Historically, the pub was at the heart of every local British community, the place you went for every occasion between celebration and commiseration. The barman plays the role of agony aunt to scores of people, and some locals have been propping up the same spot for decades.
Times have changed though. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) estimates around 18 pubs are closing every week, as publicans struggle to make a living due to high taxation and recession. Pubs have been forced to diversify, and this is partly to thank for the boom in gastropubs - a pub that serves restaurant-standard food as opposed to the 'scampi and chips' style grub they were once famed for.
In London now, the stylish gastropub with its chic interiors and seasonal menu outnumbers the old fashioned drinking establishment with soggy carpets and a dartboard, of which there are woefully few. A handful of corporations now own thousands of pubs, which can make them seem like identikit places lacking real character or atmosphere.
The pubs on this list represent a cross section of the best of British pubs, from the no nonsense, old timer like The Palm Tree to the new-fangled gastropub like The Cow, each excellent in its own right. The best way to save the independent pub from demise, is to get drinking in one immediately.