Count'em: three dartboards! An embarrassment of riches in this sizeable, south-of-the-river boozer. There's one in a cramped corner by the gents, one outside and what I'd call the main board, where you're playing in the middle of the pub, directly in front of a dozen tables of seated diners. Now that's real pressure: you don't want to be trooping back after scoring seven in their full view. It's nice to see a pub putting a dart board so prominent in their pub, rather than hiding it away in some corner though.
The electronic scoreboard puts this a class above most boards. It had chalk, a blackboard and a cloth to wipe it. There's a metal groove to throw from, which felt a little close to the board at first; maybe we were a bit rusty. Given the board's location, just watch out for waitresses/punters coming and going too.
Dog stops play! But fetch your darts for a game at this traditional Irish pub.
Darts pubs in Brixton are sorely lacking, so this is a very handy find, situated at the mid-point between Stockwell, Clapham North and Brixton tube stations. Make your way down the backstreets to a road that looks very unlikely to host a pub. Here you'll find the Marquis of Lorne, a delightfully old-school bar, resolutely resisting the gentrification of South London. Enter the pub to find a long bar adorned by sullen locals. Opposite the bar is a slightly battered dartboard and well used chalkboard. The throwing area is roughly a metre away from the bar so any bounce-outs or stray throws are a threat to the peace in the pub, a situation that hit code-red when the pub dog came bounding across the oche to watch the game from beneath our feet. The sweat dripped down our faces as we carefully aimed away from the wires, an act that would have absolutely zero impact on the final position of the dart. Happily we finished our round without incident and Boxer lived to fight another day.
Fuzzy champions league
Second edition of Flight Club in Bloomsbury offering trendy darts to the masses. The saviour of darts or the death of the game? What's undeniable is that Flight Club brings something new to the pub sport and, for better or worse, a brand new crowd. There's no barflies silently watching the board before challenging you to play for money here, but tables of young male and female office workers boisterously throwing the arrows.
The games themselves are very slick, with some nice gimmicks that make the sport easy to pick up and play. Before starting the game each player must enter their name into the digital scoreboard and take an accompanying picture like at a bowling aisle. The decision of whether to sabotage opponent's pictures is of course entirely up to you. There are 4 games on offer and if you're looking for a simple match of 501, you've come to the wrong place. The games are variations on killer, 201, golf and round the clock with animations on the screen accompanying the end of each players turn. the weightings on the rounds of each game are such that one high scoring turn can effectively win the game, which keeps things interesting regardless of the different skill levels of each player. As if by magic, after each turn, the player's score is automatically calculated with no arithmetic required, which is genuinely BRILLIANT and should be giving sleepless nights to announcers up and down the country. Russ Bray, a robot just stole your job.
While its not the pure darts experience we all love (murky pub, chalky fingers, permanent threatening vibe) its a whole heap of fun and will do its best to drag darts kicking and screaming into the 21st century
Darts pub in Norwood, a stone's throw from Selhurst Park. Back of the net! but no seriously it's quite rough.
As the closest pub to Crystal Palace's stadium this is the sort of place that is rammed on a Saturday and deserted throughout the week. Go in on a Friday and there's plenty of room, a decent atmosphere and a lovely big dartboard on the wall behind the bar. On a match day the pub's only available to fans with a home season ticket and can get a bit rowdy, especially if Palace win, or if palace lose. Pray for a draw.
The board's a little battered, but in plenty of space and the screens around show the sport in the evenings and bargain hunt during the days. Drinks are cheap, just don't visit on Saturday.
Deceptively massive Sam Smiths pub in the heart of Soho, king of the darts jungle!
Despite so many pubs around in Soho south of Oxford Street, so few offer darts. Shame on you, the John Snow. Shame on you, Coach & Horse. Shame on you, O'Neills, for many reasons. Luckily the Red Lion is here to save the day. Upstairs in this busy old Sam Smith's pub you'll find a dartboard to the right of the bar, in good condition with chalkboard but no electronic scoreboard. The board is close to the bar, and in this busy pub it doesn't take for long drinkers to occupy this space with scant regard for those of us wanting to play darts ("scum, sub-human scum"). There are no flat-screen TVs to distract from the darts, and leather stools and comfortable armchairs abound, once you're tired of the arrows.
3 Sam Smiths pubs in a row in the heart of Soho and Glasshouse Stores delivers the treble 20.
Walk down Brewer Street and before you come to Glasshouse stores you'll come across 2 other Sam Smith's pubs. Knowing that Sam Smiths usually delivers the darts goods, we fancied our chances of getting a game, but the White Horse and Duke of Argyll let us down. Luckily the manager of Glasshouse Stores understands that successful London bars require arrows, and walking to the back of the groundfloor bar presents the dartboard. The board is in a little nook surrounded by tables, so be prepared to act as the entertainment for groups of Japanese tourists, perhaps wondering why the red-faced man keeps nodding and pronouncing "good D, good D". A few distractions from drinkers heading downstairs aside, this is the perfect sort of darts pub for Soho, now Sam Smiths just needs to see sense further up the road.
Confusingly named pub delivers the darts goods. Bullseye!
Helpfully there are at least 5 other pubs named The Blue Posts in central London, one within 5 minutes walk, so make sure you're friends no which one you're headed to before you meet up. The one with dartboard should be sufficient explanation, and if they don't know which one that is, then you don't need that negativity in your life.
Truth be told there are better options for darts nearby like The Champion (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/the-champion-oxford-circus) or the Bricklayers arms (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/bricklayers-arms-tottenham-court-road), but The Blue Posts is a decent back-up and can be another stop on the Oxford Circus darts pub crawl. The board is located on the far wall in the reasonably small downstairs bar, and given the limited space around it's often blocked by tables and seated drinkers. If it's not blocked it's usually busy, so The Blue Posts is an option in Fitzrovia but prepare for a long wait for a game.
A Fantastic little pub hidden awa down a side road by Liverpool Street station. William, it was really nothing...but darts!
If you find yourself in Spitalfields or Shoreditch looking for somewhere to play a spot of arrows then The Williams Ale & Cider pub should be top of your list. There's a lively atmosphere, great selection of beers and if you walk past the extended bar you'll find a dartboard at the back of the pub. It's discrete enough that you'll probably only play if you know it's there, and this manages to avoid giving the pub the sweaty old man vibe. At least until yer da enters! j/k he's toned it down recently, he's good.
