The Rookery

Stylish and modern, its exposed brickwork and tiles paying tribute to New York’s Lower East Side watering holes,  The Rookery serves craft beers from around the world, with tasty gastro snacks to soak them up.

If you’re drinking with someone who’s not tempted by the range of beers, try the excellent cocktail list.

Mon-Thurs 5.30pm-11pm, Fri 3pm-12am
Sat 12.30pm-12.30am, Sun 12.30pm-10.30pm, £4
69 Clapham Common
South Side, SW4 9DA
Tube | Clapham Common


The Brewhouse

This pop-up bar, courtesy of the London Fields Brewery, deserves a mention not just because of the company’s excellent regular and seasonal beers, but also the host of quirky events taking place at the venue.

Under the railway arches by London Fields, The Brewhouse often features live bands, market stalls and local food. Current foodie collaborations include Tomscoopery ice cream, which uses London Fields beer in its desserts.

Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 10am-6pm, £4
37 Helmsley Place, E8 3SB
Station | Hackney Central

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Duke’s Brew & Que

A wave of American-inspired food and drink joints are sweeping London, and Duke’s Brew and Que, with its mean line in BBQ ribs, is a great example. But the pub is primarily about the beer.

You’ll find several cask ales on offer, including offerings by Beavertown, Duke’s on-site brewery founded by one-time Sons of Albion singer Logan Plant (Led Zep frontman Robert Plant’s son).

Mon-Weds 4pm-11pm, Thurs 4pm-11.30pm, Fri 4pm-12am,
Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-11pm, £4+
Duke’s Brew & Que, 33 Downham Road, N1 5AA
Tube | Haggerston; Dalston Junction


Euston Tap

No mass-produced beers are allowed to darken the door of this establishment, which has a rotating choice of keg, cask and bottled, housed in an 1870s gatehouse.

Mon-Sun 12pm-11pm, £3+
190 Euston Rd, NW1 2EF
Tube | Euston; King’s Cross


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Powder Keg Diplomacy

Colonial-themed and sporting potted plants, gilt mirrors and a conservatory, Powder Keg puts traditional British brewing at the centre of its beer list but isn’t shy of adventuring into lesser-known microbreweries.

Mon-Fri 4pm-12am,
Sat-Sun 10am-12am, £4+
147 St John’s Hill, SW11 1TQ
Tube | Clapham Junction


The Rake

The Utobeer crew opened this pub in 2006, on the site of an old greasy spoon, as another outlet for their mainly imported brews (they still have their original stand at Borough Market, too).

Mon-Fri 12pm-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 12pm-8pm
14a Winchester Walk, SE1 9AG, £4+
Tube |  London Bridge; Borough

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Dean Swift

This classy, industrial chic boozer promises to stock a beer – be it bottled, cask or keg – to suit every taste. Local brewers are favoured. There’s also good pub grub and sporting events on big screens.

Sun-Thurs 12-12,
Fri-Sat 12pm-1am, £4
10 Gainsford Street, Shad Thames SE1 2NE
Tube | London Bridge; Bermondsey


Mason & Taylor

Soak up your craft beer or cask ale with an impressive selection of seasonal small-plate food.

If you can’t decide what to drink, order a taster flight and try six of the 12 brews on tap, choosing, if you’re brave, from the ‘Oddities’ section of the menu. The ground floor has a distinctly industrial vibe. Head down to the basement bar for some late-night drinking.

Mon-Thurs 5pm-12am, Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 12pm-1am
Sun 12-12, basement bar: Fri, Sat until 2am

51-55 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA, £4+
Tube | Shoreditch High St



Craft Beer Company

A mind-boggling selection of craft beer from all over the world awaits you in this friendly, unpretentious bar. Don’t lose your nerve at the dizzying array (16 cask ales, 300 bottled beers) – staff are primed to steer you to safety.

If you get really excited by the beer, join the pub’s Homebrew Club and learn to make your own. The Craft Beer Company’s new Brixton venue opens at the end of the month.

Mon-Fri 12pm-11pm, Sat 11-11, Sun 12pm-10.30pm
82 Leather Lane, EC1N 7TR
Tube | Barbican


The Jolly Butchers

Friendly local The Jolly Butchers has an ever-changing selection of real ales from breweries all over Britain, with a special focus on small outfits from London and the South East.

