The Southampton Arms
The beer scene in London has exploded over the past 18 months: the city now boasts more than 40 breweries and each week, it seems, a pub converts to the gospel of good beer. Here are the five best places to drink beer in London, as chosen by Will Hawkes, author of Craft Beer London:
1. Craft Beer Company, Clerkenwell (82 Leather Lane, Clerkenwell, EC1N 7TR). There are now three Crafts in London, but the best in terms of beer selection remains the original. As many as 16 real ales are on at any time - and there's plenty of kegged and bottled beer too.
2. Euston Tap (190 Euston Road, NW1 2EF). This handsome building, in the shadow of a rather less handsome station (think Pennsylvania Station), may be small but the beer is excellent and generally a little bit cheaper than at other ale shrines.
3. Well and Bucket (143 Bethnal Green Road, E2 7DG). At the top of Brick Lane, you'll find the newest unmissable pub on London's craft beer map. The old-school tiling, elegant island bar and well-kept beer makes a couple of pints here a very enjoyable experience indeed.
4. The Southampton Arms (139 Highgate Road, NW5 1LE). It only opened a few years ago, but forget that: this is what an old-school boozer should be like. Lots of cask ale, scotch eggs and a piano in the corner. Cash only!
5. The White Horse (1-3 Parson's Green, SW6 4UL). There's been good beer here for eons, and it's a pretty attractive place too. Find yourself a place at the bar and work your way through the impressive Belgian selection.