Last Updated on November 22, 2022 by Wandering our World

Sitting in the the borough of Hertfordshire, Watford is home to a wealth of fun evening venues from traditional British pubs to fun cocktail bars.

Known as the home of the Harry Potter studios, this town has more going on for non-magical folk than you might think and its nightlife scene is buzzing with potential.

That includes bars where you can play beer pong and shuffleboard, to classy cocktail spots where you can take part in masterclasses and learn the art of becoming a mixologist.

So if you’re looking for a night out, look no further than our favourite pubs and bars in Watford!

CONTENTS:

  1. The Best Cocktail Bars In Watford
  2. Best Bars For Entertainment
  3. The Best Pubs In Watford For Food
  4. The Best Traditional Pubs In Watford

Bartender stirring cocktail with a spoon
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The Two Best Cocktail Bars In Watford

1. Steinbeck & Shaw

Fun, sociable cocktail bar with party packages and cocktail masterclasses

The place to be for a social gathering, Steinbeck & Shaw offers a brilliant cocktail menu to suit every taste.

Their range of cocktails brings to your tastebuds everything from sweet to sour, classic to signature. A delicious favourite amongst locals includes the Rhubarb & Custard sour – that’s JJ Whitley Vanilla Vodka, Edinburgh Gin, rhubarb & ginger, lime and rhubarb syrup!

The look and feel of the place offers a social vibe, with long tables and big open spaces perfect for socialising with your group or getting close to some new friends.

The venue is colourful and open, and you can take the opportunity as the night goes on to even play ping pong or get another round in!

And for an alternative night out, why not book a cocktail masterclass and learn how to make your very own delicious cocktails? Or if you’re after even more for your evening why not get a Steinbeck & Shaw party package with exclusive table service? Make the night your own at what is easily one of the best cocktail bars in Watford.

Address: 127 The Parade, Watford WD17 1NA, UK

Opening Times: Thurs 18:00-01:00, Fri-Sat 18:00-02:00

Expert barman is making cocktail at a bar.
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2. Slug & Lettuce

Chain bar offering a unique cocktail list, cocktail masterclasses and an all day menu

The Slug & Lettuce offers a sophisticated cocktail experience. Surrounded by tasteful contemporary decor, the beautiful foliage across the walls and ceiling make for a special setting.

A newer feature on The Parade in Watford, the Slug & Lettuce is a fantastic venue for celebrating a special occasion. You can enjoy drinks and food at most times of the day and evening, including sharing plates served on triple tiered serving plates.

And drinks-wise there’s something to suit everyone with an around-the-world menu and a fantastic cocktail list.

The unique cocktails they serve makes this place one of the most popular bars in Watford, and a unique favourite is the signature “Under the Sea”. That consists of Hendrick’s neptunia gin, blue curaçao, coconut syrup, lime juice and schweppes lemonade topped with an edible mermaid tail.

This goldfish bowl style drink is one of many unique and magical cocktails you’ll get here that will make your visit a night to remember.

The Slug & Lettuce is another bar offering a cocktail masterclass experience too, perfect for parties. While their 2 for 1 cocktail offers are sure to entice you into a good evening.

Address: 66-68 The Parade, Watford WD17 1AH, UK

Opening Times: Mon-Wed 12:00-23:30, Thurs 12:00-00:30, Fri 12:00-01:00, Sat 10:00-01:00, Sun 10:00-11:30

bartender making cocktail
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The Five Best Bars In Watford For Entertainment

1. O’Neill’s Watford

Conveniently located entertainment-focused pub perfect for big get-togethers with occasional live music

If you’re looking for some of the best pubs and bars in Watford and you’re keen on something to do, take a seat in the relaxing pub atmosphere of O’Neill’s Watford.

There are plenty of entertainment options to take part in here, including the latest sporting events shown live on TV as well as occasional live music. With ample seating inside and out, and found right next to Watford Junction station, O’Neill’s is the perfect place to stop off for a bite to eat or enjoy an evening out.

The long bar offers multiple beers on tap, and there’s a great food menu on offer too. Enjoy a range of options from their main menu as well as a buffet menu and even a bottomless brunch menu if you fancy it!

As well as live sports and music nights you can enjoy DJ sessions and karaoke nights here, making it one of the best bars in Watford for entertainment too.

So take advantage of their full drinks menu including cocktails, buckets, spirits and mixers, prosecco, beer, cider, fizz and wine, and soft drinks and have a fun night out!

