When the shy London sun is shining, the only thing you and your friends want to do is join the throngs of jolly revelers sipping pints and swapping stories in the great outdoors. Ditch the dim lighting and musky atmospheres of traditional city bars–you’ve got all winter for that–and spend an afternoon quaffing ales in one of London’s best beer gardens. Here are a few of our favorites.
At this breathtaking spot on the Thames, weeping willows wave in the breeze and vines crawl up wooden lattices, making The Crabtree in Fulham one of the most scenic beer gardens in the city. Grab a brew or order off the extensive list of European wines before chowing down on a freshly grilled burger from the outdoor barbecue pavilion. The bobbing boats make for the perfect view as you clink glasses with your mates and discuss your latest life updates.
Though you may not think Shepherd’s Bush is known for wining and dining, The Eagle on Askew Road is perfect for sunny days. Hide yourselves away in this garden oasis surrounded by walls clad in crawling greenery and a row of trees sprouting from its heart. There is enough room for your whole gang, so pack yourselves in at the huge tables and let your infectious chatter dominate the venue. Sip on Cusqueña beers, brewed at the foot of Machu Picchu, or try another exotic, seasonal addition from the menu. Later in the night, kick back in a giant brightly colored pillow while you listen to the sizzling of barbecue and the breeze in the trees.
The Black Lion
If the warm weather is enough to put you in party mode, invite as many friends as you can think of to this riverside garden, which can easily sit 100 thirsty folks under its ancient trees. The menu is focused on Kiwi cuisine and complemented by a wide selection of wines from New Zealand. As you wait for your round of drinks, run your hands over the roughly hammered wooden tables and casks that seem to have been stolen from a pirate ship. Between sips of beer, watch a boat race from your vantage point and bet on which ones you think will pull ahead at the last second. End your night playing a friendly game of ping pong while you listen to the sound of live music echo throughout the garden.