Drinking and pubs are necessary social pursuits. It less to do with the drinking and everything to do with the culture of the UK. Bars are the place friends and family meet and you can even meet grandma at your "local".
Traditionally popular, the pub is a meeting point for everybody. It is not rare to see a staff person talking with the head of some department of the company in there. They are open until 11pm and happy hour from 5pm to 7pm. The most well known are Hoggshead, Picher and Piano, All Bar One, Slug and Lettuce… Food is less expensive than in restaurants, usually made with burgers, fish and chips, pizza….
Below is a list of pubs and bars that we recommend:
You can consult also: http://www.beerintheevening.com
Many pubs are also sports bars and many are fiercely loyal to a local team. Beware that some places can be a bit rough, especially on game days.
Tea - Tea is a staple of the daily routine and diet for many English. The custom was begun in the 1840s due to the various classes in England. The upper classes typically ate luncheon at about midday and dinner at 20:00, while the lower classes ate midday and then a light supper at around 19:00. For both groups, afternoon tea filled a gap in the meals. Teatime is no longer strictly observed in busy office environments, but it still often takes place in the home and has become a popular tourist activity.
There are two basic types of tea:
Afternoon tea - Small meal typically eaten between 14:00 - 17:00.
High tea - An early evening meal, typically eaten between 17:00 - 19:00.
Tea usually consists of
Tea - loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served with milk and sugar.
Sandwiches - customarily cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste, ham, and smoked salmon
Scones - with clotted cream and jam
Cakes and pastries - Battenberg, fruit cake or Victoria sponge
Alcohol has a rich history in the UK and a good drink is taken seriously. People can be as passionate about their drink as they are about their team. Choose wisely.
Beer - Beer was the first alcoholic drink to be produced in England. It has a complex but incredibly long history as it has been brewed continuously since prehistoric times.
Ale (cask conditioned beer) is traditional in the UK market
Lager generally refers to bottom-fermented beer in England. Despite ales being traditional, more than half of the current English market is now lager in the Pilsner and Export styles.
Stout originated in England, although it is now often associated with Ireland.
Bitter applies to well-hopped pale ale, from about 3.5 to 7 percent. Variations include best bitter, special bitter, extra special bitter, and premium bitter.
Cider - This drink of fermented apple juice is actually a member of the wine family. It is served by the pint or half pint like beer. There are two distinct types:
Scrumpy is cloudy and unfiltered
Perry is made from pears.
Shandy is beer mixed with lemonade.
Wine - Wine often accompanies formal meals. It was introduced to England by the Romans and has been much enjoyed ever since. Most wine is imported, but there are English wines. The Wine Standards Board reported that there were just over 350 vineyards producing wine throughout England. The largest is Chapel Down Wines near Tenterden in Kent, with The Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire and Sharpham Vineyard in Devon also of note.
Liquor - Gin is the liquor most often identified with England. Though not actually developed in Britain, gin and tonic has historical roots back to the British empire when it was originally taken to combat malaria in tropical climates. Rum is also popular, and though whisky is largely claimed by the Scots, it is also popular.
The legal drinking age is 18 years old and any pubs and clubs will ask for ID. However, if alcohol is to be consumed with a meal or while the teenager is with their parents, the laws are more generous. For example, it is legal for a single glass of wine to be served to a 16-year old with a meal.
Penalties for drinking and driving are extremely severe. The current limit is:
35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 milliliters of breath;
80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood;
107 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of urine.
From fine dining to street food, London provides. Along with the usual English fare, numerous Thai, Japanese, Mexican, Pakistani, Polish, Turkish, Indian, French, and Italian dishes are available.
Vegetarian food isn't difficult to find and, in fact, many sites, restaurants, and guides cater to vegetarian and vegan dining. Most restaurants offer at least one vegetarian option, and a side dish or appetizer can be made into a main course.
Address: 17- 18 Tooks Court, London, EC4A 1LB
Tel.: 020 7242 2622
A Michelin-recommended restaurant, this venue has a reputation as one of the finest vegetarian restaurants in the capital.
Address: 45 Lexington Street, London , W1F 9AN
Tel.: 020 7494 1634
Serves internationally inspired vegetarian food. Made fresh, it offers friendly informal service.
Address: 43 Old Compton Street, London
Tel.: 020 7851 1586
Fast service restaurant serving authentic falafel and freshly made vegetarian food.