The board's in good condition, although there's no oche and limited whiteboard space.
The location of the pub makes it perfect for a quick game before heading on anywhere from Liverpool Street Station, like for instance heading to the Olympic Stadium to watch Crystal Palace ineptly attempt not to concede 3 goals to the weakest West Ham side of the last 10 years. But the pub was welcoming enough that we returned after the game to lick our wounds and carry on the arrows.
After a long day shopping on Oxford Street kick back with some darts. Forget Harrods it's time for some arrows!
This deceptively large pub is hidden away on a backstreet in Fitzrovia, but is an excellent option if you're looking for a game of darts in central London. From the entrance the front room of the pub looks too small to accommodate many drinkers, but around the back of the bar is a second room with a dartboard and upstairs is further seating. The smaller bar with the dartboard has just two tables so if you're in for the long haul you're unlikely to be interrupted by pissed-up 'friends'. There are plenty of other pubs on Charlotte street more likely to attract the tourists and locals so the bars usually reasonably empty, but just one board means thats you might need to be early to get a game.
Lovely little Sam Smiths pub in the middle of theatre-land. Mamma-mia! He's finished on the bull!
Located in the middle of the Strand, the Lyceum Tavern isn't the sort of place you expect to find a darts pub, but Sam Smiths comes up with the goods once again. Though the place is filled with tourists, there's still room for a dartboard just behind the bar. Not much room, mind. The board is squeezed into a little nook, and it's placement next to the bar makes it tricky to get a game in if drinkers are taking up space on the stools. The end of the oche is reasonably close to the back entrance as well, so games can be interrupted by tourists off to the Lion King. The board is in good condition though, and with the low prices offered by Sam Smiths, it's great entertainment at fantastic value. Five stars!
Good for a game when it's not busy, but plan back-up locations.
Reliably informed that this Old Street pub had a dartboard, we made this the second stop on a darts pub crawl, but it took at least 2 full-bar reccies to locate it. Hidden away in the main room upstairs, behind the staircase, it's easy to assume that this nook serves no purpose. Incorrect. It serves the finest possible purpose. Darts.
Inside the nook is the dartboard with a thin, narrow space to throw. It's not massive, and unfortunately the large table in the room means that the board is almost certainly out of use if the table is occupied. The upstairs room leads through to a balcony which may be more popular with drinkers in the summer months than the dingy allure of the darts. The fools.
The Old Fountain (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/old-fountain-shoreditch) and Electricity Showrooms (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/electricity-showrooms-shoreditch) are valid alternatives nearby
The best place to play darts in rapidly-gentrifying Wallington.
Just across the road the Wallington Arms shows the pace of gentrification in Wallington as craft beers take over from lagers and tables are filled by couples playing Mouse Trap. Not for me, Jeff. Ok, sometimes for me, but not when I'm in the mood for darts, Jeff. So, the Melbourne is a welcome alternative. A little rough around the edges, but two dartboards in a bar where traditional pub games are still the main attraction.
Turn right once you enter the pub from the high street and you'll find the first board. On both occasions we've visited this has been obstructed by tables, so better to stick to the board to the back of the pub. Usefully out of the way, and not obstructing anyone's view of the screen this is the perfect place to play darts. Plenty of room, with a location where you can keep an eye on the sports. Plus you can get 3 drinks for under a tenner. Sold.
If you don't want to pay top dollar to pay darts at Flight Club then Electricity Showrooms offers a hipster Shoreditch alternative. It's not a good darts experience, but at least it's free.
Having been disappointed to find the board out of action at the Old Fountain (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/old-fountain-shoreditch) we entered Electricity Showrooms more than a little apprehensively. Surely this place doesn't have a dartboard. Is this some kind of Punk'd style prank where we're tricked into going to a cool bar before the art students laugh at our old man interests? But no, there it is, a dartboard opposite the stairs at the back of the bar. A poorly lit, difficult to reach, after-thought of a board. But a board nonetheless.
Located opposite the neon lightbulb peacock, it's fair to say this isn't your typical game of arrows, and the board was almost certainly intended as retro pub decoration rather than with any practical use in mind. You have to climb over the sofa to collect your arrows after each throw, and the game is frequently interrupted by barstaff emptying the recycling. However the pub is spacious enough that you can throw in peace at least and you don't have to pay for the privelege. All the while bathed in that calming neon peacock glow. You don't get that at Ally Pally.
If there's anywhere which should be reliable for dart boards, it's sports bars - even those tucked away in Covent Garden. The board is tucked away in the right corner up a few steps on a raised level, so you can watch the football on the 3 screens which dominate proceedings while you throw. It wasn't too busy, even on a Tuesday when Arsenal were labouring to a draw in the Champions League. Darts or no darts, I'd consider this for a drink when sport is on.
Arrows-wise, it's a new-ish, fresh board. It even had its own mini sponge for wiping the scoreboard, and tactics scorecards printed on the chalkboard: both nice touches. The mark is gaffer tape on the floor. Felt a touch far away, but who are we to quibble?
This is a prime, unexpected spot for a bit of darts in central London, just round the corner from the Strand, Somerset house and the theatre hubbub.
A bit like playing darts in a village hall i.e.g loads of fun
From the outside Effra Social doesn't even look like a pub let alone a darts pub. More like some students have stolen some benches and perched them ostentatiously outside their digs. Step inside and this vibe doesn't really change. Narrow corridors lead to two wood-panelled rooms, one of which is filled with student union classics: table tennis, pinball machines and table football. The other room closer to the entrance is where you'll find a slightly battered dartboard, hidden around the corner. Plenty of space to play and never too busy, with cheap drinks it's a fun place to play darts, even if it does feel like you're throwing arrows at the town hall.
A CAMRA pub of the year, but not great for darts.
