The search for a new local

The closure of the Sun and Doves at the end of September left me with a problem of not having a pub we could call our local.

As the Sun and Doves was within a short walking distance of our flat, had a good range of food and drinks, generally had space and was welcoming to babies, we used to go there regularly as the default option when pub going or when food was required. Of course the film nights, quizzes, live music and art were also attractions but the main reason for going to a pub is the drink and food.

In the past six weeks or so we have had to consider other options when looking for a pub. And so this has given us an opportunity to revisit old haunts and discover new ones in a Men Behaving Badly style quest for a new local.

The Tiger, the Crooked Well, the Bear, the Cambria and Stormbird have all been visited over the past few weeks and a good time was had in all. Most seemed to be reasonably busy when we visited which is good generally for Camberwell. One gap in the market that I have noticed is the late lunch market — we had to go to three pubs on our quest for lunch at 3:30pm last Saturday as most pub kitchens seem to shut after lunch, opening again at 6. But none of the pubs we have been to so far has been as good as the Sun and Doves which is still sadly missed.

One or two other local news stories of interest:

  • Saturday 19 November will be the last day of the bendy buses on route 436 — as Londonist notes I dont think there will be quite the outpouring of emotion when the final bendy has run as was the case with the demise of the Routemaster.
  • The Lambeth Libraries Commission report has been published and it looks like the Minet Library near to Myatts Fields Park is to remain open but will be under “community control” — see local Vassall ward website for further details. I havent heard anything further about Camberwell main library beyond a news story saying that Southwark has decided that Bermondsey offices were not suitable — anyone know anything more about how the plans are progressing?

27 thoughts on “The search for a new local”

  1. The replacement of the 12 buses last week met with crowds of distressed locals milling confusedly at the bus stops, Oystercard-less, with expressions that clearly stated “but we though this was the free bus”. Wonder re the impact on passenger numbers.

  2. Thanks Mumu, always a nice surprise to see a blog post that I didn’t write.

    Of the pubs you mentioned, The Bear & The Cambria are too much of a trek for me to consider them as a local (or semi-local). I like The Crooked Well but their emphasis is on food so it doesn’t feel like the place for casual drinking. The Tiger is also nice, but just doesn’t feel comfortable to me, for reasons I can’t really articulate. Stormbird has the best selection of beers around, so I’ve been doing most of my drinking in there recently. But my local is, of course, The Cadeleigh Arms, and as long as I live here and it is open, it always will be.

    @Gay Camberwell: I’m not sure that numbers will see any great drop; people will still have to get to where they’re going. May impact a lazy few who were getting free travel over walking distance. The problem with these double deckers is reduced capacity; 35 fewer passengers than a bendy. The 12’s frequency has been increased slightly, but not the 436’s. Already heard a story of a mum having to wait for 3 12s to go past before she could board with a buggy.

    We’ll miss you, by the way. Been great to read your reviews of local places.

  3. + 2pm TODAY + ST GILES CHURCH + Camberwell Choir School 21st Anniversary Concert + funky sounds from switched-on kidz + Patron Sir Willard White + That’s in an hour and a half + Come and see if it’s you & your kidz’ thing + sort of nursery for future Alabama 3 +

  4. Do any of the people who make these decisions travel on a bus. The 436 & 36 are always packed day and night — why would you deliberately reduce passenger capacity .… ? and why does Camberwell New Road have so many bus stops … ?

  5. The loss of the bendy buses is a scandal.

    Will Ken save the stragglers? He’s bound to at least resurrect the tram idea.

    Will he get in though? I certainly hope so.

  6. Not everybody is sorry to see the bendies gone.

    I have spoken to many locals about this and they all say that people are now walking rather than take the new type buses as they would have to pay.

    Numbers of passengers will be down because of this.

    I think, in fact that the new buses will make more money.

    As for Ken, the man who welcomes the thoughts of Islamist preachers of hate and put my council tax through the roof and sees no problem in wishing people dead, George Osbourne for one, being re-elected makes me want to puke.

