Every one of the bars and pubs in London with al fresco drinking featured in SquareMeal’s list of London’s best bars and pubs for alfresco drinking have been tried and tested by critics and our own customers. For more drinking inspiration, see our recommendations for the best bars in London. Each SquareMeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from those who have visited, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.
1a Amhurst Road, London, E8 1LL
The name provides the geographical compass point for this new all-day venue on Amhurst Road, which brings a ‘dark Nordic aesthetic’ to the streets of Hackney. Occupying the redeveloped shell of a
Victorian railway station-cum-ticket office next door to Hackney Central, Oslo is a two-pronged eatery and social hub offering casual food and drink during the day, before putting on its glad rags
for smart evening meals, classy booze and the best in new music at night. The menu is based on produce from local suppliers, and the drinks list peppered with craft beers, ales, cocktails and
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63-65 Broadway Market, London, E8 4PH
The Stars & Stripes flies outside this Broadway Market homage to New York City’s neighbourhood bars. Rather like a licensed version of Central Perk only with cooler staff (sorry Gunther), it’s
a welcoming place to hang out with the hipsters over a confidently made old fashioned, lemon drop or Manhattan. Fans of American craft beers will be pleased to find Colorado cult brewery Flying
Dog’s Kerberos Tripel & classic Dixie beer from New Orleans. The concise wine list has a more global outlook, mixing Californian DeLoach Zinfandel with tasty white Rueda Marqués de Riscal from
Spain. Though resolutely a bar – albeit one that runs film nights & a knitting circle – Off Broadway serves food too & has a short menu of LA-style Mexican food such as nachos &
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78 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3JL
“I love the space” declares an advocate of this multifunctional bar-restaurant, which fuels Shoreditch’s creatives from breakfast until bedtime. The ground-floor bar acts as a café/workspace (with plug sockets) during office hours, but at night the cases holding teas and coffees behind the bar swing around to reveal spirits. Diners head for the huge basement, which feels cavernous when quiet. Here, a carefully edited menu of international crowd-pleasers awaits. To start, spiced crispy squid with chilli pepper sauce and lime mayonnaise is a masterclass in texture and tang. The Josper grill dominates main courses, working its magic on meat from the renowned Ginger Pig butchery, including prime steaks and rump of spring lamb. Fish specials are cooked daily, while weekends bring brunches and roasts. Correspondents report variable service, so best use any waits to peruse the wine list where the impressive choice includes more than 25 by the glass.
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117 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2PB
Get past the bouncers to discover what’s going on under wraps at Dalston Superstore, Kingsland High Street’s East Village-inspired club & bar. A massive coup was bringing Mylo out of exile for
a series of secret nights; DSS is full of surprises. The bar itself, a long slim industrial space in concrete & steel, opens daily from breakfast to beer o’clock & beyond. Surprisingly good
food – cakes, steak sandwiches, burgers, goats’ cheese salads & the like – is on the menu, though Dalston’s skinny fashion mavens (male & female) are more interested in the cheap booze:
bottled beers, flavoured shots & passable, basic cocktails. Big nights (Trailertrash, Disco Bloodbath among others) bring in a hedonistic contingent of beautiful people, gay & straight, all
squeezing on to an inch of poky basement dancefloor.
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49 Ridley Road, London, E8 2NP
Ridley Road is like an East End version of Portobello, only shorter and edgier in terms of ahead-of-the-trend eye candy. So it’s only right it should feature this tropical walk-in card only bar selling cheap and cheerful tropical cocktails for a fiver. Try Gin and Juice, a Ginger Mojito or one of the frozen cocktails; otherwise sink Red Stripe or the house plonk – served by the glass or in old stoppered bottles. There’s also Prosecco if you’re feeling flush, and a selection of craft beers. The gaudy, makeshift interior with its back-room disco/dance floor looks like something out of a Tarantino flick set in Puerto Rico, and there’s alfresco seating for smokers/sun worshippers. To eat, try Slice Girl’s; thin Neapolitan-style pizzas named after Spice Girls songs and served at peasant prices, before heading to the dance floor where live DJs keep the party going until late.
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32-34 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8DA
The kneejerk reaction to the Shoreditch bar formula of art installations, salvaged furniture & candles stuck in bottles is a roll of the eyes – but Dreambagsjaguarshoes deserves better. This
two-floor venue created from a couple of old shops knocked together (hence the portmanteau moniker) has been on enough blogs to mean there’s hardly a trendy out-of-towner who hasn’t made a beeline
here, but its independent spirit, evolving style & eyebrow-raising art keep the place credible. Bottles of foreign lager (Kirin, Estrella & the like), or a more zeitgeisty Kernel IPA or
Dark Star Espresso, are the best bets for quick service by the slow staff, though there are maple mojitos & whisky sours, too, if you can hang on a mo. A soundtrack of rumbling buses &
police sirens gives DBJS a cool urban edge.
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