Historic Pubs in East London - Intrigue, Pints and Pie



Pubs have been at the centre of British culture for centuries, with writer Samuel Pepys himself, describing them as the heart of England. Roadside taverns have been offering thirst-quenching refreshments since the Romans, and to this day a good local pub offers respite in pretty much any situation from Sunday afternoon boredom to the zombie apocalypse (see cult British comedy Sean of the Dead for reference). 

There are no shortage of 'ye olde' establishments still going strong across the city. East London was once a world of slums, factories and poor houses that gave rise to the needy and nefarious, as well as the pubs, which they frequented. All of the below have played a part in East London's chequered past, whether they're made of ancient timber and tall tales or have born witness to momentous moments in history. 

It's worth noting, that many of London's oldest pubs are located around Fleet Street in The City, as what was once the principal route in and out of London for centuries, but as this is no longer considered East London, these aren't included on the below list. If you're interested in visiting some of these start with Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, the Old Bell Tavern and Ye Olde Mitre Tavern. 




Established in 1894, this is a typical old Victorian pub, though the interiors have been given something of a makeover. It's the history here that is truly fascinating. To start with, it was opened on the site of the old Mile End Toll Gate,...  Read More




This is a quaint and cosy pub with an excellent selection of beers, appealing to workers in suits, as well as tourists curious about the incredible history here. Though there is some debate over the date, most say this bar was built in the...  Read More


Golden Heart
Photo courtesy of Jim Linwood


This is a rough and ready traditional Truman pub, and the fact it still exists in the heart of now absurdly gentrified Spitalfieds is a source of happiness to locals. Yes, the crowd are distinctly arty, but they're the more rattled side of...  Read More


This pub stands out as an island of old East End life in the middle of leafy Mile End Park. It's is about as typical as a British boozer gets with just the right dash of surreal. There are china plates on the shelves, photos of unknown celebrity...  Read More




The Prospect of Whitby is London's oldest riverside pub. It dates all the way back to 1520 and still boasts its original flagstone floor and a rare pewter-topped bar. Old barrels and ships masts have been built into the structure to add to its...  Read More


5
East London


The Grapes may only be a short distance from the financial towers of Canary Wharf, but it feels a world away. This historic pub, with its draped ivy and etched glass exteriors, has been here for nearly 500 years. It was even frequented by...  Read More


4
Whitechapel


This is legendary hub of the east London art community is a little bit of everything all in one, just like the area it's situated in. It's a 700-year-old traditional boozer, a cutting-edge arts space, a local hangout, a theatre and a music venue...  Read More


3
East London


On a corner of Cheshire Street, this now adorable little pub has had a colourful history. It was once owned by the notorious Kray twins, who bought it for their mum Violet, and according to legend, made the bar top from coffin lids. After that...  Read More




Every week, the majority of London descends on Columbia Road for the Sunday flower market, but for many years, the midweek days were eerily quiet. One of the few reasons you would find yourself on this sweet Victorian terraced street, was to go...  Read More


1
East London


Sitting on the corner of Spitalfields Market, The Ten Bells is a firm Shoreditch favourite packed full of local drinkers most nights of the week. A historic pub dating back to the 18th-century, the owners have kept many of the original Victorian...  Read More


Map

Meet Tyler Wetherall

Tyler Wetherall is a freelance writer specialising in travel, food & drink, covering topics as varied as narcs in the Colombian jungle to cocktail drinking in Cuba. Tyler has lived in London...  More About Tyler

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