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Want to enjoy a beer with a view on the South Bank? Although it is a bit of a tourist hotspot, the London’s southern bank of the Thames, aka the South Bank makes a top notch spot for an al fresco beer. But where is best to enjoy that view, with a cool drink in hand.

OK, we are writing this in the depths of winter, so we’re kinda harking back to the balmy days of summer. But, that said, many of these are also lovely when the winter chill sets in and you can watch the city lights.

Right, enough with the romantic drivel. Here are our pick of the South Bank’s best beer gardens.

1. The South Bank Centre/Royal Festival Hall

OK, this isn’t technically a beer ‘garden’ as such. But it is an outside area where you can sit and enjoy an al-fresco beer. The terrace outside the main entrance to the South Bank Centre, above where Giraffe and Foyles are, makes a good spot to meet friends, soak up the ambience and sink a few cool ones.

2. Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden

Now we’re talking. This is the real deal, up those windy yellow stairs which you’ll spot just next to the skate park. This lovely spot is very gardeny, with actual plants, benches and a great view across the Thames towards the London Eye and the Parliament building. Top notch beer garden action here!

3. The Understudy at the National Theatre

It might be a brutalist hulk, like most of the architecture this side of the river. But the National Theatre does do some pretty good, well… Theatre. And the Understudy is a suitably cool bar with outside seating for al fresco bevvies.

4. Gabriels Wharf

Strictly speaking not a beer garden, but there is outside space with seating and an assortment of small bars you can order drinks from. There is also the pizza place right on the corner, where you can order a few beers over your pepperoni pizza.

5. The Founders Arms

Between Blackfriars Bridge and the Tate Modern is this unmissable pub. Unmissable because it kinda makes you walk around it. It also has a riverside terrace where you can sit and people watch over a beer or wine. Warning though, it gets pretty busy most of the time, due to it’s handy location.

6. The Anchor

Situated between the Globe Theatre and Cannon Street Bridge, this pub has a large outside area for al fresco drinks. Gets very popular on sunny days, of course. But also a good spot to grab a plate of fish and chips and watch people wandering along the South Bank.

7. The Old Thameside Inn

With its handy location right next to the Golden Hinder ship replica, this pub has some excellent seating right next to the river. It’s also a stones throw from Borough Market making it useful as a refuelling stop.

8. Hays Galeria/The Horniman

This shopping arcade is a nice spot to stop and check out the sculptures and maybe do some shopping too. But there is also the riverside pub, The Horniman, which is perfect for a riverside beer. Warning, it’s not the cheapest option on this stretch but it does have nice views. Obviously.

There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy an al fresco drink. From the Greek to Gaucho Tower Bridge, or the Oxo Tower to the Shard.

Enjoy the views from the South Bank in London and a great night out (or day out), or pass by on your riverside walk! Cheers

Read more from our London guides, including is London safe?

About Post Author

Gesten van der Post

Is he the Keyser Soze of the content writing world? Maybe. Gesten writes for a variety of online magazines and several businesses too.
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By Gesten van der Post

Is he the Keyser Soze of the content writing world? Maybe. Gesten writes for a variety of online magazines and several businesses too.

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