Stumbling in from your exhausting walk on Hampstead Heath, The Bull & Last is the perfect stopgap for much-needed refreshment and R&R. Housed in a 19th century coaching inn it delivers on the quintessential British pub drinking experience. Run by a team young enough to make us feel rather old, they have injected their enthusiasm and energy into an otherwise quiet suburb of North London. The bar snacks are temptation enough (crispy buttermilk chicken with aioli floats our boat) but book in for some serious pub grub; the hare ragu pappardelle is a winning start.
With the feel of a country pub in the city you can feel like you’re stepping in to your local in the Cotswolds. Dogs are welcome in the downstairs bar area and what with all the animal heads mounted on the wall you might wish you’d worn your plus fours. Just as good for a beer with mates in the rustic bar or a long lunch with the in-laws in the smarter restaurant upstairs (highchairs are provided on both floors), expect a friendly welcome and settle in for an afternoon. If you can’t get a table they offer a takeaway service filling hampers with beer battered fish and home-made ice-cream to take all the pain away from organising your own picnic on the heath. Bravo.