THE BEST ALE IN SW LONDON

Move over stylish gastro-pub interiors and inns with Michelin stars, sometimes all you need is a really good ale, a medium-rare burger and a sun-soaked beer garden. And with that we present to you five of South West London’s best no-frills pubs

1 The Woodman, Battersea

Tucked away between an austere Victorian school and a concrete block of flats, this is a real hidden gem favourited by local foodies and those lucky enough to stumble upon it. The likes of simple homemade burgers, delicious wild rabbit and venison bourguignon, give a sense of owner/head chef James Rogers’ exciting yet traditional menu. Outside, the garden gets a good measure of sun and if you feel like dozing off, you can recline in a fat leather sofa next to the fire.  woodman-battersea.co.uk

2 The Atlas, West Kensington 

The cosy Atlas Pub has a busy and friendly atmosphere that seems to have been transported from the deepest Shires. Another food lover’s favourite, the small dining section at the back is always packed with regulars, nose in the air in anticipation of the food served out of the open kitchen window. On a hot day, or busy night the crowds spills into the outdoor benched area that is overrun with ivy. Get there early for a good feed and stay late for the revelry. theatlaspub.co.uk

Best pubs for ale in south west London

The Crooked Billet is right on Wimbledon Common, image by Bruce Thomson

3 The Crooked Billet, Wimbledon Common

After a leisurely walk on Wimbledon Common there’s no better place to put up your feet than the historic Crooked Billet. This fantastic boozer doesn’t need tales and folklore to add to its charm, but you can bet your pint its walls have stories to tell. Weekends are always busy with young families and excitable puppies and once you’ve got yourself a table, a proper British pub menu awaits. The bar is well stocked with a great selection of ales and a decent wine list, which can all be enjoyed on the green out front, once the sun decides to come out. thecrookedbilletwimbledon.com

4 The Nags Head, Knightsbridge

Ancient ciggie machines, satirical cartoons and regimental ties line the walls of this eccentric Knightsbridge watering hole, setting it apart from it’s often chi-chi neighbours. The quiet but sociable atmosphere makes it perfect for clandestine meetings or, more likely, a good long session with old friends. Phones are strictly barred and after a few jars the stairs become a veritable death trap, all adding to the unmatched character of The Nags Head. 53 Kinnerton St, London SW1X 8ED

Best pubs for ale in south west London

The line up of ales at The Bricklayers Arms, image by Michael Flynn

5 The Bricklayer’s Arms, Putney

Finally we come to a true beer-lovers Mecca. The Bricklayer’s is so geared towards members of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), they have almost continuous  beer festivals throughout the year, and a request for lager will triggers sniggers or confused stares. Or both. If you’re not happy whiling away an afternoon discussing hops, stay busy with classic pub games such as skittles, or just enjoy the quiet of the garden. bricklayers-arms.co.uk