  7. Mumu thanks for that about The Sun and Doves. I’m liberated now and feeling better than I have done for years. A bit unsettled but overall more optimistic even though I have no income at all to speak of now things seem less stressful than they were and although the Official Receiver told me that S&NPC are intending to prosecute me for stealing the interior of their pub everything seems palpably more joyous than it did any other Autumn in the last fifteen years. And I have time to enjoy Autumn colours again.

    On pubs — I’ll keep it to the Tiger: I like it but find noise in there oppressive. The loud, semi metal music the staff enjoy listening to needs to be equalised. Its sound quality is muddy and cacophonous. And they play whole albums; repeatedly.

    I’ve never gone free on buses. I’ve seen loads of other people do it and it really pisses me off. ESPECIALLY that I seem to be spending about a third of my weekly income (£67.50 JobSeeker’s Allowance) on buses — looking for work, going to conferences (for it is the conference season) about Sustainable Business, Sustainable Innovation and Sustainable Everything. Having spent a lot of the last twenty years in Camberwell, I’m surprised how much it costs to get around on public transport. Someone told me the fares are going up six percent. IS that right? Anyone been on rush hour trains recently? MENTAL.

    Something else that has come to my attention since becoming a Man of Leisure is how awfully easy it is to be dropped out of society. I know now, absolutely for sure, just how simply some people become homeless and vanish into the undergrowth of life. As a middle aged single man (with dependents who are, strictly speaking NOT dependents since I don’t live with them or their mother) I have NO priority in housing terms. Not even worth registering with social housing or anything else as far as I can see — there is no chance whatsoever that I’ll be offered any affordable accommodation. Housing cooperatives is something to look at — will try to get round to that when I’m less busy. Advice seems hard to come by too. JobCentre offer nothing. They are there just to make sure you’re spending all your money on bus fares looking for work.

    It’s very dull, the way the government doesn’t appear to understand very much about anything at all. Even about public transport or how to get people back to work or to encourage job creation. They don’t understand Third Sector or Big Society even though they’re promoting these; well. Actually. Have you noticed anyone in government mentioning BIG SOCIETY recently? NO. It’s been quietly dropped from the vocabulary. Nervous that it might not have meant anything. Even Nick Hurd seems not to be mentioning it any more. The Minister for Civil Society who’s in the vanguard of the Big Society thing appears not to mention it now.

    Government seems to be very impractical these days. Lots of rhetoric about not doing anything and us all being in this penury together — that’s still on the agenda — sharing the pain. Oh yes. They are good, collectively, at denying things are as bad as they seem — while making everything worse for most people — except keeping lying thieving corporations in bundles the of cash they aren’t declaring in taxes. Encouraging the banks to ignore anything anyone outside the banks thinks about them.

    Got a busy day on Tuesday — early am conference at I.O.D about Sustainable Business of course. And of course I’m NOT going there in any capacity other than as a Job Seeker. Then I have the appointment with the Official Receiver — I don’t know what to expect there, feels like I’m in the firing line for having been made a financial failure by a corporation wilfully putting people out of business by aggressively increasing rent and supply prices in an unregulated capitalist sub economy and getting away with it while they do their equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.

    Then there’s a big meeting at Parliament about pub companies and why they keep putting people out of business. Where I have a meeting with CAMRA — about sustainable business — for it is the Season.

    There’s been some lovely days recently hasn’t there?

  8. With the caveat that people should pay bus fares, should be honest and so forth, out the way…

    So some people do jump the ticket now and again. Why get so worked-up about it?

    It is probably a fairly low proportion who do it regularly and some of them probably need to do it.

    Also, the bus is expensive if you’re on low income and especially for shorter journeys. It’s cheaper by Oyster card, but then you have to have money tied-up on the card, which if you’re short of cash, you probably don’t want to do.

    Finally, affordable transport is vital for a lot of people to get to work and make it worthwhile. Or to seek work for that matter, as Mark points out.

  9. I usually find The Tiger to be pleasantly sedate, even on Saturday nights, which is why I really like it. Always a seat available, chilled atmosphere etc. However, stuck my head this Saturday and it was heaving, no seats available at all. So scarpered to Stormbird, which now seems to have settled in a bit and was really nice. Free snacks etc seem to have disappeared, but then again there did seem to only be one member of staff on for the whole pub, so she was probably too busy to rush around dishing out nuts.

