Top five real ale pubs in London

There's only so much overpriced, overly strong continental lager that a man can take. So, with the biting winter winds forcing us to seek refuge, we recommend our favourite ale fancying havens in the capital.

1. Ye Olde Mitre Tavern: Widely recognised as the top dog when it comes to real ale London pubs, as a punter here you can expect top tap regulars such as Deuchars and Adnams as well as frequently changing guest beers. (1 Ely Court, Holborn, EC1N 6SJ; 020 7405 4751)

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2. Carpenter’s Arms: This boozer is fantastically located just off Brick Lane. It was bought by the Kray twins in 1967 for their mum, and offers an intimate, traditional environment inside, with a heated garden at the back. Beers include four Dorothy Goodbody ales from Hereford's Wye Valley Brewery and two Adnams bitters. (73 Cheshire Street, Bethnal Green, E2 6EG; 020 7739 6342)

3. Jerusalem Tavern: Cosily shabby, the Jerusalem Tavern serves the sought-after ales of Suffolk's St Peter's brewery. Expect the likes of Suffolk Gold, Grapefruit, Cinnamon & Apple, and Organic. An open fire makes this establishment a perfect place to unwind - with a pint (obviously). (55 Britton Street, Clerkenwell, EC1M 5UQ; 020 7490 4281)

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4. Royal Oak: If it’s Lewes brewery Harveys that you seek, then look no further than this traditional, cheap gem. Mild, Pale, Old, Best and Armada ales are all under £3, and cider lovers are also catered for with Thatcher’s heritage and Weston’s Stowford Press. You can also expect a classic, hearty menu of game pie, Lancashire hotpot and braised lamb shank. (44 Tabard Street, Borough, SE1 4JU; 020 7357 7173)

5. White Horse: Extremely popular, and for good reason, this SW6 establishment offers an impressive selection of beers - anything from six to eight cask ales - to choose from at any one time, and regular favourites include Adnam's Broadside, Harvey's Best Bitter, Rooster's Yankee and JHB. (1-3 Parsons Green, SW6 4UL; 020 7736 2115)

Words by Tom Ford