Some claim that St Albans has the highest density of pubs out of anywhere in the UK. Whether or not this is true, one thing’s for sure: St Albans does have plenty of pubs.
Whether you’re looking for a pint, tasty pub grub, or a sunny beer garden, the options can be overwhelming. If you need help choosing, check out this list of the best pubs in St Albans.
1. Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
Having a pint at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is amongst one of the best things to do in St Albans, especially if you’re an ale lover or a history buff. In terms of drinks, a wide range of beers is served, whilst the history of the building dates back as far as 793AD.
2. The White Lion
Nestled away on the quiet terraced street of Sopwell Lane, The White Lion has the feel of a country pub. It’s a perfect place to spend an evening or afternoon, and it has one of the best beer gardens around.
We also place the White Lion as one of the best restaurants in St Albans – the food options are that good!
3. The Six Bells
A hidden gem outside of the city centre, the Six Bells is located in St Michael’s village, at the opposite end of Verulamium Park from the cathedral.
This 16th-century pub offers a regularly-changing selection of guest beers and always provides one from a local Hertfordshire brewery.
4. The Horn
Live music is the biggest selling point of this St Albans pub, with many tribute bands and local groups (including Paul Young and Enter Shikari) playing at the Horn over the past decades.
Having twice won UK Music Pub of the Year, this is a great place for music-lovers to check out. Even if you just want a drink, they also have plenty to offer at the bar.
5. The Portland Arms
Out of the many pubs located near Verulamium Park and just a short walk from the centre of St Albans, the Portland Arms is one of the nicest.
With a cosy, traditional interior, it’s the perfect place to seek shelter on a cold day.
When the sun’s out, however, it also has a fantastic beer garden with plenty of seating, both with and without shade, so it’s easy to spend hours there on a warm afternoon.
6. The Crown
In terms of options further out from the city centre, the Crown on Hatfield Road is a great option if you’re nearby and not looking to trek into town.
Live sports and events, including a regular quiz night and comedy acts, means that this pub always has something to offer.
7. The Boot
As you wander through the centre of St Albans, you’ll find a huge range of pubs and bars to stop by, but one of the quirkiest is the Boot.
Dating back to 1420, it’s one of the oldest pubs in the UK and you’ll notice this immediately from the timber frames and low ceiling that might have you craning your neck!
With a fantastic selection of beers, this historic pub is a cosy place to enjoy a drink all year round, and often patrons will spill outside to chat with the clocktower in view just down the lane.
8. The Victoria
The Victoria is one of the best sports bars in St Albans, with multiple TVs broadcasting live sporting events giving an energetic atmosphere that makes it a lot of fun to watch a game at.
Even if sports aren’t your cup of tea, The Victoria boasts a fantastic beer garden, with a sheltered courtyard providing many places to sit at any time of year.
Whether it’s sunny or raining, The Victoria provides a perfect spot to relax and socialise, and it’s a great stop if you’re planning a pub crawl in St Albans.
9. The Garibaldi
One of the more uniquely-named pubs in St Albans is the Garibaldi, a small establishment that aims to recreate a cosy Victorian charm with its many nooks and crannies.
Located on the quiet Albert Street, down which you can see St Albans Cathedral, this red brick Victorian pub offers a great spot to chill out and unwind.
There’s a small beer garden too which is perfect to hang out at in the summer. Plus, they serve Sunday roasts if you’re in need of a tasty meal out.
10. The Farmers Boy
There are several fantastic pubs along London Road in St Albans, with the Beehive being another of our favourites, but the Farmers Boy is another top pick.
One of the smaller pubs in St Albans, this establishment is a cosy spot to sit and relax with a pint or two, and they offer a range of ales on tap from across the country.
You might even be able to catch a gig, as the pub often acts as a live music venue for local bands.
Best pubs near St Albans
With plenty of beautiful countryside and picturesque villages in close proximity to the city, there are unsurprisingly many fantastic pubs near St Albans which are worth a visit, whether you’re just passing through or planning other activities nearby.
1. The Wicked Lady
A short drive north of St Albans, on the road towards Wheathampstead, you can find the Wicked Lady, a country pub that serves premium food and is a great spot for either lunch or dinner.
Named after a 17th-century highwaywoman who was active in the area, Lady Katherine Ferrers, the Wicked Lady is a popular option for locals to head to when looking for a pub just outside St Albans.
Being close to Heartwood Forest and Nomanlands, it’s the perfect option to grab some refreshments after a day of walking and exploring.
There’s also a garden with plenty of seating if you’re after some al fresco dining.
2. The Colney Fox
If you’re passing nearby to London Colney, just outside St Albans, one of the nicest pubs in this area is the Colney Fox.
With a range of great food options, it’s a perfect place to stop off at if you’re in need of a filling lunch. The signature burger is an especially tasty treat!
Being close to Willows Activity Farm and the busy Colney Fields shopping centre, the Colney Fox is one of the best options around for many people after a special meal out.
3. The White Horse
In the nearby town of Harpenden, just a short drive out from St Albans, the White Horse is a historic pub worth visiting.
Along with a great selection of drinks, including a fantastic range of wines and gins in addition to beers, you can enjoy fresh, seasonal food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
A large terrace and fire pit outside also make this pub an enjoyable place to spend time in the evening, even after the sun has set.
St Albans pub crawls
There’s no better way to check out several of the best pubs in St Albans than by going on a pub crawl. Because there are so many options in the city, you can read more in our blog on our top recommended St Albans pub crawls.
Our favourite involves stopping by the following pubs:
- The Crown has lots of seating and space to gather at the beginning of your St Albans pub crawl, along with a great selection of beer.
- The Horn is the best place in St Albans for music lovers, so make sure to stop by if you want to catch a gig and get a drink on the way to the next stop.
- The Victoria is just down the road a provides a fun and lively atmosphere for your next pint.
- Farmers Boy is a quieter establishment not far from the Victoria, so you can relax with another drink before moving on.
- The Boot is the quirkiest pub in the centre of St Albans, with a low ceiling due to its age, and is a perfect spot to conclude your pub crawl.
Best pub gardens in St Albans
When the sun is shining and you’re looking to enjoy drinks in good company, there’s no better way to do it than in a beer garden, and you’ll find many in the best St Albans pubs:
- Ye Olde Fighting Cock has a great terrace to enjoy a few drinks near the beautiful Verulamium Park.
- The Portland Arms includes a large garden with plenty of seating for large groups to mingle.
- At the White Lion you’ll find a great beer garden with both patio and grass areas, which is perfect for dogs.
- The Blacksmith’s Arms has a luscious garden with plenty of outdoor seating.
- The beer garden at the Garibaldi may be small, but the trellises and potted plants give it a cosy homey vibe.
St Albans pubs FAQs
How many pubs are there in St Albans?
Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that, as of 2018, there are 95 pubs in St Albans, although this number is on the decline.
What’s the oldest pub in St Albans?
Some consider Ye Olde Fighting Cocks to be oldest pub in St Albans. Supposedly dating back to 793AD, it claims to be the oldest pub in England, although this is disputed. The Boot is another of the oldest pubs in the UK, having been built in 1420.