  10. @chunters — while no fan of ken, or any organised religions for that matter, it’s funny how, as far as faith is concerned, discrimination against women, ill & disabled people, gay people etc is perfectly acceptable (see also: catholicism, evangelist christians, etc)

  11. The hunt for a new local goes on, and on!
    Joiners, was in there a couple of Saturdays ago when a gay friend came in and joined our group. One of the customers started gesturing in a very agitated way, then whilst on his way to PaddyPower, started making threatening noises at us through the window.
    Won’t be going back

    Phoenix, stupidly busy between about 4.30 to 6.30 with everyone from the hospital heading there before boarding their train. Obviously a lot of that footfall used to use the S&D, but now don’t have that option. Unfortunately, the manager/ess doesn’t seem to see it that way, or head office won’t sanction more staff, as more often than not, there’s only one person behind the bar.

    Tiger, seems to be our pub of chouce at the moment, but I do tend to find it a little grim at times and some of the bar staff are very uninterested. Agreed they need to sort out their music. Yesterday, the pub was rammed with people watching the football, yet the volume for the tv was turned down to about 23 and their heavy metal was competing to be heard. If it’s a big game let the football win, turn it off afterwards, noone needs to hear the interviews after the games’finished.
    Not really prepared to support either the Hermits or Stormbird any more I’m afraid, for reasons I won’t go into on here.
    Dispensary, no thanks, tried it the other week, won’t be running back.
    Bear, haven’t been in for quite a while, but as it doesn’t open ’til quite late during the week, it’s not much use to drinkers who like to be home around 7pm.
    Crooked Well, mmmm, liked the food I’ve had there, but not a session destination.


  12. Hello all,

    It’s been a while since I visited these pastures. Just wanted to say that we had supper in the Tiger last night (Bear doesn’t do food on Mondays and frankly even if it did we couldn’t afford it there!), it was really good! The value of the food and the atmosphere was great, it was super busy and there really weren’t that many people watching the football. I would choose the Tiger over the Bear any time (also in terms of which animal would win in a fight too) — we just find the Bear SO expensive sadly, I would love to show it a bit more support as it’s much more of a local to me than the Tiger but we can’t afford to go there so often.

    Strictly speaking the Prince of Wales on Denmark Road is my actual local as the Paulet Arms doesn’t actually exist as a pub but I’ve never felt like trying it particularly.

    Other pubs to note are the Recreation Ground which I like a lot but just can’t seem to draw many people in, the Crooked Well which is lovely for food and we also tried the Cambria’s curry night back in September and that was pretty ace too. I am amazed at how spoilt we are for nice pubs around here and I’ve not listed half of them!

    Hope you’re all well x

  13. Saw the white squirrel in Brunswick Park this morning, under the warm mist with the big planes flying loud invisibly above.

    It was totally white apart from pink eyes and ears and was surrounded by singing blackbirds. The other squirrels may have found it weird, but the blackbirds befriended it, sang its praises, loved it, you name it.

  14. Nice flurry of posts. Disappointing lack of support for Ken though. Looking forward to the ‘Chunters chunders’ headline on this blog when he gets back in.

    Excellent photos Mark. I was particulary impressed that you managed to kill a fox. I have chased a few but as yet no fatalities. I am tempted to dip a chicken in anti freeze or something. What’s your secret?

    Hoopers? Do you mean the Ivanhoe?! It really has become a super pub. All they’ve got is good beer and sky sports but that is all they need.

    They also let people eat takeaway from China Ho Lok in there too. Great simbiosis.

  15. Your posts are few but 5‑star, Al. You’re so right, the Ivanhoe is a super boozer, as in, a proper pub. It is an island of humanity down there in those quiet streets — warm, with people talking, laughing, burping, farting, like in one of those full-of-fun, old Dutch paintings. They have musicians playing there, too, of all sorts. Interesting about Ho Lok — what a great way of working side by side in these times.

