The Best Bars and Pubs in Mile End and Bow, London

Georgina Wilson-Powell

In the midst of East London’s evolving landscape, where beards and craft beers dominate, Mile End and Bow proudly stand as bastions of Cockney tradition. These neighborhoods exude an authentic London spirit, where the echoes of history resonate through the cobblestone streets and the local boozers are a haven for genuine camaraderie. Unlike much of the city, Mile End and Bow have retained their distinct old-world charm, embracing their Victorian heritage and welcoming you to experience a slice of authentic London life.

Victorian-style pubs are the heartbeat of these neighborhoods, their timeless allure weathering even the storm of the Blitz. Step into a world where the local boozer isn’t just a place to grab a drink, but a portal to the past, where stories of generations past intermingle with the laughter of today. Among these traditional gems, a surprising number have seamlessly melded their historic ambiance with contemporary tastes, catering to a more diverse crowd. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Morgan Arms

One of Bow’s most famed pubs, the Morgan Arms goes above and beyond when it comes to booze. There’s organic and natural wines, five local draughts on tap and a range of American and British bottled beers. Food-wise, it’s a mix of East End classics given a modern twist (Baked Devon crab with scrumpy fired oysters and fennel mayonnaise) and proper bar snacks like homemade Scotch eggs.

Lord Tredegar

This sprawling pub in Mile End is split into a cosy, coal fired bar, a more formal dining room and a lovely large beer garden. A traditional beer spot, the pub does a fine roast on a Sunday and locals love the fish n’ chips on other nights.

The Victoria

A new addition to the area, The Victoria is a hipper take on the traditional East End boozer, throwing decks where anyone can play records and a coffee bar into the mix. There’s also a lovely courtyard outback (complete with fountain), a caravan turned into a kids’ playhouse and the staff are on the ball and friendly to boot. A fab place for a weekend afternoon session.

The Palm Tree

If you’re looking to step back in time go no further than the Palm Tree – the sole survivor on a street bombed during the Blitz. And little has changed post-war, the bar is split into two rooms (one seems to be more popular with regulars) both are bathed in weird red light and there’s jazz on regularly. It does have a canal-side terrace for the summer, or you can sit in the park and listen to the music.

The Bow Bells

The Bow Bells prides itself on being the heart of its community, it offers up stone baked pizza (often in deals with pints) and there’s a pub quiz which is always well attended. It screens the footie and there’s a load of local ales on tap.

The Coborn

A Young’s pub, this East End diamond sits halfway between Mile End and Bow and has seen it all change over the last 100 years. The décor’s improved for sure, though; this feels more like a country local than a gritty urban pub. Nowadays, you can pop in for a superior bar snack menu (lobster Mac and cheese, hell yes), Ploughmans, and top notch burgers.

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