The Best Pubs Near Waterloo Station, London

Many great pubs are within walking distance of Waterloo Station in London
Many great pubs are within walking distance of Waterloo Station in London | © Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy Stock Photo
Nicholas Grantham

As the location of one of the busiest stations in the country, with more than 250,000 visitors each day, as well as the home of the Southbank Centre, Old Vic and National Theatre, Waterloo is a hub of quality pubs and bars. From quirky theatre pubs to one of the best boozers in London, we’ve put together some of the best watering holes for you to visit the next time you’re down Waterloo way.

1. Vaulty Towers

Bar, British

Brought to you by the multitalented team behind the Vaults (a performing arts space), Vaulty Towers is a character in itself. With walls covered by former props and costumes from some of the fascinating productions the theatre space has presented and with a selection of delicious drinks and food, it should be high on your list of Waterloo watering holes to try. Found on Lower Marsh, it’s perfect for a night of quirky cocktails and meeting eccentric new friends.

2. The Stage Door

Pub, British

The Stage Door Pub from Gray Street, Lambeth, London, England, UK.
© Simon Balson / Alamy Stock Photo

Garnering its title on account of the Old Vic’s actual stage door being just across the road, this friendly backstreet bar is a favourite among the actors, technicians and workers from the nearby theatre. Just a short walk round the corner from the famous playhouse, the pub has an excellent selection of food and drinks available. Outside the theatrics, it also has several screens perfect for catching any of the big games and a roof terrace offering a pleasant alternative for the summer months.

3. Hole in the Wall

Pub, Pub Grub

One of the more hidden gems on this list, the Hole in the Wall is a no-nonsense boozer. Underneath the arches, just a short walk from the station itself, sits this commuter classic, offering the usual beers, wines and pub food that we all know and love. With reasonable prices across the board and a cosy interior, you’ll find yourself coming back for repeat visits. Locals in the know will tell you that the secret beer garden in the back is one of the only places in Waterloo that you’re always guaranteed a seat.

4. The Waterloo Tap

Bar, Italian

Found nestled under one of Waterloo Bridge’s arches, this charming taphouse is dedicated to showcasing some of the best beers from around the world. With more than 20 locally and internationally brewed beers and cask ales, which change often, this is a beer enthusiast’s brewery dream. Try the Lichtenhainer Sour Smoked Ale for something different, or the Witching Hour IPA if you like your beer strong and flavourful. If you’re feeling slightly peckish between pints, the taproom also serves a variety of light snacks, such as warm, soft pretzels.

5. Lord Nelson

Pub, European

United Kingdom Great Britain England, London, Waterloo, Southwark, Lord Nelson, restaurant restaurants food dine dining eating out casual cafe cafes,
© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 12+ / Alamy Stock Photo
One of the quirkier recommendations on this list and just a short walk down Union Street, Lord Nelson offers guests eclectic food from its “Not Quite Normal” menu and some incredibly silly decor to go along with it. With huge portions served and burger choices including wild boar, lamb and veggie, this spot is one to visit with an empty stomach. The decor is part student union, part Alice in Wonderland, but it’s the friendly atmosphere that will keep bringing you back.

6. Bar Elba

Bar, Mediterranean

Frequently cited as one of the best rooftop bars in Central London, Bar Elba is an excellent spot to grab a quick cocktail or glass of wine before catching the train home. Decked out with fairy lights and festival furnishings, it’s a hit during the hot summer months. In addition to grabbing a drink, it also has a pop-up cinema, showing select films during specially programmed seasons.

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