The Old Fountain is a welcome antidote to the chain pubs adorning East London's streets, a pub with a real sense of identity and character. Family-owned, welcoming, close to a tube station, and best of all it's got a dartboard. But, alas, no arrows were thrown on our visit. The board is located opposite the bar in the centre of the pub. Prime position, but obstructed by tables occupied by oblivious drinkers. On a Thursday or Friday evening there's no chance of a game. We'd recommend a trip to the Horseshoe in Farringdon instead (http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/the-horseshoe-farringdon)
A peach of a pub in South East London.
Thornton Heath can be a little intimidating when looking for a quiet place for a drink. Plenty of slightly rugged looking pubs, and particularly before a matchday at Sehurst park, plenty of rowdy lads. With that in mind, the Railway Telegraph benefits from being located in the opposite direction to the Crystal Palace stadium from Thornton Heath station. Once inside the Railway Telegraph impresses again, with a modern layout, good selection of drinks, and of course a dartboard in the corner. Towards the back of the pub on a slightly raised stage you'll find the board, with a small chalkboard to the side. The area itself is a good size, with no danger of non-playing drinkers occupying the space. The only issue comes from the big screen TV placed just above the stage, which means that if other customers are trying to watch the sport then a darts match might be an unwelcome addition. So a great pub to play darts, but probably not before a big match.
Excellent railway station pub with fully stocked games room.
The Parcel Yard is a slightly surprising destination to find a dartboard. There's something about public transport and sharp flying instruments that doesn't seem to mix. So when a friend told us that this station pub had a dartboard we were more than a little dubious. But there it is. Walk down the long corridors beyond the main room of the pub and you come to a quaint little games room, complete with billiards, draughts tables and darts. The board is new and in good condition, there's plenty of space to throw and a well marked out oche. The room even comes with a retro pinball machine and HD TVs. What a treat.
The Irish tricolour flying outside and slightly run-down appearance might have you faintly threatened, but this is a very welcoming Irish tavern. A proper pub, make no mistake about it. We were handed a free half a pint - they were trialling a certain Guinness beer variation - as soon as we walked in, which is a first. The darts board is set to the corner of the room, within reaching distance of the long bar. On the downside, most of the pub can see you throw. So, it's about coping with the pressure and making sure hardened regulars don't see you throwing a 7.
There's no oche or line to throw from, but that's not a big problem in a place with a good atmosphere like this. This pub has been here for a long time - Charles Dickens apparently used to get boozed up here and even mentioned it in one of his books - and here's hoping it stays for a good while yet.
Looks like a prison, home to 2 lovely boards.
What a curious sports bar. From outside the bar looks like the inside has seen some shanking, but step through the door and the most threatening thing in sight is the Millwall shirt above the bar. The aquarium in the centre of the room gives the pub a calming glow, and all around Van Gerwen's face beams down from the television (ok, that's the scariest thing). To the left of the bar is a flight of stairs leading off to mezzanine darts area, with slightly too low ceilings. The board is reasonably modern, but the owners haven't gotten round to installing the electronic scoreboard so it hangs limply from some string on the wall.
To the right of the bar is a large function room, with a second board. On our visit this was partly obscured by tables and chairs, but would presumably be available if needed.
Ultimately we had a lovely evening throwing arrows, at least until 2 kids came up and told us that "for a couple of lads who travel London visiting darts pubs, you two are shit". A not entirely inaccurate assessment, but certainly unnecessary.
A bitch to get to, but a friendly pub full of Millwall fans.
It's not often we'll recommend a pub filled with regulars from the Den on these pages, indeed this may be the only occasion. The Hand and Marigold justifies this recommendation through a combination of top darts environment, friendly bar staff and sport on the big screens. Outside the pub is a large poster advertising the dartboard inside, a feature usually only admitted under duress. Enter the pub and to the right of the bar is a marked out oche, new dartboard and electronic scoreboard. The darts area is a clearly a draw for the pub, and the board was in action throughout a sunny Thursday evening. The toilets are located through the darts area so games can be interrupted , but the locals will apologie profusely while doing so. Just don't mention that Palace are currently two division above the Lions. Not appreciated.
Less a pub, more a car park with scout hut attached. But you've got to play somewhere, right?
Wembley isn't awash with excellent darts pubs and finding one so close to the station could be seen as a bit of a blessing. Despite what the name may suggest, First Class Sports Bar isn't a premium offering. Ahead of a major sporting event it will get crowded, the beer offering is mostly limited to lagers and the beer garden has more than a hint of Texas chainsaw massacre about it. Still, it's got a dartboard, although to be honest we didn't play, lest we hit one of the 200 half-cut Crystal Palace fans. It's probably fine for a game.
Situated just 3 minutes walk from Mornington Crescent, Sheephaven Bay is the perfect place to stop for a drink before a gig at hip music venue Koko. So when Phil Collins announces that comeback tour, don't think you won't be able to get a quick game of arrows in before he takes to the stage. No jacket required. Avoid the overcrowded pubs on Camden High Street and walk round the corner to Mornington Street for a spot of darts.
Inside the pub are two dartboards, one directly in front of you as you enter, and one on the opposite side of the U-shaped bar. The first board is in good condition but the throwing area is blocked by double sofas. A spectacular waste. Around the corner is the main board bordered by blue rubber, with a large chalk board to the side. A large TV shows the sports to the left of the board, just distracting enough to sabotage your throw as England concede a 4th at the Euros.
Large backstreet Victorian pub with darts and pool.
Sometimes a pub is great because it's got a fantastic atmosphere, sometimes it's great because its got multiple dartboards, and sometimes a pub is great because it's got Keith from hit BBC sitcom The Office (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkYUDQCYGHA). The Hollydale tavern falls into the final category. The meeting with the big man transformed a good evening into a memorable one as he wistfully informed us that he did not know of any other pubs in the area with dartboards (always in character!). Truly it was an encounter of which to tell the grandkids.
Anyway, the pub itself is a very enjoyable place to play darts with a raised platform to the left of the bar hosting the darts area, a pool table and an old jukebox. When the pool table is in use this can occasionally obstruct the arrows, so its best to make friends with the pool players before it descends into violence. There's no electronic scoreboard but a nice big chalkboard perfect for those never-ending 501 chases.
Popular West Bromwich Albion themed pub in the heart of East London.
