One of London's oldest pubs is Old Dr. Butler's Head, a Dickensian spot named after a quack who claimed to cure epilepsy by firing pistols next to his patients' craniums. Located near the financial district, it's favored by brokers and barristers who pack in for pints of Shepherd Neame, said to be the first beer brewed in England.
A friendly new brewpub with old roots is The Porterhouse, owned by a family of Irishmen. Built on a World War II bomb site, it stocks 120 bottle beers and nine on draught. But don't ask for a Guinness; the owners brew their own Irish stouts.
By the way, tipping is discouraged in conventional pubs. Instead, buy the barman a drink when you order, as in, "I'd like a bitter, a lager, and one for yourself." And if you're with a pal or a group, don't just pony up for your own drink. Pub etiquette holds that you always buy a round.
"Barman, another round. And one for yourself."
LONDON BAR BEAT
Savoy Hotel, Strand; 011-44-207-836-4343
15 Selwood Terrace; 011-44-208-749-1291
Claridge's, 55 Brook St.; 011-44-207-629-8860
89 Westbourne Park Rd.; 011-44-207-221-5400
35 Earlham St.; 011-44-207-240-2662
33 Black Friars Ln.; 011-44-207-213-0740
18 Wilton Row; 011-44-207-235-3074
Lanesborough Hotel, 1 Hyde Park Corner;
37-38 Margaret St.; 011-44-207-499-3443
Old Dr. Butler's Head,
Masons Avenue off Coleman St.;
150 Notting Hill Gate; 011-44-207-221-2442