Address: Station Rd, Watford WD17 1ET, UK

Opening Times: Sun-Thurs 09:00-00:00, Fri-Sat 09:00-01:00

guitar player at a live music show
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2. Cother Arms

Traditional looking pub with modern updates and fun activities like live music and quiz nights

Offering some fantastic entertainment including live music, DJ and Quiz nights as well as a private function room to hire. Cother Arms is another fantastic spot considered one of the best pubs and bars for entertainment in Watford – they even have bingo nights!

Run by Craft Union Pub Company, this traditional looking British pub with a down to earth interior has some fantastic modern twists. Check out the area dedicated to pool and darts with large screens playing the latest in sport. Enjoy being served by great staff and take in the design of the place.

You can find a good choice of food, drink and activity here, as well as all of the above being good value for money.

Address: 188-192 St Albans Rd, Watford WD24 4AT, UK

Opening Times: Mon-Sat 11:00-23:00, Sun 12:00-23:00

Racked and ready billiards balls.
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Trygve Finkelsen

3. Boom Battle Bar

The ultimate combination of group games in a sociable modern bar!

More like a games arcade with a bar, Boom Battle Bar offers a truly unique bar experience.

Choose from a range of games to play with your group including American Pool, Augmented Reality Batting Cage, Augmented Reality Darts, Axe Throwing, Beer Pong, Shuffleboard and Crazier Nolf – mini golf, sort of.

This crazy combination of games in a funky modern bar with neon lighting and caged off areas is a hotspot for parties and friendly get-togethers.

Boom Battle Bar has gained a fun reputation in town, and with the amount of activities going on here its no surprise its regarded as one of the best bars in Watford.

You can also order a delicious range of light bites to enjoy as you play, including chicken or cauliflower wings, whilst the drinks selection promises to get the party going with delicious cocktails and cocktails on offer alongside an array of spirits, beers and ciders. Whatever the occasion, this is the ideal hangout for a fun night.

Address: Atria Shopping Centre, 1 Charter Pl, Watford WD17 2AU, UK

Opening Times: Sun-Thurs 12:00-22:00, Fri-Sat 12:00-00:00

Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/ViewApart

4. Walkabout, Watford

Fun, lively bar with late night DJs on the weekends and VIP packages

This chain bar offers a degree of reliability when looking for somewhere to enjoy a good time with mates. One of the best bars for entertainment, Walkabout offers the standard live sports on their big HD screens as well as themed party nights with VIP packages.

A funky interior and fully stocked spirit selection makes this a hotspot for young adults to gather in the evenings, especially as it’s known for a good party, so you can enjoy deals on your drinks with a menu serving a vast array of delicious cocktails and more.

There are even regular themed nights like “Surf’s Up Saturday” with a DJ from 9pm to get your evening started right. And if you’re hungry and fancy a burger, tasty nachos or even some wings, Walkabout has got you covered with their menu of fun snacks, sharers and treats.

Address: 76 High St, Watford WD17 1AW, UK

Opening Times: Sun-Weds 12:00-00:00, Thurs 12:00-01:00, Fri-Sat 12:00-02:00

two cocktails on a bar
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Alessandro Biascioli

5. The One Crown

Old traditional British Pub with a fantastic live music scene

If you’re after a traditional pub in Watford known for a fun time, then this Grade II listed building with timber frames is the picture-perfect quintessentially British pub complete with beer garden.

The One Crown, built in the 1500s, was originally an inn that catered for the coach trade of the time. This impressive pub still stands today with a fresh renovation that shows off the building’s historic assets such as the fireplaces and brickwork.

Enjoy your choice of drink from a range of craft beers, real ales, lagers, wine, spirits and cocktails. You can also enjoy some deliciously traditional pub grub including the British favourite of roast dinner on Sunday!

However the highlight of The One Crown has to be its live music scene, with regular gig nights to enjoy some local talent.

Address: 156 High St, Watford WD17 2EN, UK

Opening Times: Mon-Thurs 12:00-23:00, Fri-Sat 12:00-00:00, Sun 12:00-22:30

Live music at a bar with audience looking on
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The Three Best Pubs In Watford For Food

1. Tudor Arms

Classic pub grub and more in a family-friendly space with large beer garden and occasional entertainment

This family-friendly pub is the perfect place for classic pub grub and more set in the luscious setting of a dated building and large green beer garden. On top of that, expect live sports shown on TV as well as pool tables and a children’s play area.

Tuck into their varied menu all day long including small plates, sharing, signature classics, from the grill, burgers, lunch bites, sides and dessert.