It's more than a little surprising to find this monument to West Brom football club in the back streets of Hackney, not least that having been to West Bromwich, the locals didn't seem particularly fond of the football team in their own home town. Mind, Tony Pulis was in charge at the same time, so perhaps that's understandable.
10 minutes walk from Cambridge Heath station brings you to this cosy pub, decked out in all sorts of memorabilia from West Brom's glory years (citation needed). To the left of the bar is a small darts area, featuring a dartboard in decent nick and a slightly confusing electronic scoreboard. There's no oche on the floor so you can use your best guess for the distance. The pub does get busy, particularly on nights with big football matches and there's little space to spare so taking up the full length for a darts match is a little unfair. Well worth factoring this into your decision and trying elsewhere if a game is scheduled for that evening.All in all en enjoyable slice of the West Midlands for a game of darts in East London.
Great Young's bar takes title of best darts pub in Sutton.
When the competition for best darts pub in Sutton consists of 'the murder pub' (so named because someone was murdered there), it doesn't take a long to claim the crown. Fortunately the Robin Hood has plenty to offer besides the absence of murder. Walk through the front doors and to your left is a little nook with a modern dartboard and chalkboards all around. No electric scoreboard disappointingly but a clear oche, good lighting, and separated enough from the rest of the pub that the locals won't lean over and criticise your technique mid-throw (haha what no this never happens we're very competent). All in all, a very pleasant place to play darts, with absolutely no threat of being killed.
Crystal Palace supporters members club opposite Selhurst station.
Appearing slightly intimidating from the outside is this member's club on the walk from Selhurst station to Selhurst Park stadium. On matchdays it will be filled with Crystal Palace fans bemoaning Alan Pardew's latest ridiculous tactical innovation. On the day we visited a couple of Leicester fans had also braved the pub ahead of their glorious title premier league title victory/humiliating English batting-style late collapse (delete as applicable). Pay your £1 entry fee for non-members and then towards the back of the bar you'll find a decent condition dartboard with circular rubber outer ring. There's plenty of space to throw, an oche marked out and cheap drinks. If you can stand the Crystal palace fans and vague sense of threat (http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/Club-boss-locked-armed-raiders/story-11370427-detail/story.html) then it's well worth a visit
Half as full as every other pub in Hackney means twice the chance for darts.
Wednesday night in East London, Spurs are playing West Ham with both flying high in the table, and it's late February so there's nothing to do but go to the pub. Yet somehow the Perseverance is empty. Something must be up with this place. Violent locals? Stale scratchings? password for the wi-fi? A mystery. But the darts is fine. A decent board in good condition, plenty of space and little competition for the right to throw. While the Albion down the road gets too busy to raise your throwing arm, at the perseverance its a much calmer game.
A good darts option between Victoria and Westminster, as long as you can handle the audience.
Looking for a game of darts around London Victoria means walking a fair distance from the station into the heart of Pimlico where you'll find the White Horse and Bower. A Shepherd Neame pub on Horseferry road with one reasonably new dartboard hidden away on the far side of the bar. We visited on a Friday night and tables were at a premium which meant that the stools next to the dartboard were occupied by 4 lairy lads pre-drinking before heading out on the lash in Shoreditch. As terrifying a group of people as that sounds. Needless to say they had some forthright opinions on our game, technique and "banter". But if you can handle an audience then the Horse and Brewer is a decent place to play darts in Victoria. The darts area is big enough, the board in good nick and the bar is lively without being distracting. No electronic scoreboard on offer but the chalkboard will do.
Buzzy pub with elevated darts stage and magnificent artwork, between Borough and Southwark.
It's easy to get distracted playing darts in some pubs. Your eye might get caught by the football on tv, the drinks at the quiz machine or even the barmaid ("Lads! Lads! Lads!"). The Libertine suffers from this issuer oi but for none of the aforementioned reasons. Instead, it's the bloody massive medieval tapestry-style artwork on the wall. Located right beside the dartboard, it catches your eye as soon as you walk in, and throughout a game you'll find yourself absent-mindedly browsing the depictions of heaven, purgatory and hell. But enough about the painting, this pub is an excellent place to play darts in South London. The board is located on a little stage beside the bar, with plenty of space to throw and little chance of non-players obstructing your game. No electronic scoreboard available but a nice clean chalkboard and darts available behind the bar.
Double boards at a cosy pub in the city.
Directly across the road from the tube exit for Aldgate station is this small L-shaped pub dedicated to the darts. Both ends of the bar are dominated by dartboards, with marked-out oches and electronic scoreboards. Sofas line the side of the bar facing the board, so if you're not playing darts then you'll certainly be watching someone play darts. Most nights of the week see scheduled league matches, so turning up unannounced is unlikely to get you a game. The quality is evidently pretty high, with at least five 180s being celebrated by the players we watched. This in no way influenced our decision to walk away rather than wait and then let these lads watch our game (five...five... double one).
A battered old board in a deadly quiet bar.
There are positives and negatives to a bar being completely empty. On the plus side there's no competition for the dartboard which in busy central London is an absolute godsend. On the downside there's no buzz in the bar, no opportunities to meet people, and when the music cuts out you worry the barman might shank you. But lets focus on the positives. Just 5 minutes from Paddington overground station and Edgware road station, as you walk into this large pub the dartboard is tucked away in a nook on the right. There's no oche, no electronic scoreboard, and a huge bulge in the board expanding the 7 halfway into the 19. So not a great darts experience. but beggars can't be choosers in this neck of the woods, and the large pub would actually be quite pleasant when full of people. Just don't take your eyes off the barman.
Lovely Victorian wood-panelled pub on a quiet back road just off Edgware Road and Marble Arch. The dart board is tucked away at the back, with tables and chairs in front of it and punters given priority. Fair enough, but that means it's pot luck whether there'll be someone sitting there. Turfing them off to play would be a bit much, as it's quite a spit-and-sawdust board with no clear oche or markings
Large pub on the steps of Fenchurch Street station, offering darts upstairs, in between traffic light parties.
The third stop on our tour of Aldgate's darts pubs brought us to the Cheshire Cheese in the heart of the city. Where the previous pubs had been small and overcrowded, the Cheshire Cheese was large and comfortable, filled with casual drinkers watching the football. Upstairs you can find a single dart board and scoreboard with plenty of room.
