This 19th-century pub, right at the southern tip of Hampstead Heath, has long been a popular spot with both walkers and locals thanks to its combination of welcoming service, rotating tap and cask ale selection, and a menu of hearty pub classics, including shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, sandwiches and Sunday roasts. It may be close to the heath but the pub also boasts a great big garden of its own too.
As well as having a spacious bar area The Freemasons Arms has a bright and airy dining room that sets it apart from your typical gastropub; it definitely feels more like a restaurant and a pretty smart one at that. The food is a mix of traditional pub fare – chicken and leek pie, fishcakes, chocolate brownies – and European dishes including pizzas and mezze sharing platters, and the broad drinks selection covers wine, craft beer and G&Ts.
The Spaniards Inn is one of the oldest pubs in London, having been frequented by the likes of Dickens and Keats. That traditional atmosphere has been retained with wood panelled panelled rooms, cosy nooks and crannies, roaring fires in the winter and a predominantly British menu. As well as plenty of cask ales and craft beer on the bar, they also have regular tap takeovers so there’s always an interesting new brew to try.
Over towards Golders Green and housed in a Grade-II listed building, The Old Bull & Bush, which gave its name to the Florrie Forde music hall song ‘Down at the old Bull and Bush’, is a contemporary and stylish pub, with plenty of plush seating an and a warm dining area. The menu covers everything from light bites to pizza to pub grub to Sunday roasts and is complemented by a ranging wine list, classic cocktails and an interesting beer selection.
A former Georgian townhouse converted into a pub, The Wells is a very popular spot with locals thanks to its welcoming nature, wide choice of drinks and seasonal yet comforting food, which borrows influence from Europe and Asia as well as classic pub fare – the likes of sticky barbecue shortrib with sweet chilli and bok choi, confit duck leg with turnip puree and vegetable dauphinoise and rhubarb and apple crumble all sit on the same menu. In addition to the outdoor terrace and spacious ground floor bar, there are three different dining rooms on the first floor in which to enjoy the food.