Looking for the best bars by the river in London? Enjoying a cold pint of beer, a chilled rose or a refreshing G&T right beside the Thames could be the perfect summer’s afternoon. There are countless riverside pubs and bars in London along the city’s waterways that become buzzing with locals who are making the most of London’s long summer days. Watch the sunset across the water with a cocktail and cosy up with a hearty British dish as the evening gets cooler. Check out these stunning riverside pubs in London to relax by the Thames and while away a lazy summer’s day. Is there anything better than riverside drinks in London when the sun’s shining? We've rounded up the best pubs on the river Thames...
THE CRAB TREE, FULHAM
This countryside-inspired pub in Fulham is a hidden gem located on the River Thames. The Crab Tree’s outdoor beer garden is the perfect place for alfresco dining and drinking with views over the water and comfy bench seating. Serving up tasty gin and tonics, cocktails, real ales and IPAs, this pub differs to other places on this list because it’s on a quiet, peaceful stretch of the Thames if you need to get away from the hustle and bustle. The food menu is made up of traditional British food with a modern twist; not to mention the hearty and affordable Sunday Roasts. This is one of our favourite summer hangouts in West London because there’s an easygoing atmosphere, a cool young crowd and it’s in the perfect location on the river. In the evenings, fairy lights around the outdoor terrace make for a cosy, magical atmosphere.
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CUTTY SARK, GREENWICH
Historical Greenwich is an appropriate place to stop by for riverside drinks since the area has a strong maritime history. This pub is named after a famous British clipper ship Cutty Sark, and it’s a popular local spot for riverside drinks in the summer. This pub is located right on the edge of the water boasting beautiful views of the City of London. Set on the banks at Ballast Quay, enjoy delicious cocktails and British pub food including a variety of fish dishes outside on the waterfront seating area. If you’d rather sit inside, you can get a table by the window with riverside views.
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BLUE ANCHOR, HAMMERSMITH
Tucked away by the river near Hammersmith Bridge, The Blue Anchor is one of the most buzzing riverside pubs for the local office workers in west London to have an after work, alfresco drink. Inside the pub is quaint and quintessentially British, and outdoor there are a few benches to perch on and loads of standing space so you can enjoy the river view. Watch the rowers zoom by with all their professional gear and take in the happy, summer’s day atmosphere this Hammersmith pub is known for. If you’re feeling peckish, the food here isn’t the cheapest however it’s seriously tasty. Wine, beer, ale, gin… The Blue Anchor can serve up whatever tipple it is you fancy.
BUTLERS WHARF CHOP HOUSE, TOWER BRIDGE
For something a little more fancy, head to Butlers Wharf Chop House near London Bridge for an incredible alfresco dining with views over London’s iconic Tower Bridge. The setting is pretty unbeatable so we highly recommend this place if you’re ever in the area. While it’s quite an expensive place, you can treat yourself to their great value-for-money set lunch menu which is 2 courses for £13.50 at its very own Oyster Shack (we recommend the fish and chips). For dinner the set menu is two courses for £24.50, or just pop along for some light bites and drinks. The perfect first date setting on a sunny day. For cocktails under the sun, the Henrick’s gin menu is fab.
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THE ANCHOR, BANKSIDE
Around the corner from London Bridge, The Anchor at Bankside is the perfect place to start (or end) a summers’ day stroll along the Thames Southbank. The old-school style, proper British pub is buzzing from the minute it hits an acceptable hour for a beer in the sun. With St Paul's Cathedral in view, you’ll be more than happy to stand outside right by the riverbank with a drink in hand. If you manage to nab an outdoor seat, the food is tasty and surprisingly affordable for such an ideally located London pub. Whether you fancy a refreshing rose, a local cask ale or a spirit and mixer, the drinks options go on and on.
THE SHIP, WANDSWORTH
This lively riverside bar in Wandsworth is a real local hang out for young working professionals - it’s also one of the most famous landmark London pubs on the Thames. There’s a really fun, buzzing atmosphere here in the summer months so make sure to get there early if you want a table. The cocktails at The Ship are incredible and so is the hearty food with brunches, vibrant salads and even a BBQ and burger shack for alfresco cooking. Specialising in craft beers, contemporary cocktails spirits as well as old school classics, there’s something for everyone’s taste. The outdoor terrace that overlooks the water is stunning with fairy lights hanging above wooden bench seating and an awesome evening playlist. Just a 5 minute walk from Wandsworth Town station, it’s easy to get to.
THE BLUE BOAT, HAMMERSMITH
Situated perfectly on the Hammersmith riverside, the Blue Boat is our favourite place to relax in the summer with a few nibbles and drinks to celebrate the start of the weekend. The outdoor seating area is always buzzing with locals and the food is affordable and tasty; the pie of the day is always a winner. Views don’t disappoint here; grab your drinks, get a nice seat and watch the river sparkle as the sun hits the water. Serving up craft beers, local London ales on tap, cocktails and wine, if you’re looking for a trendy riverside pub then this is the one for you. If you want to get closer to the water, take your drink and sit on the river bank.
WHITE CROSS, RICHMOND
Richmond is famous for its riverside location with plenty of pubs, bars and restaurants that line the Thames. The White Cross is one of our favourites because it’s an old Victorian pub dating back to 1780. Inside you’ll find a cosy fireplace for the colder days, and in the summer make the most of the outdoor terrace seating overlooking the water. The White Cross is a popular long hang out serving traditional British pub classics, real ales and cocktails. Watch the boats float by on the Thames while you sit back, relax and enjoy the view. Watch out during high tide though; the terrace floods with water however punters usually love it and continue drinking and having a great time with their feet up so their socks don’t get soggy. It’s all part of the charm.
THE GRAPES, LIMEHOUSE
This small cosy pub is one of the oldest in London - and it serves up one good pie and pint. The Grapes in the peaceful area of Limehouse, just moments away from the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf. Sitting on the bank of the River Thames, this old cosy pub is a great example of a traditional British Inn with a rich history - it even survived the Blitz bombing of the Second World War. Get a table outside in the back and experience incredible views of London’s banking district beyond the water.
Nothing says summer in London like a beer garden on the Thames river. This historical building was refurbished in 2014 and is a perfectly picturesque riverside spot. With an extensive wine list and impressive choice of ales, everyone will be happy. The menu includes anything from bar snacks to steak. Additionally, they have a Sunday roast that even includes a Vegan option. If you and your friends are looking for a light challenge while you drink riverside, they also have quiz nights on Wednesdays.
For a fancier option, check out OXO for a beautiful view of the Thames river as well as St. Pauls. The garden terrace allows for al fresco dining with views of the river and central London. OXO is available for your next dinner, lunch, or afternoon tea. With a huge cocktail menu as well as a long wine list, you'll find the perfect drink to sip by the water. Their spring menu contains a variety of options with burrata and other starters, and mains such as slow cooked duck.
Trifalgar Tavern is the self proclaimed "Jewel of the Thames." Located in Greenwich and built on the historical site of the Old George Inn, the rich history of Trifalgar Tavern is felt all throughout. Enjoy a burger or a steak along with your choice from a long list of beers and cocktails. With live music on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the riverside vibes will be high all summer.