At the time of our visits the pub was promoting it's upcoming traffic light party, which sounds like a curious affair to hold at a darts pub. Darts players need love too I suppose, and I for one, fully anticipate finding it at the Cheshire Cheese traffic light party.
City pub possessing a Dartboard, but accessing it is another matter.
Located in the heart of the city, close to Aldgate tube station the Three Lords makes an ideal starting place for darts pub crawl around Aldgate, an area blessed with an abundance of darts pubs. The issue with such a crawl is that the area is so popular that many of the boards will have been taken long before you arrive, and the board at the Three lords is equally unusable. The Three Lords is slightly different in that the board is located in the function room downstairs and in order to use this, the bar requires a barman to be present. Evidently our party looked like the kind of incorrigible scoundrels likely to abuse an unmanned bar so darts was off the menu at this gastropub.
You know what they say about books and covers? Well, you can and should judge a pub by its sign. I do it all the time, it says a lot about a place. And as soon as I saw The Ship's one, with a noble galleon and many white sails in view, I knew we were in luck - about time too. On this January night, we had visited three of Aldgate's other pubs with boards, only to find them all in use. But we're nothing if not, committed (or just bored on a Wednesday evening).
The Ship is a compact place with a longer bar downstairs and a smaller one upstairs. But it's not size that counts, it's what you do with it and there was plenty of space reserved for the darts board and an oche.
The Irish barman was alternating between serving drinks and throwing arrows himself, which is a ringing endorsement. The board wasn't free right away, there were some punters in suits practising for a league match, but they happily took us on. There's many darts pubs in London, but we've found few with such a convivial atmosphere.
The conclusion: the Ship definitely floats our boat.
A small very busy pub in the heart of the city. Not a viable option for a game.
Located a short walk from Mansion House, and equidistant between Bank and Blackfriars, The Sea Horse seems like the perfect destination in the city for a quick game of darts. Enter the pub from Queen Victoria Street and to the right of the bar is a neat corner with a decent board surrounded by red rubber. There's decent throwing distance and plenty of tables for resting your drink.
There's just one problem.
Neon sign. Empty street.All the hallmarks of a dive bar. Don't judge bars by their covers. Go inside and it's a cavernous, vaulted space with a sports bar and two darts boards, one downstairs and one up. Jackpot.
The board was good, even if the electronic scoreboard took a bit of fathoming. There's several pool tables and Sky TV (no Sky Sports though, oddly)
A modern darts pub in central London, praise be.
It's pretty rare to find a darts pub that isn't, you know, a little old-man-ish. And one in central London. And with a nice selection of beers. And showing Crystal Palace on the box! 85th minute conceded equaliser and all. Ah well, can't win them all. But, we digress. The One Tun is a very nice pub, 3 minutes walk from Goodge Street, with a dartboard in very good condition. Just behind the square bar in the middle of the pub, visible from the street is a new board with accompanying chalk board, which seems to have survived a recent refurb. The board is between the toilets and much of the seating which does interrupt play frequently.
If there's one thing that combines well, it's angry football fans and darts. With this pub in the shadows of Loftus Road that's certainly what you're going to get, because those QPR supporters don't often leave home matches in high spirits these days. But if you can live with the Queens Park Rangers faithful watching over you, then there's plenty to enjoy in this pub. 3 high quality darts boards, regular leagues, a Pool table and cheap drinks, for starters.
Located Within walking distance of 4 tube stations (Shepherds Bush Market, White City, Latimer Road, Wood Lane), there are plenty of opportunities to find yourself in the area. From the outside the pub looks a little like an old fashioned working man's club, and once inside these vibes definitely persist. On entry, the first darts board is directly in front of you, often surrounded by locals. Venture further in, beyond the bar and a second board is next to the pool table, with a third board around the corner. All 3 boards are in good nick, no electronic score words unfortunately but good game conditions, with a built in Oche.
This homely boozer is a stone's throw from Shepherd's Bush but tucked away under an underpass and hidden from the commotion of the roundabout. It's a spacious place, with a long bar, backing onto a cobbled mews. It's hard to miss the darts board, by the pool table in a back room adjacent to the bar. The stand-out feature is that this gaff has got an oche - a 15-foot, hefty carpeted piece of wood that's leaning up against the board. It'll take two of you to move it into place, but no more wondering where to throw from!
The board itself is in good condition - don't think we had a single bounce-out - surrounded by a big tyre for any errant shots that miss the board (we had a few). Only downside: the chalk was down to its very last nubs and there were no new pieces available.
The pub wasn't empty, but not busy on the Wednesday evening we were there. A good little find if you want to go West.
We're a mile and a half away from Emirates and you certainly know about it here. This pub is Gunners through-and-through; there's about 20 photographs of Arsenal players through the ages holding trophies aloft to the side of the darts area. If Mauricio Pochettino fancies a game of arrows, not a good idea to do it here.
Past the long bar and a few venerable locals chatting to the barmaids - it was pretty quiet when we arrived at 9pm on a Tuesday night - there's a dedicated darts board; we just had to move a table and chairs out of the way to get at it. The board itself has seen better days, with a few white smears and roughed up damage to some beds causing a few bounce outs, but nothing too bad.
Two stand-out features to report: a clear red line of masking tape on the floor (well, this is an Arsenal pub) marking out where to throw from. Good idea. Secondly, we've never seen such a big blackboard area for scoring - about three times the space of usual ones. If you're feeling lazy - and we were - you can just score in different parts of it for different games, rather than having to laboriously wipe off the old one. Result.
Tucked away on a side road a few minutes off the main Angel thoroughfare, this is an unpretentious haven from the nearby busy bars and pubs. Don't be put off by any thrash metal - as we nearly were, thinking we'd strolled into a Satanic bunker - playing, it soon turns out the place has a cracking free and varied jukebox. The barmaid and regulars by the bar were friendly, which scores points in our book. Pints were about £4.60, probably par for the course around London nowadays, sadly.
The darts board has its own space in the other room through the bar area, the only downside being that it backs onto a pool table. If someone wants to throw a dart and play pool at the same time, it just ain't gonna happen.
