Lots of responses here but not just for the beers. London is a big place, mind…
absolutely agree there’s quite often a tradeoff between atmosphere and selection, as chairman_lmao says
There’s taprooms all over the place, from Beavertown, Pressure drop and verdant up in Tottenham, to a dozen or so on the ‘Bermondsey beer mile’. Then there’s kind of bigger bottle shops, like Mother Kelly’s (vauxhall + Bethnal green) and the wonderful Beer Merchants Tap in Hackney Wick.
My favourite “group” of pubs are owned by the Graceland group - they have the Earl of Essex (Angel), The Axe (Stoke Newington), The Kings Arms (Bethnal Green) which are all superb, and actual pubs and not taprooms. Then there’s the people behind The Euston Tap, Waterloo Tap, Raven/tower bridge tap, which are all fine. (They don’t do schooners though, so…)
Otherwise a few other assorted favs of mine, which have both good beer and a good vibe are - Southampton Arms, Kentish Town (best pub in London obviously), Exmouth Arms (Exmouth Market), The Fountain (Old Street), Duke’s Head (Highgate), Rose & Crown (Kentish Town), Brave Sir Robin (Crouch Hill). You can tell I’m in North London eh.
Oh also these Beer+Burger places that have popped up in Kings Cross and Dalston are surprisingly good according to the TV