The Harp is Evening Standard's best pub for 2020
Fuller’s pub The Harp in Covent Garden has been recognised as London’s best pub for the second year running in the Evening Standard's list of the 50 best pubs in London.
The Evening Standard listed its 50 top pubs from London’s 7,500+ in an article published online on 18 January 2020. The top pubs were selected for perfect combinations of atmosphere, drink offering, service and history.
The Harp landed first place in the tough line-up of exemplary London watering holes, adding yet another title to the pub’s long list, and securing its number one spot for the second year in a row.
The Harp was the first London pub to win the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) National Pub of the Year competition in 2010 and has won the West London CAMRA Award every year they have been eligible to enter since 2006.
Six other Fuller's pubs were featured in the top 50 list, including:
#36. The Scarsdale Tavern, Kensington
#31. The Holly Bush, Hampstead
#25. Ye Olde Mitre, Hatton Garden
#14. The Dove, Hammersmith
#10. The Churchill Arms, Notting Hill
#3. The Coach & Horses, Soho
Magic in every pint
Explaining why The Harp deserved the title of London’s best pub for the second year in a row, the Evening Standard said: "It’s not the beer, the people, the CAMRA awards, or the staff’s expertise that elevates this old boozer above everywhere else, though, but the ineffable wonder of the place — there’s a little magic here.
“Whether punters are looking out under the midday sun, sheltering from the cold or basking in the amber glow of the bar in the evening, The Harp is a drinker’s paradise, right in the heart of the capital. More than that though, it’s a chance to escape the realities of the city for a little while, be welcomed and warmed, and feel like a little part of something wonderful.”
A unique atmosphere
The Harp Manager Paul Sims said: “We were quite surprised to be number one because everyone has different ideas of what makes a great pub. We’re good at what we do, and we strive to be the best, so it’s really great we have that confirmation from the Evening Standard.”
When asked what makes The Harp such a special pub, Paul credits the beer quality, the friendly and knowledgeable staff and the unique atmosphere.
“We specialise in cask beer, with nine available at a time, and we’re very traditional. We don’t have a T.V or music – we’re all about great beer and conversations. It’s what makes our atmosphere so special. People are more inclined to spark-up a conversation with a stranger here. It’s a unique atmosphere, and it’s part of what makes The Harp great.”
London's home of cask ale
Karl Seville, The Harp’s Deputy Manager, has worked at the pub for 10 years and has the tough task of choosing the pub’s famous beer selection. He said The Harp has become the home of cask ale in London.
“How we condition our ale, our cellar and our pouring techniques have been handed down through the times from ale experts to ensure we pour the perfect pint every time. We only serve the best, and freshest beer and we have a good reputation for doing it right, which is why ale fans come here,” Karl explained.
Above the bar area is an impressive collage of pump clips from all the ales that have been enjoyed in the pub over the years. Karl said since there are so many ales to choose from, customers are offered a range of tastings to help them make the best choice.
“We’re very selective about what we offer. Our guest ales change daily, and we have five guest cask ales at a time as well as our permanent range, which means there’s always something new to try.”
The pub has started offering beer from the wood for a truly traditional cask ale experience.
Great beer and conversation
Karl said the beer draws in a friendly crowd who all share the same affinity for enjoying a great pint and conversation.
“It’s a very special pub. You can sit in here and watch all walks of life pass through. A love of great beer is what they all have in common. The Harp is a destination for all beer lovers, and we’re very proud to be thought of as London’s best pub.”
To find out what makes The Harp London’s best pub, visit The Harp for yourself, located at 47 Chandos Place, Covent Garden, London.
Other Fuller’s pubs that made top 50
While The Harp claimed the grand title of London’s best pub, six other Fuller’s pubs also made the list (many for the second year in a row) and are well worth visiting.
#36. The Scarsdale Tavern, Kensington
The Scarsdale Tavern, managed by Ross Dickison, is a traditional pub in Kensington known for its beer, fine food, ambience and beautiful flower displays.