As far as ale-loving patrons are concerned, this stylish but simple Stokie pub is a hidden gem that’s definitely worth exploring.

Mon-Thurs 3pm-12am, Fri
4pm-1am, Sat 12pm-1am,
Sun 12pm-11pm, £4+
204 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7HU
Station | Stoke Newington

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The North Pole

This newcomer on the block boasts 10 handpumps of real ale and cider, plus bottles and kegs from as nearby as Hackney and as far away as Mexico.

Vegetarians should stay at home on Thursdays, which is The North Pole’s Carnivore Club night, during which punters are encouraged to match their ale to steaks, burgers or ribs.

This pub is throwing itself into National Cask Ale week with an ‘ale sale’, dedicated brews, quizzes and talks.

Mon-Thurs 11am-11pm, Fri, Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-10.30pm
188-190 New North Rd, N1 7BJ, £3+
Tube | Angel; Highbury & Islington



You realise how recently the craft beer trend has swept London when informed that Cask, which opened in 2009, was one of the trailblazers. As such, Cask takes its amber nectar seriously.

Beers are imported from Europe, the US and beyond, but there’s a vast collection of small-batch, hand-crafted beers from the UK. Brewers are regularly invited to hold talks about their craft.

Mon-Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-10.30pm
6 Charlwood Street, SW1V 2EE, £4+
Tube | Victoria

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The Bree Louise

The world’s biggest selection of London-brewed real ales, apparently, and they’ve also won awards for their pies. No poncey bar snacks here, just a serious appreciation for ale.

Mon-Sat 11.30am-late,
Sun 12pm-10.30pm, £4
69 Cobourg Street, NW1 2HH
Tube | Euston


The Market Porter

With nine real ales on constant rotation, this venue was also used as the ‘third-hand book emporium’ in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban. Early birds: it opens at 6am on weekdays.

Mon-Fri 6am-8.30am, 11am-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm,
Sun 12pm-10.30pm
9 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA
Tube | London Bridge


Carpenter’s Arms

This pub was once owned by Reggie and Ronnie Kray. These days, the one-time gangsters’ den is frequented by hipsters rather than hitmen, and serves an imaginative range of ales. The vibe is really welcoming, too.

Mon-Weds 4pm-10.30pm, Thurs, Sun 12pm-11.30pm, Fri, Sat
12pm-1.30am, £3+
73 Cheshire Street, E2 6EG
Station | Shoreditch High St


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The White Horse

Serious ale-loving goes on in this Victorian pub which hosts regular beer festivals (the next one is the Old Ale Festival in November).

Sun-Weds 9.30am-11.30pm, Thurs-Sat 9.30am-12am
1-3 Parsons Green, SW6 4UL, £3+
Tube | Parsons Green


The Florence

If you don’t like dogs or kids, this isn’t the one for you. There is an adults-only bar, but The Florence knows where the Herne Hill money is and has a kids’ play area and a ‘mum’s loyalty card’ scheme.

If, however, you’re down with yummy mummys, it’s
a beautiful bar, opposite Brockwell Park, and has the added kudos of brewing its own real ale on-site.

Mon-Thurs 11.30am-12am,
Fri 11.30am-1am, Sat 11am-1am,
Sun 11.30am-12am, £4+
131-133 Dulwich Rd, SE24 0NG
Station | Herne Hill


The Bear

This former Victorian gin palace has been restored to its former glory, but these days the emphasis is on cask ale and gastro grub.

Since opening six years ago, The Bear has hosted no less than 500 real ales which come from small breweries across the UK.

If it takes more than an unusual beer to lure you out, The Bear’s entertainment programme may help: quizzes, swing dancing and art exhibitions are on offer.

Mon-Thurs 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 12-12, Sun 12-11pm, £4+
296a Camberwell New Road, SE5 0RP 
Tube | Oval; Kennington


Read more: Get on the ale trail when cask ale week rolls into town, Sept 28-Oct 7

Photos: Helen Cathcart, Richard Fairclough Phtography