Aaaannd we're back! April has seen hungry, thirsty Londoners descend on their favourite restaurants and bars in their droves, from old favourites to brave new openings.
Restaurant patios and terraces have been full-to-bursting come rain or shine, and so they should be. But forget the fancy food; who just wants a proper pint (or cocktail or wine) with their mates? So that's where the beer gardens come in.
You'll find us propping up any outdoor bar we can possibly get a space at this summer. Which, from the sounds of things, isn't actually going to be all that easy.
So to make your life a little easier, we've tracked down the city's biggest, best, booziest beer gardens, most of which have space for walk-ins. They've got beer, they've got wine, they've got food, they've got it all, and we're goddamn excited about it.
Now all we need is the UK weather to play ball...
Pressure Drop Taproom [pictured]
Unit 6 Lockwood Estate, Tottenham Hale, N17 9QP
Pressure Drop is making some of the best beer in London right now, with Pale Fire being one of the finest pale ales being brewed in the UK, and what better place to try it than at the source. The brewery opens every Saturday afternoon, so get it as fresh as you can: on a picnic bench in the sun outside the front of the brewery, complete with street food. It's definitely worth the (short) walk from Tottenham Hale Tube.
Open Saturdays 12pm-8pm; no bookings. pressuredropbrewing.co.uk
42 Newington Causeway, SE1 6DR
When it comes to everything you need to enjoy an evening of drinking and munching with pals, this market is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. There are plenty of bars, including an on-site microbrewery from German Kraft, and plenty of food traders all in one spot, so literally everyone will be happy. There's a farmer’s market shop, too, bursting with pickles, pastas and fresh bread, and more street food than you could possibly try in one sitting. Sit back and relax as your friends praise your excellent taste.
72-82 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QX
This popular outdoor dining space returns on 12 April, and, just saying, it's the perfect lively spot for a few evening drinks with friends – not to mention a few snacks to go along with them, too. Think gravy-dipped burgers and croquettes from Nanny Bill's, 'Naanwiches' and pachos from Baba G's and meaty Italian ciabattas from Sugo. The Bramble bar is fully covered and there's a large area where tables are protected by a massive stretched tent. If that's not enough, there are also pop-up container shops selling vintage goods and an electric mix of art.
The Standard, 10 Argyle Street,WC1H 8E
It's safe to say The Standard, is quite frankly anything but. Situated in the Double Standard Hotel and just minutes from the station: this is Kings Cross's swankiest upmarket pub. Back in December, we saw strings of fairy lights and sheepskin furs taking over the first floor bar and terrace. Now, forget the fire pits and welcome back the newly extended 70s-inspired botanical terrace. Think Aperol slushies, summer cocktails, big tunes and good vibes, pretty standard - and perfect for leisurely afternoon drinks in the sun or a sultry alfresco dinner with your favourite designated five.
Tileyard Studios, Tileyard Rd, N7 9AH
A hop, skip and a jump from King’s Cross, you’ll find Two Tribes, a brewer that opened its taproom with the aim of showcasing great music and food alongside its range of new-school lagers and pales. Now, it’s used its, er, recent time off to build a whole new outdoor space, Campfire, with a fully stocked bar with live music and entertainment and equipped with heaters and fire pits. Food comes by way of From the Ashes, a trio of ex-Temper chefs slinging great meat dishes (with options for veggies), with some exciting chef collabs planned too. All in all, a great backdrop for tank-fresh beer and good vibes.
Sweetwater Mooring, White Post Lane, E9 5EN
In case you were wondering, a restaurant on a boat technically counts as indoor dining, so you’ll have to wait until mid-May to climb back aboard Barge East, the moored boat in Hackney Wick. But its sprawling beer garden is open right now – catering for up to 300 people, it features street-food-style small plates with fine-dining flourishes from head chef Stefano Camplone (whose CV includes stints at Clipstone and Roganic, to name a few) with beers and long drinks from local brewers and distillers, plus a knockout list of cocktails, too. A no-brainer for East Londoners looking for somewhere to soak up the rays.
Canonbury Road, N1 2DG
At the top end of Canonbury and just behind Upper Street, Smokehouse is a bit of a hidden gem. It has a great range of draft beer and some amazing food to go with it. It also has a great outside space hidden behind tall hedges adorned with fairy lights, making you feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of central London.
The Southampton Arms
Highgate Road, NW5 1LE
A small, old-school boozer, The Southampton Arms has a great range of cask ales from some of the finest breweries in the country. The tap list is constantly rotating, so every time you pop in you'll get to try something new. The outdoor space is only small, so it can get quite busy, but that doesn't stop it being the perfect place to stop for a pint of ale after spending an afternoon out on Hampstead Heath.