The Evening Standard said: "Ross, who manages the place, keeps the place ticking over nicely; it has that wonderful feeling of somewhere in the middle of the countryside and on a sunny weekend, is somewhere to order gin n' tonics and bottles of rosé and decide that one ciggie won't hurt after all. It’s said to be Piers Morgan’s favourite pub, but you can’t win ‘em all.”
Find out more about The Scarsdale Tavern, located at 23a Edwardes Square, London, W8 6HE.
#31. The Holly Bush, Hampstead Heath
The Holly Bush, managed by Mariya Ivanova is a classic 18th century pub located in Hampstead Heath, awarded 31st place by the Evening Standard for its great line-up of cask ales and its outstanding food offering.
The Evening Standard said: “The pub serves a great roast dinner on Sundays in smart but comfortable surroundings in the dining rooms around the back and upstairs. The cosy interiors are synonymous with cosy winter evenings, but the tiny outside seating area out the front of the pub is a nice spot for summer drinks too.”
Find out more about The Holly Bush, located at 22 Holly Mount, NW3 6SG: The Holly Bush.
#25. Ye Olde Mitre
Ye Olde Mitre, managed by Judith Norman, is one of London’s oldest pubs, hidden down a hidden alley way off Hatton Garden in Ely Court.
The Evening Standard, which awarded Ye Olde Mitre 25th place, said: “Ye Olde Mitre is a magnificent, memorable place that has, over the years, earned itself something of a fabled reputation. To be fair, it’s had plenty of years to do so. Hidden away down Ely Court, a toothpick of an alley off Hatton Garden, the Grade II listed building was built in 1773, though a pub’s been there since the mid-1500s.”
The Fuller’s pub is homely, traditional and cosy, and has been featured in films such as Deep Blue Sea and Snatch.
Located down a secret alley way at 1 Ely Court in Ely Place, Holborn, set-off on an adventure to visit Ye Olde Mitre for yourself: Ye Olde Mitre.
Ye Olde Mitre was named London Pub of the Year for 2020 by the Society of the Preservation of Beers from the Wood (SPBW), and has also started offering beers from the wood on the first and second Monday evening of each month.
Find out more: Ye Olde Mitre named SPBW London Pub of the Year.
#14. The Dove, Hammersmith
The Dove in Hammersmith, managed by Sonia Labatut, is a popular riverside pub in London with uninterrupted views of the Thames, was awarded 14th place in the best pub line-up.
The Evening Standard said: “The outdoor area is a beautiful space in the summer, but this loveable pub really comes into its own over the colder months — inside you’ll find a really cosy setting, with an open fire and snug split-level seating room.
“Beamed ceilings add to the charm, while the usual selection of Fuller’s beers can be found behind the teeny wood-panelled bar. If you can bag a seat here on a chilly winter’s evening, don't give it up in a hurry.”
Visit The Dove, located at 19 Upper Mall in Hammersmith: The Dove, Hammersmith.
#10. The Churchill Arms, Kensington
Making the top 10 is The Churchill Arms. Managed by James Keogh, the pub is world famous for its elaborate exterior flower displays, the Evening Standard said the pub’s bold décor, drinks line-up and ‘cracking Thai restaurant at the back’ has earned it its top 10 spot in the list of London’s 50 best pubs.
Find out more about The Churchill Arms, located at 119 Kensington Church Street, Kensington: The Churchill Arms.
#3. The Coach and Horses, Soho
The Coach & Horses, Soho, managed by Alison Ross, was originally opened in 1734 as a coaching inn by its first landlord Peter Rowlandson. The building the current pub resides in was re-built in 1847 and, more than 170 years later, remains untouched by modern trends.
Fuller’s acquired the famous pub in 2019 and made a commitment to preserving its charm.
The Evening Standard said:” Fuller’s haven’t wrecked the place. In fact, it might even be better. The loos are no longer covered in graffiti, sadly, but the beer is fresher, they’ve more spirits behind the bar (including a lethal Calvados) and service is swift. It’s still wonderful, and it’s recently Grade Two listed, so little should change. Few live in Soho these days; this place is a reminder of when all the characters did.”
The Coach & Horses Soho is located at 29 Greek Street, Soho, London, W1D 5DH.
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View the full Evening Standard article here: The 50 Best Pubs in London.