The board itself is good quality - very few bounce-outs - and there's chalk provided and spaces for scoring, as well as a jug full of darts for anyone who's forgotten their arrows.
It was quiet. But almost too quiet. We played on a Tuesday night and the pub was literally empty when we left. Some might find this place a bit spit-and-sawdust; we quite liked the down-to-earth vibe. Oh, and bonus points for a decent, vaguely fresh pub name.
The perfect darts pub, the standard against which all others shall be measured.
As our local for three years, the Nightingale holds a special place in our hearts. This pub got us through some tough times, it saw blood, sweat and tears, and we both grew together, us and the pub. But it's not just history that keeps us fond of the Nightingale. It's also a mighty fine place to play darts. Situated on a side road between Clapham and Balham, the pub isn't completely off the beaten track, but given the multitude of bars on the high street, it's unlikely many drinkers find themselves there by chance. Once inside the pub the darts board is found to the right of the bar in an open space perfect for throwing. The area is far enough out of the way that you're not interrupted by punters walking past, but the area is large enough to chalk up and rest your drinks. The board is replaced frequently and the chalkboard is clean. Lack of an electronic scoreboard the only black mark against it's name.
In the beer garden behind the pub you can find a second board, which truth be told is very much the back-up option. hidden away around a corner (with the outdoor stockroom) the board is slightly too high and the area too cramped for comfort. Not too mention the withering looks from the young families enjoying the sunshine. And the fact that outdoors boards just aren't the same, wind turning your 180s into 26s
Lively pub in the shadow of the Shard, overshadowed by better darts venues in the area.
Just 3 minutes from London Bridge station, this bar has an enviable location, and is permanently crowded with locals and South London workers. Inside the pub, to the right of the bar stands the darts board, slightly battered and unloved but with a rare clear space in the pub. Far enough inside that on a warm summer's day punters ignore the space in favour of cooler areas. Much to the sunlight-avoiding darts lover's delight.
The space is unfortunately on the route to the gents, so games can be interrupted by the steady flow of lads. The pub can get a little too crowded and rowdy for darts to be an enjoyable experience, and with the dual boards of the Sheaf nearby in London Bridge this isn't the pick of venues for a game of arrows in the area.
The Hipster's darts pub of choice, in the heart of Farringdon.
It's not often that you come across a craft ale pub with a dartsboard, it's even less frequent to find a craft ale pub with 3 dartsboards, table tennis tables and board games in central London. Thank god for the Old China Hand.
Around 10 minutes walk from Farringdon station the pub is busy enough to remain open but by no means full on a Thursday night. Towards the rear of the bar is the first darts area, with 2 boards and a foam oche that you can construct and lay yourself. This area also doubles as the table tennis space, there's only room for one sport at a time, so get here early to fight off those troublesome ping pongers. There's a small chalkboard and a malfunctioning electronic scoreboard to complete the space.
Upstairs in the function room is the final dartsboard, which again is competing for space with a table tennis table. As long as tabletennislondon.co.uk doesn't catch wind of this pub, we'll be fine.
A hidden dartboard provides one of Camberwell's few boards.
Having lived in Camberwell for nearly a year I had been desperately searching for my local dartsboard without much luck. Peckham and Clapham seemed to offer the closest options, despite several recommendations that the Camberwell Sun could answer my prayers. I'd made numerous trips to the sun of Camberwell, a lovely pub in it's own right, but on each had failed to spot the board right in front of me. Right in front of me, but hidden behind the wooden flaps.
Upon entering the pub, the board is on a wall to the right, usually hidden behind the wooden flaps of the scoreboard. It's a reasonable home for the board in the room, but bizarrely the owners have placed a large sofa and table directly under the board, in the line of throw. So to enjoy a game of darts, you need to first hope that nobody has snapped up this prime spot in the pub, secondly lug the table out of the way, and finally lean over the sofas to retrieve your darts. It's almost as if the board is just decoration, and was never intended to be used. Still, it's a board in Camberwell, can't be too picky...
A small, friendly pub near the station, featuring a peculiar raised darts area.
The Carpenters Arns is one of the closest pubs to Kings Cross & St Pancras stations, the reason that we arrived at its doors, but the pub has plenty going for it once you've made it inside. The main purpose of the bar seems to be as a darts venue, with nightly league fixtures and a very prominent darts area. To the right of the bar is a raised triangle housing the oche, board and chalkboard. Playing on the darts board makes you the focus of the entire pub, so you'd better hope that the trebles are flowing ("20, 5, 1, your turn").
As Peckham's gentrification spreads Canavan's remains one of the few darts options in the area.
We ended up in Canavan's on a Friday night having intially planned to spend the evening throwing arrows in the Prince Albert on Bellenden Road. Reliably informed by the website that the Prince Albert boasted a pool table and darts board we left disappointed that gentrification had robbed Peckham of another darts pub, replaced by the financial lure of dining tables. We headed on to the White Horse by Peckham Rye, but were once again thwarted, this time by Karaoke night. A much more reasonable excuse, you'll agree.
Which left us walking back up Rye Lane, and so we came to canavan's pool club. A large chalk sign outside reliably informed us that we could play darts inside. So in we headed.
It doesn't feel like heading into a darts pub. It feels like walking into a backyard DVD sale, and once you're through the corridor it's like being at a school disco before anyone turns up. A little smoky, in a large empty room, with the pool hall through double doors at the far end. The board is on the wall opposite the bar, beside posters advertising the club night for Neoal. Very battered, a little difficult to see even with the overhead lamp on, but undeniably a playable board. Multiple Oches on the floor and no chalk behind the bar, so it's not the best game of darts you'll play. But it''l do. It'll do.
A fantastic classy pub in the heart of Clapham old town.
Central Clapham can be a tricky place to find a board for a quick game of darts. To the south you'll find the always excellent Nightingale, and to the North there's options in Brixton and an abundance in London Bridge. Yet the area around Clapham common is a little under-served. Which makes The Bobbin all the more of a gem.
Situated a little away from the hustle and bustle of Clapham high street, down a residential street, you're unlikely to stumble upon The Bobbin by chance, but it's well worth seeking out. Upon entry you're presented with the long bar. To the left a seating area, and to the right a decent sized nook with a darts board and one table.
