47 Chandos Place (off William IV Street) Covent Garden London WC2N 4HS
Now that the word about the Harp has begun to spread – most obviously, since real ale devotees CAMRA made it their national pub of the year for 2010–11 – regulars at this long-established Covent Garden local have been joined by beer pilgrims from all over the world. A short walk east of Trafalgar Square, on a handy backstreet route between the West End and the river, it’s only a small place, refreshingly free of TV and music, with a relaxed upstairs space to complement the convivial main bar. Eight busy handpumps offer a changing cross-section of little-known British brews, such as Hepworth’s Dark Horse, Mighty Oak’s Oscar Wilde, Twickenham Fine Ales’ Strange Brew, and Thornbridge’s Jaipur. And it’s not just the ale that’s real; they also serve ‘real cider’, and even what they call ‘real sausages’, with three or four different meaty options daily.