A staff guide to visiting St Albans – where we like to drink, eat, shop, and generally hang out

In case you’re more of a ‘DFL’ and have not yet been up St Albans, let us tell you that it’s only an eighteen-minute train journey from Kings Cross and is a pretty decent day out. So, if you’re wanting to get out of London this bank holiday then here’s a quick and handy little guide on where to head to first.

 

St Albans clock towerHilton1949 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Coffee: One of our favourite spots includes Charlie’s Coffee Company. Arguably the first place to bring speciality coffee to St Albans, these guys started at the train station years ago in a modest little three-wheeled van. You can now, however, catch them at their coffee counter on London Road – which is conveniently en-route from the station to the city centre. Try their Bundt and thank us later. 

Alternatively, if you’re already in town and looking to shelter from the questionable weather we’ve had lately then head to Nkora at Market Place. The usual suspect of an oat milk flat white is an absolute winner from here. Obviously offering butties and pastries too, it’s not a half bad lunch spot. Being more optimistic with the weather and presuming that the sun is shining, then grab a bottle of natty wine and head to Verulam Park. Their bottle selection is small but punchy (the Vin des Potes x Remi Pouizin is our particular favourite from their line up). Other places worth mentioning: Kiosk in The Maltings (outdoor seating), The Pudding Stop on Verulam Road and Waddington Road Coffee + Kitchen on, well, Waddington Road.

 

Hatch shop front in St Albans Photograph provided by Hatch

Brunch: If you’re a brunch kind of person then you’d do well to head to Hatch on Holywell Hill where you can tuck into some proper tasty plates. Get your chops around the Brunch Bun (Sausage meat patty, fried egg, American cheese, onion chutney and ketchup in a seeded brioche bun,) or their Chicken Waffle (Belgian waffle, chicken schnitzel, fried egg, maple syrup, butter and chilli flakes.) It’s worth mentioning that their veggie and vegan options are equally salivating. 

George Street Canteen is another gem in a really great location. Serving up not only English breakfasts but also Mediterranean and Mexican breakfasts, you’d struggle to be disappointed with whatever you choose. Our favourite to order is the Menemen Eggs (Turkish style poached eggs on a tomato and pepper stew with warm flat bread and garlic yoghurt).

Brunch at Hatch in St AlbansPhotograph provided by Hatch

Another firm favourite for brunch has to be The Potting Shed (found in Carpenter’s Garden Centre) on St Albans Road in Sandridge. Now, hear us out, because it’s not quite in town (perhaps a thirty-minute (ish) walk) and is probably better suited to those of you who have brought your road bikes up with you. However, we include it because it offers an enjoyable ‘field-to-fork’ seasonal menu using ingredients that have either been grown on site or sourced locally. It’s got a gorgeous patio with a cute view of the countryside too.

Dinner: There is no hiding the favouritism we have for Dylan’s -The Kings Arms but we’d definitely recommend you booking ahead because this fills up quickly. Their menu changes each month as they chef by season, but we recently tried their Fresh Burrata, Blood Orange, Monks Beard with Pine Nut Pesto to start followed by their Cornish Pollack, Wild Garlic Pesto, and Roasted Courgette. We’re not saying it was the best meal we’ve had in 2022 but it was the best meal we’ve had in 2022. 

Gracey’s Pizza on Watford Road (Chiswell) is arguably our favourite takeaway. Despite having only just opened in the last few months, Grace and James’ Neapolitan pizzas are to die for. They have exceptionally good taste with bespoke indoor seating as well as HAY benches on which you can wait for your food, making it hard not to love them. These guys have big plans to offer natural wines to pair in the coming few months too, so, we’ve no doubt that Gracey’s will be a regular weekend hang out for us locals – so come join us.

Pubs in St Albans

Boozers: The Boot is unquestionably where you’ll find us after work. It’s a traditional public house serving an extensive selection of real ale, fine wines, and homemade food (sister pub to Dylan’s – The Kings Arms). Their most recent menu sees them making homemade tacos from scratch with locally sourced and seasonal toppings. We promise you won’t just visit once. 

The Beer Shop on London Road, with only one sharing table inside, is a cosy spot to enjoy tap takeovers, real ales, and experimental brews. You can buy (from tap) in one or two litre sizes by one-way disposable containers or reusable growlers. Drink-in if you can find space to hunker down – or grab a tap take-home and head to the park in the sunshine to enjoy a beer with a Gracey’s Pizza! 

Don’t forget to come in and have a chat with us - we love meeting you all.

 Illustrated version of Copperfield shop in St Albans

 

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