Kiss the soggy onion rings and stale steak clubs goodbye. Pub grub looks set to become a thing of the past as old school watering holes ditch conventional English slop and stained carpets in favour of top notch nosh and quirky interiors.
If you’re a traditional pub fan with a palette for sophisticated food then now is the time to wine and dine. Gastropubs are the biggest things to happen to British food and drink in the last few years and the phenomenon shows no sign of abating.
So in keeping with this current trend and in preparation for the winter months ahead, I have put together a list of some of the West End’s most noteworthy gastro haunts.
63 Lambs Conduit Street, Bloomsbury WC1N 3NB
Tel: 0871 3323 028
A cool crowd munch on good-value tapas downstairs and hearty starters in the intimate dining room upstairs. There is an extensive wine and beer list catering to predominately thirty-something media types, and trendy interiors of dark wooden floors, solid pub furniture and post-ironic flock wallpaper.
90 Berwick Street, Soho W1V 3PP
Tel: 020 7437 2944
The former King Of Corsica pub in bustling Berwick Street market has undergone a resurgence since it was tarted up and resurrected as The Endurance. Soho scruffs and trendies frequent this popular boozer which boasts a well-balanced menu, Victorian style décor and juke box jiving atmosphere.
Queen’s Head And Artichoke
30-32 Albany Street, Marylebone NW1 4EA
Tel: 020 7916 6206
Dark, sumptuous, and a little off the beaten track, this new gastropub is definitely worth tracking down. Situated close to Regents Park The Queen’s Head And Artichoke is popular on summer evenings and weekends. Modern English gourmet food and an extensive tapas menu is served in the downstairs bar and upstairs dining room.
The Bountiful Cow
51 Eagle St, Covent Garden WC1R 4AP
Tel: 020 7404 0200
Neat L-shaped banquettes fill one wall and a polished bar curves against another. The charming interior is decorated with kitschy old movie posters while a meat-dominated menu isn’t particularly accommodating for vegetarians, but seafood specials are available.
The Norfolk Arms
28 Leigh St, Covent Garden WC1H 9EP
Tel: 020 7388 3937
Almost more of a restaurant than a pub, The Norfolk Arms has gone seriously gastro since French management took over and transformed it from grimy boozer to bustling eatery. A frequently changing menu boasts tasty traditional fare, accompanied by a nice little wine list.
22 Easton Street, Covent Garden WC1X 0DS
Tel: 020 7278 7608
This one-room pub is charmingly renovated with intricately etched windows, retro wallpaper and lots of natural light. The rich and hearty menu offers great value for money with all dishes generously portioned and mostly under ten pounds.
245-247 Baker Street, Marylebone NW1 6XE
Tel: 020 7486 4090
All leather sofas and beaded curtains, this pub opts for a loungey décor and a drink selection heavy on the Belgian beers. Close to Regents Park, The Volunteer serves real ales, beers, wines and spirits as well as tasty traditional English food.
32 Crawford Place, Marylebone W1H 5N
Tel: 020 7723 0066
This place holds no surprises for those familiar with the gastro pub aesthetic. It’s all here, the leather couches, the long wooden banquet tables, the racks of wine, the newspapers. There’s only a small range of beer, but the food is refreshing and simple.