The board itself isn't in the best condition, could do with replacing, and is flanked by chalkboard on the doors, although not particularly massive chalkboard. Darts available on request behind the bar.
A final resort, saved by its great location.
There's one massive factor in the positives column for the Globe: It's position in London. Situated on Berdale street, it is the closest pub to London Bridge station containing a darts board, and given the mass of commuters and tourists travelling through London Bridge each day, this is a very useful place to be. Adding to this, it's right on the edge of Borough Market. The perfect stop-off after a morning feasting yourself on cured meats and scallops (or whatever).
In the Negatives column is the fact that this, simply, is not a darts pub. The board survives here for now, but it can't be too long before it is dispensed with altogether. Positioned to the left of the bar as you walk in, would be the perfect place, but for the tables and chairs placed directly beneath it. Given the popularity of the pub afforded by the aforementioned location, this table is highly likely to be occupied. Meaning darts is off the cards for another evening, unless you feel like charming some punters out of their seats.
Another great Sam Smiths option in the heart of Fitzrovia
Set a little off the manic hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, The Champion offers a night of arrows to anyone looking for a game in the centre of town. Soho is over run with great boozers for darts, North of Oxford Street though is a little sparse. Which makes The Champion all the more welcome. The pub isn't the largest indoors but has plenty of standing space outside, perfect for those long sumner evenings.
The darts board is peculiarly set in a little cubby hole to the right of the bar. This unusual position doesn't negatively affect the throw, although the adjacent ladies toilet do provide frequent interruptions. The board is in decent condition, the chalkboard well kept and plenty of back up darts were provided behind the bar. All in all a pleasant darts experience.
Serviceable location for an afternoon's darts, but head elsewhere in Earlsfield once the game's over.
We ended up in the Grosvenor by accident one Sunday after the nearby Country House promised a darts board on it's website but left us cruelly disappointed. Luckily the Grosvenor Arms delivered, the afternoon was not wasted. The pub consists of 3 separate rooms arranged around a central bar. To the left of the bar once you walk in is the darts room, complete with 2 extra tables and standard-issue old time photo-montage of regulars getting shitfaced. The board, it's safe to say, has seen better days, with the wires protruding far from the cork. That said, bounceouts were few and far between. Beside the board is an electronic scoreboard, missing but a few of the original buttons. The chalk board similarly was in need of a good clean, difficult to make out who was closer to finishing over the scrawled "DART BANDIT" message.
A secluded old pub off the beaten track in Croydon, lively atmosphere, friendly locals.
On the corner of Lower Coombe Street and West Street in South Croydon you'll find The Surrey Cricketers, a pub you're unlikely to find unless you know to look for it, but one that offers an accomodating darts experience for anyone lucky enough to stumble through its doors. Upon entering the premises visitors are greeted with a long bar, to the left of which lies the 'games' area of the pub. In a little room adjoining the bar hangs a darts board in reasonable condition and a pool tbale - useful for breaking up a long session of darts (should the arrows not be flying smoothly). The pool table isn't often in use but when this does occur it can be a little obstructive to the darts game
Book ahead to secure the private room at this conveniently positioned boozer between Liverpool Street, Moorgate & Old Street.
Don't expect to just turn up at the Flying Horse on a work night and start throwing darts. This is a great venue for a long session at the Oche, but it's popularity means that a little forward-planning is required. The pub is comprised of a large bar downstairs filled with TVs and tables and a small room upstairs, separated from the main room of the bar, reachable via a staircase by the door. The two dartsboards are located in the upstairs room, with no board downstairs which seems a waste, given the ample room and clear popularity of the boards. The darts area contains additional tables and parallel boards making it perfect for a little 4-way tournament. The lack of an upstairs bar requires heading back into the main room to pick up drinks, but prevents interruption from other punters.
The boards are in good nick, and there's more than enough room for a comfortable throw.
Double board fun, close to London Bridge
London Bridge is an area filled with great (and not so great) Darts Pubs, not least the nearby Prince Albert, so it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. The Sheaf does a decent job in this respect, offering an alternative experience to the more relaxed settings of its many rivals. Located underground in the vaults of the Hop exchange on Southwark street, walking in feels like heading down to a dodgy student bar, god knows what WKD-fuelled atrocties await. In reality you come upon a large open space, filled with office workers, TVs blarign out Eurosport and a disappointing lack of 'Pound-a-pint Night!' posters.
On your left after you walk in is a little alcove hosting side-by-side dartsboards. The proximity of the boards and the separation from the rest of the pub accomodates a decent atmosphere for darts players, although the space is a little too small for many more than 4 players. Given the large groups filing in at 6pm on weekdays, the best time for a game can come later in the evening once the crowd has dispersed.
The boards the,selves are in good nick, and accompanied by a slightly bizarre long thin chalk board, positioned in the line of flight, disrupting the flow for quick throwers.
A fantastic pub for a drink in trendy Brixton, not so perfect for a quick game of darts.
Lambeth is not an area blessed with great darts pubs. Rumours that the council had banned dartsboards in drinking premises proved unfounded, yet still you've got a very tough job on your hands to find an adequate darts pub in this corner of South West London. The Trinity Arms then, stands out amongst the large number of drinking holes in Brixton as a very nice pub which happens to also allow a cheeky game of Arrows. Yet still we wouldn't recommend it. To be honest the dartsboard here feels like it's on its last legs. Not in terms of quality of the board. More in the sense that it feels out of place in a smart pub, filled with a buzzing crowd, who simply aren't interested in the sport of kings (what do you mean its not the....nevermind).
With its proximity to Brixton academy, many times we'd visited this pub before a gig, and yet I was disbelieving when informed that it actually housed a board. Not once had I seen the board in use, and obviously this is the first thing that should be clocked when walking into a bar. And yet there the board is, tucked away in a corner outside, empty once again. Outside board are not to everyone's taste, wind often playing havoc with the flight of the darts, and really only a valid option for 3 or 4 months of the British summer.
A fantastic darts pub for those who come prepared, more difficult for impromptu evening sessions.
