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.
A row of west London townhouses makes a good home for this animated brasserie where everything from breakfast through to late dinner is provided, not to mention a Champagne cocktail or two. There’s an art-deco spin to the interior with its banquette seating and spectacularly colourful floor tiles, which all makes an energetic space for an English breakfast or a croque monsieur, before the all-day menu kicks in with sandwiches, salads and hot food such as pumpkin risotto or pork belly with crackling and apple slaw. Steak frites is a speciality, and there are “great” Saturday brunches and “superb” Sunday lunches, rounded off by the comfort of a plum crumble, perhaps. Drink draught Chiswick Bitter or European lager, or perhaps something from the short, well-rounded wine list. With “fab service”, terrace tables and a laid-back vibe, HRB is the complete neighbourhood package.
High Road Brasserie
Hordes of vintage-clad Shepherd’s Bush socialisers gather at this cavernous drinking hole on a Friday night, & it’s easy to see the attraction. The Defectors’ shabby-chic interiors are divided
into cosy little areas decorated with bizarre artwork & old sofas. Obvious attention is paid to the drinks list, with a line-up of cocktails joining draught Meantime Lager & a changing
roster of ales that might see you quaffing a pint of Boondoggle, Horizon or Redemption bitter. Quick-fix pub grub is the mainstay of the menu, although the kitchen takes care with the likes of wild
boar & apple sausages with mash, or venison & red wine pie. Regular DJ evenings & events ensure a constant buzz, helped along by the cheerful staff manning the busy bar.
The Defector's Weld
Chef, author, TV presenter and proud west Londoner Allegra McEvedy has re-opened the wine bar and upstairs restaurant which her late mother started in 1978 (and where the first script for EastEnders was written). While the bar is all hustle and bustle, the homely restaurant, with its shelves laden with cookbooks, is an altogether cosier proposition. Bold rustic dishes using well-matched seasonal ingredients sit on a short and keenly-priced menu. Starters of delicate courgette carpaccio with pecorino, pine nuts and chervil, and smoked trout with sublimely seasoned Jersey royals, hits of horseradish and capers, were clean, fresh-tasting plates. To follow, gleaming, perfectly cooked Cornish pollock topped with a tasty salsa verde sitting proudly on a bed of puy lentils was just a pinch of seasoning away from being near perfect, while a well-flavoured hunk of pork shoulder steak combined nicely with rainbow chard, anchovies and baby Jersey royals, although the meat could have been more tender. Finish things off with a little pot of gold in the form of chocolate, cream and salted caramel helped along by some delicious shortbread. A more relaxed menu is available downstairs in the wine bar. To drink, an impressive European-influenced wine list has a cracking selection by the glass, and if you run out then as the sign says, ‘in case of a wine emergency ring the bell’.