Locals love the Signature Hunters Chicken, which is chicken breast on a gammon steak topped with smoked streaky bacon, melted cheddar and mozzarella, beer cheese sauce and Texan bbq sauce with chips, garlic bread, coleslaw and a dressed salad garnish.

Now and again you can also enjoy a DJ during weekend evenings or even a fab bingo night too – and of course the British classic of Sunday roast is available each week.

Address: Bushey Mill Ln, Watford WD24 7TQ, UK

Opening Times: Mon-Thurs 11:00-23:00, Fri-Sat 11:00-00:30, Sun 11:00-22:30

Sunday roast display
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2. Estcourt Tavern

Family-friendly pub with a classic pub food menu and a great outside space.

A fantastic beer garden, pool table and a great menu makes for a fantastic pub experience at Estcourt Tavern. You can enjoy a large outdoor patio space in the summertime, whilst inside is a spacious traditional pub setting.

Serving food all day long, enjoy a classic pub meal here made from quality ingredients. You can enjoy the latest football on the TV too as you eat and drink from a menu of sharers and pub classics.

Locals have several favourites off the menu, including the Philly Steak Toastie which offers slices of 4oz rump steak and sautéed red onion with grilled cheese on crisp sourdough. Pair that with a beer and you’ll be sure of a great time. Drinks range from around-the-world wine to classic cocktails and a great pint or two.

Address: 25 Estcourt Rd, Watford WD17 2PY, UK

Opening Times: Mon-Thurs 12:00-23:00, Fri-Sat 12:00-23:30, Sun 12:00-22:30

Selection of beer
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3. The Essex Arms

Large venue serving an eclectic pub menu to suit all, with large beer garden for warm days

This food-focused pub found near the A411 is a fantastic choice for a pit stop all day long.

Offering a large dining space inside, and out in the courtyard for warmer seasons, The Essex Arms is one of the best pubs for food in the area, whilst their range of real ales and dishes make for a delicious combo of tasty food and drink!

The menu includes everything from pasta to pub classics and beyond. Enjoy selecting from a range of burgers, chargrill dishes and classic pub grub. Watford locals love the Steak & Guinness Pie, including slow cooked beef in Guinness, served with mashed potato and steamed greens.

The Essex Arms even offers a wide selection of delicious dishes for kids, and has a vegetarian and vegan menu, so there’s truly something for everyone.

Address: Langley Way, Watford WD17 3EG, UK

Opening Times: Mon-Thurs 11:00-23:00, Fri 11:00-00:00, Sat 10:00-00:00, Sun 10:00-23:00

Beer and burger display
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/NatashaPhoto

The Two Best Traditional Pubs In Watford

1. Golden Lion

Lively traditional pub with a large fun menu and dog-friendly beer garden

Offering a vast drinks selection and a large menu suited to all tastes, The Golden Lion is a fantastic traditional British pub with a lively atmosphere in the centre of Watford.

It’s warm and friendly vibe makes it a good choice for any night of the week. Plus there’s traditional pub classics and an array of deals to take advantage of all week long. For example you can enjoy Half Price Mondays, 2 for 1 burgers, Fish and Chip Friday and even more!

On top of that there’s a wide selection of beer, cider, wine and cocktails alongside soft drinks as well as a fantastic dog-friendly beer garden!

Address: 17 Estcourt Rd, Watford WD17 2PT, UK

Opening Times: Mon-Thurs 12:00-23:00, Fri-Sat 12:00-00:00, Sun 12:00-22:30

dog and food
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Finlay Buchanan

2. The Prince George

Updated traditionally British Pub with sophisticated menu items and real ale

A gorgeous setting inside and out, The Prince George has been recently updated by its new owners, The Burrows Family. The owners bring a dash of their South African influence to this British pub for a unique experience still in-keeping with traditional Britishness.

Enjoy a weekday and a Sunday menu of delicious meals including burgers, curries and more sophisticated dishes. Locals loved their twist on traditional British pub dishes, and one must-try is the Sea Bass and Rosemary Salted Chips.

This gluten-free dish offers a delicious combination of pan-fried sea bass, served with homemade tartar sauce, rosemary maldon salt chips, a mixed leaf salad and a vinaigrette dressing.

The Prince George also serves a great selection of real ales, lagers and more alongside a delicious menu including Sunday roast with gluten free and vegan options.

Address: 151 St Albans Rd, Watford WD24 5BB

Opening Times: Tues-Thurs 16:00-23:00, Fri-Sat 12:00-00:00, Sun 12:00-21:00