Cider, cyder, scrumpy, appley nectar from the Gods.
I love a “proper” cider, when people tell me that their favourite cider is Rekorderlig a little voice inside my head chuckles and corrects them.
“That, my ill-informed drinking buddy, is a cider-based drink and is akin to telling me that Bacardi Breezer is your favourite rum”
It’s pretentious I know. But I think the lack of real cider options in most pubs leaves us fans a little embittered. Please don’t tell us you have Magners or berry Kopparberg. I blame my mum, she brought me up in a house with “real cider”.
OK, OK, I’ll stop now. So where can you go for a really good glass of cider, in London?
Firstly, We Mourn The Cider Tap
When I decided to write this post, I trotted off to my favourite cider joint in Euston to take some better snaps. When I reached it, however, I was shocked and dismayed to find out that it been replaced by something called The Northern Tap! It had been changed to a bar specialising in beers from the North of England. I was heartbroken and slunk away without remembering to take a single photo. Here’s one from the birthday party I had of the Cider Tap before it was sadly lost to history….
And so now, it is ever more important to find other places that you can find a good glass of the precious apple’s bounty.
The Crown and Anchor
Don’t despair Euston-based cider fans, just South of Euston is the Crown and Anchor. Though not dedicated to cider, it does have a good selection of cask ales and ciders behind the bar. The food here is pretty great pub grub too so you can pair your pint with a hearty pie to soak it up.
(The Other) The Crown and Anchor
Down in Brixton, at the end of the Victoria Line, you will find The Crown and Anchor. This pub was recently renovated and restyled as a real ale and cider venue. It has a nice changing selection and a very cool, almost hipster vibe. It’s where the “cool kids” go to sup on a golden appley swift half.
This Victorian pub, near Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Covent Garden, in central London, is what we may call “snug”. Alternatively, you could describe it as “cramped”, but it does have a wonderful atmosphere. It has two floors, the lower with a bar that will keep your eyes busy for hours. Portraits cover the walls and old beer tap signs surround the bar. Upstairs has a small room, like a Georgian parlour, that has small tables.
The Harp has a small selection of ciders that changes every so often. The pub knows it has a great location, and so the drinks are priced accordingly. BUT you can get a FREE DRINK by signing up to their website newsletter! I had a very cloudy, very dry little half pint and it hit me the second I walked out of the door. It was strong and seriously grown up cider. Get there early to get a seat, or just squeeze in and enjoy the chatter.
The Stable is a very welcome addition to the London world of cider. This chain is well established in the West of England and it now has two branches here, one in Whitechapel/Aldgate East and the other, on the Thames, at Kew Bridge.
The stable is a combination of cider bar and fabulous pizza place. They do pies, thin, crispy sourdough pizzas and the most FANTASTIC cheesecake!!!
That’s not what we are here to talk about though. They have around 80 different kinds of cider in boxes, in bottles and stashed away in lots of nooks and crannies. They have a changing top ten and they are most happy to let you sample the ciders until you find your poison. You can also order a flight of cider; five half pints that change every week and all for just £7.
The Cider House
Borough market is a foody’s dream. You can get fresh produce, ready made lunch and the best scotch eggs in London (well, my favourite anyway). You can also get a lovely glass of the good stuff! The Cider House is in the Western end of the market and sells New Forest Cider. They have sweet, medium and dry in both casks and in bottles. They even mull it in winter. You can take the cider away and enjoy it whilst strolling down the south bank or prop up the bar table for five minutes. Delicious!
When the sun is out, head to Walthamstow Village and grab a pint with which to soak up some rays. Wildcard Brewery is mainly a beer spot but they do feature one or two yummy ciders and the chilled out atmosphere completely belies it’s trading estate location. Taking a tipsy stroll through Walthamstow Village is really interesting. It’s a slice of English countryside in London. The bar is also right next to God’s Own Junkyard, a fantastic treasure trove of neon signs. I was having far to much fun in the sun to get a photo of this bar.
Two From Left Field
Don’t laugh! Very occasionally, Wetherspoons has a cider festival. They bring in boxed ciders and the prices are always exceedingly good value. In the past. I tried Fanny’s Bramble at a Wetherspoons. This is a delightful blackcurrant cider that made me giggle every time I ordered it. Top notch!!
Find yourself a Waitrose and grab a bottle or two of their delicious apple goodness. Their own brand ciders are excellent and they stock a large variety of other brands as well. They even have large boxes and bottles if you intend to share (and even if you don’t!) It is illegal to drink alcohol on public transport, so just wait until you get where you’re going. You can find a spot in a sunny park and picnic on one of your five a day!
I’m sure there are many more options, and I fully intend to carry on scoping them out. Maybe there will be a part two….if I can still see straight!