstairs remains a traditional pub with craft beers on tap and an excellent selection of inventive drinks. We like the sound of the new ‘Apple Pie’ cocktail made with Appleton Estate rum, spiced apples and golden syrup – perfect for cosy autumn nights. A kitchen is currently in the works, but if its bar snacks are an indicator of what’s to come, there’s plenty to be excited about.
6 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1HL
The French House, Soho
This legendary institution has been serving locals and those in the know for over 100 years. They might be territorial over the best seats in the house, but you can secure a spot by booking a table at the restaurant upstairs, headed up by chef Neil Borthwick (Angela Hartnett’s husband). Menu highlights include chicken liver parfait with pickled onions and sourdough; skate with brown butter and capers; and dark chocolate mousse. Just bear in mind there’s a no phones policy.