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57 Allen Rd, Stoke Newington, London N16 8RY, UK

The Shakespeare is a local’s local where everyone knows everyone. Hidden in the middle of a residential street you’ll find beer by the bucket load, wine by the barrel load and a jukebox – yes a flipping real one – that will rock your socks off. There’s a beer garden, tables out the front and you can even bring in your pizzas from next door and eat them in the pub.

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127 Grove Rd, London E3 5BH

Giving the good ol’ Queen Vic a run for her East End money is the long-standing Palm Tree. You either love or hate this old-school boozer – there’s nothing modern here, don’t expect food beyond a bag of nuts and you can definitely get better pints elsewhere. What you do get is a cracking atmosphere, live jazz every weekend from proper old crooners and the landlord is a real character.

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76 Narrow St, London E14 8BP, UK

Located down by the river in Limehouse, The Grapes has history. There’s been a pub on this site since 1583, Charles Dickens was a fan – there’s even a complete set of Dickens in the back parlour for anyone who wants to catch up on their reading – and now the pub is co-owned by Sir Ian McKellen. They’ve got a separate dining area upstairs but we say find a spot in the bar with a pint of ale and a plate of fish & chips.

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73 Cheshire St, London E2 6EG, UK

Owned by Ronnie and Reggie Kray back in the day, The Carpenters Arms used to be one of the most notorious pubs in town. Now apart from a discreetly placed print of the long-departed twins, you would never have known of its history. It has an impressive range of over fifty different ales from all over the world and a small menu of classic British grub.

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34-35 Great Sutton St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 0DX, UK

This light and airy pub has a decent amount of tables and TV’s scattered around (great for watching the footy), with a strong range of craft beer behind the bar. What sets it apart from other watering holes in the area is the intimate venue downstairs, which regularly hosts comedy and live music, and the sound is bloody good down there too.

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15 Grosvenor Rise East, Walthamstow, London E17 9LB, UK

With great wine, local ales and even proper coffee as well as a monthly changing gastropub menu, The Castle ticks all the boxes. You’re guaranteed a warm welcome and you can bring the whole fam along too because this place is dog-friendly and baby-friendly.

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155 Homerton High St, Homerton, London E9 6AS
  • Monday: 4:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 4:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 4:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 4:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Friday: 4:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Saturday: 12:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM

They’ve got a great little beer garden at the back of lovingly restored The Adam & Eve (plus a covered area for when the rain inevitably comes) but there’s a lot to love inside too…pool tables, sport on the telly, Rockadollar in the kitchen, great sausage rolls at the bar, knocks up one of the best Sunday roasts in London and it’s always buzzing on the weekend.

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93 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4RD, UK

Thanks to a big refurb, The Griffin has polished up its rough edges whilst still retaining that traditional pub feel (it helps that it’s quite small and quite dark). They can mix you up a G&T or a spritz but this is a beer pub, with a strong selection of brews on tap and even more in the fridge, including some pretty potent bottles.

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441 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AN, UK

This brick-lined pub, which dates back to the 1850s, may be on the small side but they’ve packed in an enormous selection of Irish whiskeys and poitin behind the bar as well as a contemporary cocktail menu, punch sharing bowls and local brews on tap. Dark and atmospheric, it’s everything you want a pub to be.

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59 Newington Green Rd, London N1 4QU, UK

Hidden away in the heart of Islington you’ll find The Alma. After being saved by the community back in 2013, this pub is here to stay. It’s plastered with movie posters and film paraphernalia, so there’s a lot for cinema buffs to love here, but they also do a cracking roast, the beer selection is ace and they’ve even got a resident pooch Buster.

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68 Greenwood Rd, London E8 1AB, UK

It doesn’t look like much from the outside but that’s all part of the charm of this boozer. There’s a big horseshoe bar and some trippy paintings on the walls – what’s that banana one all about? It’s a fave with Hackney locals, especially on the weekends, thanks to the decent pub grub menu and the atmosphere is always on point too.

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The Cat & Mutton, Broadway Market, London, UK

Bang on the corner of Broadway Market, the Cat & Mutton gets busy quick but with plenty of beers on tap plus wines and cocktails as well as great pub grub, it’s not hard to see why. They keep you entertained too with a weekly pub quiz and DJs on the weekend. If you can’t find a space by the copper bar, head upstairs to the spacious Other Bar.

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