Rooftop, canalside, outdoor seating, sport on the screen, cocktails, real ale and more
Paddington Central is jam-packed with the best pubs and bars in London thanks to those nestled next to the Regent’s Canal (with Darcie & May’s brightly coloured barges to The Union’s huge outdoor space for post-work drinks), Pergola’s rooftop terrace, Vagabond Wines’ extensive lists by the glass and Smith’s Bar & Grill which is great for breakfast, brunch and Sunday roasts (and also has screens up for a buzzing summer of sport). Add to that Huckster’s karaoke-filled brunches and you’ll find the perfect spot for whatever the occasion whether it’s a quiet evening out or celebration with friends and work mates.
From family-friendly menus to the best outdoor places to enjoy cocktails, craft ales, wine (see our guide here) and beer in the sunshine, read on to discover some of the best pubs and bars to book at Paddington Central.
For cocktails on the canal and great food
Darcie & May Green
Grand Union Canal, Sheldon Square, Central W2 6DS
Part of the Aussie Daisy Green empire (there’s a Beany Green just around the corner overlooking the canal), this is a place that reminds you why London is truly special as two brightly painted barges come together to create a 50ft outdoor terrace on the Regent’s Canal. There’s bottomless brunches and afternoon teas, the best smashed avo in town, halloumi fries and celeriac steak and the drinks menu is crammed full of delicious cocktails with Moscow Mules on tap and local craft beers.
Reviews say: “Darcie & May is truly magical and such a nice place to eat and drink. And one of the staff called Matti, she's absolutely wonderful. She makes you feel you’re her only customers and looks after you from the minute you arrive to the second you leave. Makes eating a joy and pleasure.” Google Reviews
For brunch and karaoke with friends
4 Kingdom St, London W2 6BD
For a big afternoon or night out, Huckster is your friend. Throwing London Brunch Parties of dynamite music on different days of the week (Fridays are Divas Only with RockGirl tunes, bottomless Pina Colada and three-course brunch while Sundays embraces 90s R&B) with three karaoke rooms (and 900 songs to choose from), outdoor seating and cocktail pitchers, craft draft beers and buckets of beer and cider, this is unlike anywhere else on the weekend. Book now and celebrate the good times with friends and work mates.
Reviews say: “I had a fantastic night here last Friday, reasonably priced, great service. Best burger I’ve had in a long time and the atmosphere is fantastic. Can’t wait for the next visit! 10/10” Tripadvisor
Best for rooftop seats on sunny days
4 Kingdom St, London W2 6PY
Pergola gets to the heart of what makes it so special with their own description: “Hidden gardens, alongside drinking and dining in the heart of London. With four rotating restaurants serving incredible food, we have all you need for hours of chilled out escapism” – and they don’t even mention they’re on a beautiful open-air rooftop with amazing music. Playing host to food from Filth&Co, Salt Shed, Niji Kitchen & Rudie’s Jerk Shack and drinks including lager and beer from Hop&Hemp, Camden and Blue Moon; seasonal and classic cocktails and shorts; jugs of Pimms and lemonade plus an extensive wine selection, book a table and enjoy mixing and matching.
Reviews say: “Had such a great time at Pergola Paddington. George on the check in desk was so friendly and attentive he escorted us to our seats and explained everything thoroughly. The vegan chicken wings were so good and the music and atmosphere was really great! Amazing for girls night or date night!” Google Reviews
Best for outdoor drinks and family-friendly
Smith’s Bar & Grill
25 Sheldon Square, London W2 6EY
Overlooking the Grand Union Canal, Smith’s Bar and Grill’s gastro pub terrace is a brilliant find in London that’s always got space for drinks and dining. For families looking for the perfect Sunday lunch or a spot after a busy day exploring London (Little Venice and Hyde Park are nearby and Paddington Central’s big screen is showing sport and family films this summer), their kids’ menu is filled with steak, fish and chips, chicken bites and pasta plus a scoop of ice-cream while adults can enjoy a classic Med menu and an impressive selection of wines by the glass.
Reviews say: “This is totally my new favourite place in Paddington! The staff were very attentive to us and were a great help deciding what to order. My boyfriend went for a steak of the day and couldn't stop raving about it afterwards! Already booked another table for when my family is in town, this place is worth the visit.” Google Reviews
Best for canalside drinking and dining
4 Sheldon Square, London W2 6EZ
For steak (28 day dry aged Hereford rib eye, fries, grilled mushroom, confit tomato, watercress, yeasted peppercorn butter), sharing boards (Capreolus charcuterie board, salami, air dried beef and coppa with Union pickles and Borough sourdough), nibbles, a gin bar, craft beers on tap and brunch (Shakshuka, baked free range eggs, spinach in tomato red pepper sauce and sourdough), The Union is a huge welcoming pub and wine bar overlooking the canal – and is just a really good place to know whatever the celebration. With an emphasis on British sourced, seasonally prepared food, it’s one of the best gastro pubs in the area. Plus, you can enjoy a walk down the canal to build up an appetite before lunch.
Reviews say: “Great food and lovely atmosphere, plenty of space for meeting with friends. Very close to Paddington station just a few minutes walk and next to the canal!” Google Reviews
Best for wines by the glass with sharing plates
6a Sheldon Square, London W2 6EZ
With whole host of brilliant wines (take a look at our useful guide here), Vagabond Wines started off as a little wine shop in Battersea and now has seven sites around London serving over 100 wines by the glass. With tasting notes and knowledgeable staff, this is the place to come if you love wine and want to sate your curiosity for different regions and grapes. Plus, they serve up delicious tapas (cheese and cured meats with the vegan option offering beetroot hummus, piquillo red pepper dip, balsamic onions, salted Catalan almonds, Gordal olives, radicchio, olive oil and balsamic vinegar) plus hanger steaks to share. An absolute gem of a place.
Reviews say: “First time visiting a Vagabond site... what a great location on the canal. I didn't actually know what to expect however really impressed with the set up and selection. Tried a good amount of wine and a few small plates (there are vegan options but they aren't marked on the menu). Staff were friendly and really helpful. Would definitely visit again.” Design My Night