8 of London’s Top Quiet Pubs and Bars

pubs and bars

Sometimes, if you’re going out into London for a drink with friends or loved ones, it’s nice to be able to hear yourself think. Music is all well and good but there is plenty to be said for a little conversation too. It can be considered something of a lost art in many of the capital’s pubs and bars, where the speakers are often turned up so loud you can barely hear yourself think.

If you want to talk to your mates, partner or family members – or even get to know some new people – you might not want to have the latest chart hits pumping through the stereo. Instead, a little peace and tranquility may be in order; you might look for pubs and bars where you don’t have to shout to make yourself heard. These places do exist – you just need to know where to look.

Here are a few options of quiet pubs and bars in London that you might want to consider for a quiet drink with good company in the capital:

1) George Inn, Borough

pubs and bars

This delightful 17th century coaching inn comes complete with three balconied levels and a large courtyard seating area. It’s very much a traditional pub, although with a modern choice of drinks – there’s a fantastic range of beers to choose from. The George Inn is a little oasis, just across from the hustle and bustle of Borough Market and the busy intersection that is London Bridge. It’s the sort of pub where you can nestle into a comfy chair and settle in for the evening.

2) Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, City of London

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Situated just off the back of Fleet Street, the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a Grade II-listed public house and surely one of the quirkiest anywhere in the country. For starters, it’s a Sam Smith’s pub, which means you can only buy the brewery’s own products – not that we mind that, given the affordable pricing. The pub itself is a charming little labyrinth of wood panelled lounges, cellars and basements, full of little enclaves and hidey holes. And there’s no music to worry about.

3) Dukes, St. James 

pubs and bars in london

A far swankier option – if you’re donning your gladrags – is the Dukes at Mayfair, a luxurious hotel bar hidden down a cul-de-sac in St. James. The drinks aren’t cheap – that’s putting it mildly – but you can spend an hour in quiet serenity surrounded by beautiful fittings and furnishings. There’s no danger of having your glass of wine knocked over by a drunken passer-by, or waking up with tinnitus in the morning.

4) Ham Yard Bar, Soho 

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Once you’ve been served at the large indoor bar, you can head outside into the Ham Yam’s large courtyard area. This is a suitable alternative to the noise and excitement of many other Soho drinking holes, if you’ve just come out to have a catch-up rather than a boogie.

5) Zetter Townhouse, Clerkenwell 

pubs and bars in london

Set in a Victorian townhouse on a cobbled square, Zetter Townhouse is a highly attractive bar with reasonably priced drinks. Great effort has gone into the decoration of the Zetter, which is highly fashionable – not the sort of place you’d expect to attract drunken revellers wanting to get up and dance. You can while away the hours in here chatting about everything and nothing, but most importantly you can make yourself heard.

6) Knowhere Special, Kentish Town

pubs and bars in london

This compact Kentish Town basement bar only has seating for around 30, and it’s table service all the way. Knowhere Special offers an inventive drinks list and quirky decor, along with music that’s just audible in the background rather than all-consuming.

7) 69 Colebrooke Row, Islington 

pubs and bars in london

A short walk from Upper Street on an Islington backstreet lies 69 Colebrooke Row, a classy little cocktail bar which oozes jazz-age chic. There will be music, but it will come from the piano rather than through a mega sound system. You can still have a chat rather than resorting to sign language.

8) The Harp, Covent Garden 

pubs and bars in london

This traditional alehouse, just round the corner from Trafalgar Square, was once voted CAMERA National Pub of the Year. It’s most distinctive feature are its stained-glass windows and classic interior decor, but the beer and cider are something special too. This is somewhere you can escape the crowds for a quiet, relaxing drink.


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