When I say “Best Beer Bar In London” I mean just that. I know people are going to argue and call me a blasphemer but I am basing this off my standard of amazing beers in terms of selection, quality, hard-to-find gems, prices, etc. We went to several pubs and I could understand the argument that the best beer pub will also have the quintessential environment of a UK/London pub with dark wood and low lighting separating tables and sections of the bars with real ales on tap but to me it’s more than the furniture that makes the bar. It’s the atmosphere in the air, the joyous feeling of revelry, and the wondrous long list of beers meticulously picked to share with the masses. It also helps to have great burgers and fries. I am talking about Cask Pub & Kitchen in London, UK.
I had already done my research on beer destinations in London and we had planned to come to Cask for dinner so we started the day by having a taxi drop us off at Big Ben and we made a large circle around the River Thames to eventually make it back around to Cask to end our evening. We basically walked from like 10 am to 6pm or something, but that’s just what you do when you are exploring a new place. It just makes sitting down at the end of the day just that much sweeter. We started at Big Ben and started walking along the river on the Victoria Embankment towards the Hungerford Bridge. It was overcast with chilly wind but that didn’t detour our excited spirit to be wondering around London. We strolled along the river and crossed over the bridge, stopping to take photos along the way, and explored the park right next to the London Eye.
We decided to visit the Aquarium which was a bit pricey (and sadly not as good as the other aquariums I have been to including the ones in Atlanta and San Diego) but it was a fun experience. It was also nice to get away from the busy streets for a little while to explore the exhibits. They had large shark tanks, beautiful sea horses and the jellyfish that I can stare at forever.
After the Aquarium we walked across the Westminster Bridge and wandered down Abingdon street next to the House of Parliament and Victoria Gardens. I was surprised how green everything was and how many parks there is in London. It was overwhelming how beautiful it was. It’s such a interesting mix of old buildings with awe-inspiring architecture and big green trees that makes a simple walk so wonderful. We walked along the Millbank until we reached Vauxhall Bridge where we turned right (away from the bridge) towards Cask. We stopped at the White Swan to grab a few beers since it was still a little early and it was nice to regroup and rest a little. The White Swan was the typical elegant pub with the dark finished wood and real ale taps and a quiet relaxing setting. It’s extremely pleasant and we contemplated staying there for the rest of the evening before heading back to the hotel but we pressed on to Cask that was only a few blocks away from the White Swan.
Walking into Cask was a different experience than most of the other pubs we had been to because it was loud. Strangely enough in most of the UK/Ireland pubs we went to were mostly quiet and it really makes you realize that us Americans are freaking loud. I had to keep reminding myself to keep my voice down but thankfully Cask was already loud and crowded for the early evening happy hour. Filled with a bunch of people in suits, it was clear this was a local favorite for people getting off work and winding down. That’s always a good sign. We snatched a table before they were all gone and settled in for drinks and food.
The food is from “Forty Burgers” which is like a separate restaurant within the bar because it has it’s own name but it’s all good to me. Quoted from their site: “Not content with using the very finest beef available in the UK, we then make our burgers with a very special and unique blend of beef: 40 day aged rib and 30 day aged rump.” I love the concept of aging beef so I was excited to give these burgers a try. I got the cheese burger and wasn’t disappointed. It was well cooked (meaning not over-cooked) and the stilton cheese on top just made it so luxurious. It was so good I didn’t even take a picture of it because I was consumed with devouring the deliciousness. Also, the fries were perfect. They were skin-on double fried with wonderful large chunks of sea-salty goodness that is making my mouth water just typing about it.
The Beers!!!! We were so surprised how tremendous their bottle selection was. They had Cigar City and Clown Shoes to mention a few surprises and we were a bit overwhelmed where to start. I ordered the Wet Dream by Evil Twin which is an American Brown Ale (8% ABV) that was quite tasty. Sean got the Dark Helmet Rye Schwarzbier by Westbrook Brewing Co. (5.9%ABV) that was also very good. Going with my Evil Twin theme, the next beer I ordered was Noma Oxalis (5.5%ABV) Pale Ale that was a yummy light pale with tons of fruity and crisp hoppy flavor. The next beer Sean got was Holy Hoppin Hell pt1 by Weird Beard Brew Co. (8.5%ABV) Imperial IPA and that was sweet but also very good. We also discovered they had Pappy VanWinkle 20 year and 23 year on the bar list so we had to order both and compare years. When would we ever get to have Pappy VanWinkle again? I haven’t seen it on any bar menu before so we jumped on the chance. It seemed fitting since we had just come from Islay a few days ago and now fancied ourselves as educated whisky drinkers. At least, more educated than previously thought. Sean made a new friend while at the bar, Leigh or Villabone (on Twitter) who bought us a beer for our honeymoon so Sean returned the favor and bought him a Spontancranberry by Mikkeller and he loved it. It was so awesome meeting someone who was super into craft beer and also had friends in So Cal because he used to travel here for work and do bottle shares. It’s the craft beer that brings people together!
London was great, albeit exhausting. Fortunately we had a train ride into Brussels the next day so we could relax before our next big city. I feel as though we only cracked the surface of all that London has to offer. I would love to come back and put Cask up against any other craft beer bar and spend more time wandering the city in the process. Cheers!