By Tea Višnjić and Yasmin Frischemeier
When the thinking starts, the drinking starts. As you international students will soon come to learn, bars and pubs are a tremendously important part of British university life. With limited social space available on campus this year, all those random people you met online before term started will be thanking you for organising a trip to the pub. Don’t get caught out! These are our recommendations for the best bars and pubs around campus. Click on the map at the bottom for the full interactive experience!
The Three Tuns
With all the COVID craziness, you will be happy to hear that the Three Tuns will be open come start of term! Conveniently located on the ground floor of the SU, this student favourite spot has very reasonably priced drinks. The drinks are also served in plastic cups which we find oddly charming and nostalgic. It is the closest thing a ‘traditional student pub experience’ you can get on LSE and an unavoidable part of the student experience.
Any Wetherspoons Pub
Wetherspoons, our corporate lord and saviour. With three Wetherspoons pubs within five minutes of campus, Spoons is always an unbeatable choice. They’re famous for their student voucher booklets – bring your student ID to the pub for more discounts than you deserve. Even when it’s not voucher season, their prices are the next best thing after Tuns. If you’re on campus at night and find yourself in need of some hot food and a bevvie, Wetherspoons is always a solid time. You can even order a pint directly to your table through their app!
Best for a group
Oh look! It’s Spoons again. Penderel’s is our top pick for getting together as a group – that is, when it’s safe enough to get 6 people together again. If you can’t find a booth or high top upstairs (and you usually can), their basement space is always pretty quiet.
Another Spoons right on Holborn is a popular choice with groups. The pub is actually bigger than it looks and has booths to fit larger groups (when government regulations permit). However, it is often pretty busy so finding a seat in the evenings is not guaranteed. They are pretty big on checking IDs in the evenings as well, so make sure to have yours on you.
This adorable Polish bar right by NAB has a formidable snack selection. The pierogi and kielbasa are perfect choices to line your stomach before a night of drinking. If you’ve never tried it before, their hazelnut soplica (affectionately described by us non-Poles as basically nutella vodka) earns top marks!
An honourable mention has to go to Spoons (yes, again). Even though they pretty much microwave all their food, it is surprisingly decent and budget friendly. Also means you don’t have to go on a late night drunk adventure to hunt down some food which is always a plus. We would recommend you play it safe, though, and go for the pizza (can get a pizza and a drink deal for under £8!). For whatever reason, we are convinced that the food at The Knights Templar is the best.
The Knights Templar
I know we keep banging on about Spoons, but the chain is just that good. The Knights Templar (KT) is surprisingly fancy while keeping the well beloved student-friendly prices. It tends to get pretty busy towards the end of the week in the evenings, but as long as you don’t have too large of a group, you should be fine since it is pretty big. Best thing about KT are their ridiculously nice bathrooms that have actual statues in them!
If you imagine Spoons as a drunk uncle, then Simmons is your vodka aunt. With its funky interior and great bops, it is the perfect place to get loose and get your boogie on. Their Happy Hour deals are unparalleled – £2.5 for a spirit and a mixer. £3.5 for wine and bottled beer, and 2 for £10 cocktails. Not to mention that happy hour is valid all day when you show your student ID. The Temple Simmons is temporarily closed, but there are more branches around the city if you’re brave enough to venture slightly further from campus.
Best for in-between classes
Besides Tuns, of course.
George IV is right in the middle of campus, making it the perfect spot for when you’re pressed for time or simply don’t feel like walking more than two minutes away from the library. It is more expensive than Tuns though and overall more popular with masters students so make of that what you will. If the weather is nice, you can take your pint outside to enjoy while watching others hurry to their lectures.
Ye Old White Horse
Yet another pub on campus! The Ye Old White Horse is pretty small but still a good place to grab a pint and enjoy the traditional pub atmosphere. The sitting is limited and mainly comprises high tables so would not recommend it to those with back problems. The pub does have a large TV for sport screenings so would recommend it to sports fans.
Best for a date
The Ship Tavern
The adorable, aggressively British pub we all thought we were getting when we moved to this country. Just shy of 500 years old, The Ship Tavern is perfect for a first date if you’re seeking out that “Dickensian warmth and charm” as their website puts it. This pub is just relaxed enough to get to know your date, but not so shabby that they start to doubt your taste. Bonus points if you take your date to one of their Gin & Jazz evenings (every Sunday after 5!).
Cittie of Yorke
This cosy, intimate pub will have you feeling all sorts of butterflies on your date. It is just upscale enough to show you put some thought and effort into the date, but still relaxed enough not to hurt your wallet. The pub is not too crowded and there are lots of nooks for romantic gazing into each other’s eyes or fervently discussing politics without getting weird looks, whatever floats your boat.
Honourable Mention: you guessed it..
For that special ‘study buddy’ you’ve been making eyes at through zoom classes, take them to the Knights Templar! The classiest of the Spoons pubs near campus, KT is the best spot for that date you aren’t quite sure is a date. Don’t forget to invite us to the wedding.