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Where are Walk Ins Welcome?

May 5th, 2021 | by Tom Harrow-Smith

Where are Walk Ins Welcome?

It's an all too familiar scenario, you've asked some friends to meet up for a walk along South Bank, but then you realise you want to stay a bit longer, for a drink or a meal and take in those views you love so well. But, finding somewhere that's walk in friendly has got a lot more complex these days, with many spots booked up well in advance, especially on weekends.

That's why we've put together a guide showing some of the restaurants and bars which are either happy to accept walk ins or have a no advanced booking policy. Meaning you can live your life a little more spontaneously. 

Please note, whilst all businesses listed here do accept walk ins, we cannot guarantee a table will be free on the day you choose to visit.

  • BFI Riverfront

    BFI Riverfront, found below BFI Southbank and underneath the Waterloo Bridge, should be top of your list if you're making a spontaneous trip to South Bank to meet friends for a drink or a meal. That's because they have a no booking policy, so all you need to do is rock up on the day. With loads of space either on the riverside terrace or their balcony bar, both of which overlook the famous South Bank book market, BFI Riverfront provides a perfect atmospheric setting unlike anywhere else in the capital.

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  • Beer Hawk

    Set back from the river just behind Sea Containers hotel lies one of the areas best kept secrets, especially if you're a craft beer lover! With oodles of different varieties on both tap and in their well stocked fridges, you won't be struggling for choice.

    Whilst it's not guaranteed there will be space available, you can takeaway any beer, anytime, so you can even enjoy on South bank's very own beach (at low tide of course). Plus, if you do have a table, you can order food via any reputable delivery service to enjoy your favourite takeaway in house! 

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  • The Waterloo Tap

    Whilst we're on the subject of beer... Waterloo Tap, just a stones throw from the station itself, provides another great option for those looking to quench their thirst with 20 kegs and 6 cast beers to choose from. Waterloo Tap’s mission is to showcase the beers from top brewers in the UK and abroad, all set in a venue you will want to spend time in. They don't take bookings at all here, so it should be high on your list if you fancy a pint before or after a stroll along the South Bank!

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  • Limin' Beach Club

    One of South Bank's most popular independent new restaurants is always busy on a sunny weekend, serving rum cocktails, BBQ and the culinary delights of Trinidad and Tobago. Renowned restaurant and food critic Jimi Famurewa even gave this glowing review for the Evening Standard back in April. 

    Whilst many of those who fill the deckchairs on Limin's very own South Bank beach do book ahead, Limin' always keep a certain number of tables and seating available for walk in's too, meaning that even on the sunniest of days, you can still grab a spontaneous cocktail or bite to eat.

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  • Honest Burgers

    Who doesn't love a burger? At Honest Burgers there's even an exclusive South Bank burger, made with Honest beef, smoked bacon, Waterloo cheese, garlic pickle, red onion and baby spinach with homemade rosemary salted chips. Located on Festival Walk on Mandela Walk where walk-ins are always welcome for when you're feeling peckish.

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  • Wahaca

    Wahaca's striking South Bank restaurant, built from recycled shipping containers next to Queen Elizabeth Hall, has long been a firm favourite for those catching a show at one of the areas many amazing cultural venues thanks to a walk in friendly atmosphere. In fact, at Wahaca, their whole approach is geared towards not needing to book ahead, making it one of the best options out there. You'll be able to enjoy award-winning Mexican street food with unrivalled views of life on the Thames floating by. And if you don't fancy a sit down meal, there's always Wahaca's Mexican Street Kitchen truck parked up on alongside the river.

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    Wahaca South Bank
  • Ping Pong

    Delicious Dim Sum is what Ping Pong do best, and at their South Bank home on the south end of Mandela Walk. On Friday's and weekends Ping Pong always keep tables back for walk-ins, but you have to be quick as they are usually snapped up fast!

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    Ping Pong
  • Fountain & Ink

    Pub? Head to the independently owned Fountain and Ink where no booking is required. This pub is famous for its pizzas, made fresh and cooked in their own pizza oven. With 16 beers on tap, you can't go wrong here. To find Fountain and Ink, just head down Stamford Street past Bernie Spain Gardens, it may be off the beaten track as far as South Bank is concerned, but you won't regret it. 

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  • Wagamama

    You'll be hard pushed to find anyone who doesn't love a Ramen Bowl or a Yaki Soba at Wagamama. Their South Bank restaurant located below the Royal Festival Hall is one of a kind too, the biggest of their London restaurants and now with pagoda style outdoor seating and rain covers, so even on a wet and windy day, you'll be sheltered from the elements. There is no booking policy, so simply turn up and enjoy a classic Wagamama meal, including their brand new and exclusive vegan Chilli squid.

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  • The Green Room

    With one of the biggest outdoor dining areas in South Bank, The Green Room has plenty of room to accommodate walk-ins. Situated behind the National Theatre, The Green Room's name may be inspired by its theatrical roots, but it's also reflected in the large open garden. The building itself has a positively Nordic or Scandinavian feel to it, and even if you're only popping in for a coffee, you'll be hard pushed not to want to stay longer. Come for the cocktails and freshly made pizza from The Green Room's wood fired oven and stay for the beautiful surroundings.

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  • Southbank Centre Food Market

    Well it goes without saying you don't need a reservation for the Southbank Centre food market, with dozens of food selling a wide variety of the best in world street food, beer trucks, coffee desserts and more. So grab a bite or a drink and relax on the South Bank with friends and family in one of the many open spaces and take in those panoramic views of London the area is famous for. We don't really need to sell it more than that, do we?

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Find The Venues

  • 6 - Wahaca South Bank

    Queen Elizabeth Hall
    SE1 8XX

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  • 7 - Ping Pong

    Festival Terrace Southbank Centre, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX

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