The Gate Vegetarian Restaurant
Address: 51 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London, W6 9QL
Tel.: 020 8748 6932
A gorgeous setting with high ceiling, this cosy restaurant offers beautiful courses and accommodating staff.
Tipping in restaurants is less generous than in the United States, but generally more generous than other places in Europe. All meals include a 20 percent VAT tax and it is customary to leave 10-15 percent of the bill. However, restaurants may add a service charge so check your bill before paying.
It is unnecessary to pay a tip for fast food, self-service or take away meals. Tipping is also not practiced in pubs. If you have had a practically pleasant experience, you may offer to buy a drink for the bartender who will either have it, save it for later, or keep the price of the drink as a tip.
Fast food is widely available, to the disadvantage of the people's health. Fish and chip shops, a "chippy", are very popular, as well as international fast food. Though London is an expensive city to live in, there are many meals available from £5. Most pubs offer a decent small meal starting at 11:00. Grocery stores like Tesco also have many inexpensive ready made options. Within the city there are also many take-away options like fish & chips, Indian, falafal, and other international specialities.
While there are a countless number of excellent restaurants within London, not all of them are good. Note that prices are inevitably inflated close to major tourist attractions. Look for restaurants that Londoners are dining at rather than tourists.
For very good food in the most expensive locations in London, (crazy low price indeed: £5 - Beef stroganoff, custard and pudding, ...) there is The Stockpot, 40 Panton Street, London SW1Y 4EA. You will find other Stockpot in prestigious locations such as 273 Kings Road SW3 5EN, 18 Old Compton St Soho - W1D 4JL, ...etc.
For noodles and not much more expensive, there are also the famous Wagamama.
Address: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge SW1X 7LA
Tel.: 020 7201 3899
Price: Main courses £12-28
This American chef, Daniel Boulud, offers fine French cuisine. Set within the Mandarin Oriental hotel, the restaurant is surprisingly informal.
Dean Street Townhouse
Address: 69-71 Dean Street, W1D 4QJ
Tel.: 020 7434 1775
Price: Main courses £15-24
A hotel restaurant, this is one of the places to in Soho. Regulars attest to the superb offerings in a pleasant, traditional, country style setting.
Address: 33 Charlotte Street, entrance on Rathbone Street W1T 1RR
Tel.: 020 7813 8010
Price: Tapas £2-25
Fino's basement setting provides classic and inventive Spanish tapas. Small portions of regional specialities are perfect for sampling and sharing.
Address: 3 Hereford Road W2 4AB
Tel.: 020 7727 1144
Price: Main courses £9.50-14.50
Classic British food is featured in this restaurant. The menu changes daily and includes things like offals (calves' brains and kidneys, lamb's sweetbreads) and classic British puddings (vanilla rice pudding, apple crumble).
Hawksmoor Seven Dials
Address: 11 Langley Street WC2H 9JJ
Tel.: 020 7420 9390
Price: Main courses £15-30
The Hawksmoor is within Covent Garden. Huge, high quality steaks and a trendy environment make this a great place to dine.
Address: 25 Heddon Street W1B 4BH
Tel.: 020 7434 4040
Price: Main courses £17-28
African cuisine is served within this unique and memorable setting. Glamorous and exotic, this is a restaurant to impress.
Address: The Halkin, Halkin Street SW1X 7DJ
Tel.: 020 7333 1234
Price: Main courses £17.50-26.50; nahm arharn £60
Located within the Halkin hotel, Nahm offers luxurious minimalism. A nahm arharn (traditional Thai meal) offers diners the chance to select a dish from each of the menu's six sections.
Address: Mezzanine Floor, Victory House, 99-101 Regent Street, entrance on Swallow Street, W1B 4RS
Tel.: 020 7734 1401
Price: Main courses £15-32
Known as London's oldest surviving Indian restaurant, Veeraswamy draws tourists and locals. Located on the first floor overlooking Regent Street, there are colourful hanging lamps, ornate chandeliers and aromatic and beautiful dishes.
Address: Patriot Square E2 9NF
Tel.: 020 7871 0461
Price: Set dinner £65 6 courses (£115 with wine)
Stylish and trendy, Nuno Mendes's restaurant is creative and fun. Portuguese, Japanese, Thai and South American flavours blend in satisfying seafood dishes.