Located a couple of minutes away from Farringdon on the edge of the city, this bar is a lovely little find. Downstairs there's a single board, quite close to the buzzy open area of the pub. If that sort of spectatorship gives you the yips then maybe its best to hed upstairs to the function room. For this, is where the true play occurs.
With five available boards, it is to darts what Hackney Marshes is to football. That is, a chaotic home to some dreadfully low quality matches. Each board has its own oche, electronic scoreboard and decent lighting. The boards are all in decent condition and there's even a dock to plug in your tunes, should you agree with your fellow players on an appropriate soundtrack. Just no 'Chase The Sun'. Please.
Cosy isolated pub near Euston/Kings Cross, Darts board available but unlikely to remain
Hidden away in the middle of Tolmers Square, this pub springs upon you just as you're convinced you've turned down the wrong alley into the wrong estate on the wrong night. A fairly unlikely location might be the reason the place has been reasonably empty on each visit, but as we all know this can make an evening's arrows all the better.
The decor is modern but friendly with hanging lampshades creating a relaxed vibe. The Darts board is on the far wall, not hidden away, and surrounded by plenty of chalkboard for scoring.
Quiet unassuming pub within walking distance of Brick Lane.
Boasting two boards and a convenient location this is a tidy little pub to keep in mind if ever you find yourself in need of a drink before a Brick lane Curry. Downstairs the bar was more crowded with tables than punters on our visit, which made the board a little inaccessible, and can only imagine it would have been worse on a busy night. The boards in the pub seem like a bit of an afterthought, positioned wherever there was space, rather than in a carefully thought out position. That said, we'll never criticise a board being squeezed into a pub that would have otherwise been dartless (and thus soulless).
The Upstairs board is curiously placed overlooking the stairs and next to the open kitchen. This makes ascending the staircase a trial of avoiding bounce-outs and unreliable drunkards. An inconveniently positioned pillar breaks up the flow of play, but is at least home to an electronic scoreboard. All is forgiven, pillar. Provided you don't mind an audience of board kitchen staff this is otherwise a perfectly fine board for play.
A decent board in the tourist heavy reaches of Piccadilly Circus, beware the alarmed bar
Piccadilly circus isn't an area known for its abundance of darts boards, the presence of one sets the Comedy Pub aside from the other tourist traps nearby. Visitors to London flock to destinations offering the authentic London experience, but for someone reason pubs latching on to this seem to ignore the true tradition of getting fleeced by a local who was throwing 26's in the practice round. All this makes the Comedy club a welcome addition to Darts London. Placed upstairs in a corner beside the bar, the board isn't the newest but is in reasonable condition and perfectly adequate for a quick lunchtime throw. Speaking of which, there's an added element to keep lunchtime matches interesting. The 1st floor bar isn't in use during lunchhours, drinks must be purchased from the groundfloor bar. A mild inconvenience. The 1st floor bar is thus alarmed, should some sneaky wrong'un try and pinch themselves a drink, meaning that if you rest your drink on the bar during play, the alarm rings loud and true. A mildly shocking inconvenience
A wander away from the busy, beaten track of Croydon High Street brings you to this overpass-adjacent drinking establishment. You can't miss the darts board when you walk in. Its electronic scoreboard and regular availability are immediate bonuses, and it's a five-metre wander to the bar: you can pretty much order a beer while throwing 180 (we wish). Prone to a few bounce outs and if you bring a big party of friends or darters, it's a bit of a tight squeeze around the ochre mind.
Sam Smiths once again delivers a central darts pub, frequently busy but board is nicely tucked away
Tucked away in a corner behind the bar it can be easy to not realise that this pub even has a board at all. The slightly inconvenient location means that this area is free of drinkers (if not players) in a frequently busy watering hole mid-way between Charing Cross and Leicester Square. The board itself is in reasonable condition, and is by all accounts regularly replaced. The long thin space that the darts area is confined to can slow down games when players can’t simply move away to the side post-throw but must walk back down past the Oche.
Cracking electronic scoreboard. That’s about all it's got going for it.
One board, and it’s a bit of a shocker. This shabby board looks like it hasn’t been replaced since the pub opened, so it’s a bit of an ‘experience’ playing on it. The red bullseye has turned yellow and the green bull a fetching creamy number. “It’s like the board‘s wearing its away kit” my opponent commented. The cork is worn down heavily, and bounce-outs frequent. One redeeming feature is found in the electronic scoreboard, which while not particularly modern, is always a welcome addition. The board is placed in a shortcut to the beer garden, so expect unassuming punters to wander through games, risking blindness from yours darts of fury. But at least there’s plenty of shelves for resting your drink during games. Pulled it back at the end there, Stag & Hounds!
A small bizarrely laid-out Sam Smiths pub just off Soho with one battered board but friendly bar staff and lively post-work crowd
Just the one darts board in the pub, located in one half of the downstairs bar, which, helpfully, is inaccessible from the other half of the bar without navigating the garden or returning to the street to find the other unmarked entrance to the pub. If there’s one thing to be said for Sam Smith’s pubs it’s that hiring Salvador Dali to design the pub layouts was foolish.
A further oversight in The Angel is the placement of the board right next to the toilets, so that games are frequently interrupted by small-bladdered men and staff doing lines off the sink (editor: unfounded and libellous). If you can get past this, there’s a fair amount of space around the board and plenty of tables for resting drinks during play, making for enjoyable darts experience. The board itself was fairly battered with plenty of bounce-outs when we first played but has since been replaced.
This could be the one. The best darts pub in London. If it just had a few more boards, then this gem of a boozer could take top honours
There's only one darts board. But what a board. In this nice spacious pub, it stands, tucked around a corner, complete with lots of chalkboards, electronic scoreboard and plenty of spare darts. The location means that there’s very little interruption from other drinkers/bar staff/wrong-uns, and there are tables all around for placing your ale/lager/cherry lambrini during play
An atmospheric, historic Sam Smiths boozer with hidden away board
The board's about as easy to find as a chatty stranger on the Tube. It’s located at the very back of the pub, hung on the fire exit - great for darts fans, at least until an inferno starts raging. The board has seen better days, with one or two bounce outs, but it does the job. This is probably better for a casual throw with mates on a whim than a serious match. Bring your own arrows too, as there’s no darts behind the bar.