We travelled many times to London, but never took the time to seriously explore the craft beer scene there. This time, taking the opportunity that my good friend from Montreal invited us to stay at his place near King’s Cross station and very low cost flights during February, we flew for a long week-end to the City.

Some days before leaving, we were introduced to CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) by Guillem, owner of Homo Sibaris in Barcelona, during a cask revival from Moor. Cask Ale – or Real Ale as it is known in the UK – mainly differs because served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide. With a newly developed taste for cask and looking ahead of long drinking days in London, our very first Real Ale tour started.

The Queens Head.

Our first stop after landing and having some fish&chips for lunch was at The Queen’s Head on Acton street. A beautiful little Victorian pub with an extensive selection of ale, lager, stout, porter and sour beers. They served 3 cask ales and had about 12 more beers on keg, mostly from local breweries. A good selection overall and the staff seemed pretty passionate about their beer. We tried a dark winter ale on cask which was perfect for the light rainy day outside.

The Kings Arms.

And from the Queen to the King we went. Perfect for an after-work or early evening beer. Just off the Bethnal Green Road, The Kings Arms looks from the outside just like another classic London pub, but inside has been modernized with a simple dark green wood-panel room, vintage tables and lightning.

The beer is also selected with care. You will find 13 kegs and 6 cask pumps which dispense a mix of UK beers and other European counterparts. We had a serious session with beers from Northern Monk (World Gone Sour, Farmhouse IPA), Siren Craft Brew (Broken Dream Breakfast Stout) and Dry & Bitter Brewing Company (Dank & Juicy, American IPA).

The Coach Makers Arms.

The next morning we headed to Marylebone Farmers Market for some cheese directly from the source. After stocking up on cheddar and blue cheese, we were quite cold so we decided to stop at the first pub open so early in the morning. We found nearby The Coach Makers Arms and had a fresh English Bitter from cask: Pure UBU from Purity Brewing Co. They also have a neat lounge downstairs for some after-work drinks.

Crown & Anchor.

In the afternoon, we visited Crown & Anchor in Brixton, away from the city centre hustle. The bar is filled with hand pumps and keg dispensers, a total of 25 taps offering a fantastic range of Real Ale, craft beer and cider. They were serving a yummy Sunday roast dinner when we got there and it was pretty crowded. The staff was friendly and managed to get us a table anyway. The warm and welcoming atmosphere makes it a perfect spot to enjoy some good beers among friends and family. They also have an amazing terrace with plenty of outside seating. We will definitely come back during the summer time!

The Craft Beer Co. Brixton.

Not too far away, in the very heart of Brixton, just around the corner from Brixton Market, you can find The Craft Beer Co. Brixton. The Craft Beer Co. owns about 8 pubs around London. The pub in Brixton is divided over two floors with an outside seating area and serves the biggest selection of beers. You will find 20 keg lines serving beers from around the world and 10 cask pumps mainly beers from all over UK. Additionally, they have more than 200 beers in bottles and cans. Only for serious craft beer lovers. Cheers!

BrewDog SoHo.

Although we did not stop for a beer, we did peak through the BrewDog bar in SoHo, when passing by during our shopping time.

With more venues than you can count on two hands, BrewDog is very well established in London and the UK. The SoHo venue is set over two floors and serves 20 taps of craft beer on each level, a mix of home brews and guests. Prices are usually on the higher end as all BrewDog bars. The decor is modern, with an industrial-concrete touch and warm lightning. The ground floor has a more uplifting vibe, whereas in the basement you can sit down and relax. We hear there is even a beer “sexline” downstairs… we will need to come back!

The Lyric.

After some shopping in SoHo, we stopped by The Lyric for a well deserved break. This small pub in central London offers 18 beers on tap and of course with some Real Ale available! We had a pint of  Solaris Session Pale by Big Smoke Brew Co. It was quite early in the afternoon so the bar was pretty empty, but the vibe was friendly and it usually gets crowded later in the day.

The Lyric is a local’s pub in the heart of the city. Best for the cozy atmosphere and great conversation around well served beers.

The Exmouth Arms.

Just around the corner of our apartment during our stay was The Exmouth Arms, perfect for our last night in the city. This classical pub has a modern vibe, with a young friendly staff and some large wooden tables outside to share during the sunny days. They offer 14 beers on draught and more in bottle. We had a perfect pre-dinner Red Ale from Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. on cask. The bar was already quite busy, with a young and informal atmosphere. They also have a fine selection of gins and host every Tuesday night a Pub Quiz.


We had an amazing time exploring the Real Ale scene in London and hope you enjoyed reading. As many, we will never get tired of discovering this amazing city which has so much to offer. We didn’t have time to visit all the bars in our list, so we will definitely come back for some more. Cheers!