    Went down to the old Sun and Doves early this morning with the intent, under cover of the morning mist, to save one of the rosemary bushes in the forecourt — we have a child named after the plant — but they are all dead. Instead, found a pint glass in the soil and a shilling on the ground. Interesting narrative, the situationist thought…

    They used to say in Denmark that the British Navy was always a harsh life but fully manned because the press gangs would place a shilling at the bottom of landlubbers’ pint glasses in alehouses, when they were all jolly and confused, which meant they had signed up — taken the shilling!


  16. No.67 the gastrobistro attached to the South London Gallery is like going to another country where everything is wonderful in a genuinely cool, laid-back, intelligent way. That back dining room with the big long solid table is one of the nicest dining rooms in the whole world with the light pouring in.

    Apparently, you can get married there. Wouldn’t it be great to get married, have a long lunch then get laid on that hard table!

    The film would then pay for the rest of your life. All you’d have to do is lay over a soundtrack by Florence, Blur, Alabama 3 — maybe some Thelonius Monk during the really good bits — and have Tom Phillips do the cinematography and titles typography.

    Why do people moan about Camberwell — we have it all here!

  17. dagmar ‑my best friend got married at Camberwell registry office but then we had lunch at 67! it was perfect! they didn’t get laid on the table thankfully as the desert was too nice to spoil!
    And there was children present! ;o)
    on another note i signed up to become a friend of Camberwell green on the day of the festival for the olympics but i haven’t heard or seen anything since — can anyone shed any light on this?

  18. I am (admittedly selfishly) overjoyed by the disappearance of bendy buses on the 12 & the 436 routes. Used to use the No 12 all the time in routemaster days and when it went bendy, couldn’t hack it anymore. I’m now using it again to get into town and the frequency has definitely been boosted. Thank you, TfL. Srapping the bendies is a waste, though. I think they ought to migrate to the inter-station Red Arrow routes (501, 502 etc).
    As far as the cost of bus travel goes — please don’t forget that it’s risen from 90p to £1.30 on PAYG since Boris was elected. Mark — there was the New Deal discount scheme for Jobseekers (half fare PAYG) — has this been withdrawn?

  19. 3–6pm LYNDHURST WINTER FAIR today: mulled wine, trained huskies, stalls galore, raffle prizes include dinner to local gastrobistros — what a wonderful time winter is!

  20. Back at yer Dagmo. Nice to spend the afternoon in your company.

    How about that tombola? I won a hooded top with a pac man on it. I knew my luck was changing.

    It was mild today- mulled weather. Lots of unconfirmed sightings of Jo Brand. Did you see her?

  21. The place was indeed abuzz with Jo Brand sightings. Recently, Jenny Eclair stopped her car on Dog Kennel Hill and called out of the window to one of the school’s very small daughters dressed in a Spanish lady’s outfit, “You look fantastic!” That’s Camberwell.

    Glad you enjoyed Lyndhurst, Alan. It is a happy place, well run and starring a brilliant array of children. They get their education just by looking at each other.

    The school will be closed on Wednesday for the public sector workers’ strike. Lyndhurst is not exactly a hotbed of militancy, but the closure says something about what such places want to say to the Conservative government about the true-blues’ willing sacrifice of the lower orders in the interests of now discredited “shareholder value”.

    The school is just an old, well-kept, well-swept building, staffed by excellent professionals and featuring the future of mankind as grown in SE5. But that’s it. Any money made by their winter and summer fairs goes to things like blinds for hot classrooms and rather humble-in-scale trips on bendy buses to places like the National Portrait Gallery.

    Labour have lost the plot, for sure, but the Conservatives are lucky to be where they are and doing what they’re doing to us.

  22. I was gutted to drive by the sun & doves last week and see it had closed. I’ve long since moved out of camberwell but used to work p- t behind the bar in the late 90s. There were some fantastic characters like Terry in the kitchen and Stirling who ran the bar. Those were — without doubt some of the best times i’ve ever had in london. Sorry to here Mark’s tale about being screwed over by the pubco. I wish him all the best.

  23. Terry is a dad and back in Ireland. It was a fantastic wedding a couple of years ago. He’s nearly grown up.

    Sterling is exactly the same as ever and working near the British Museum.

    I’ll tell them both they’ve been name-checked.

  24. That’s great to hear that they are doing well. Send them my regards. The last time I saw Terry must have been around 1998. He was back visiting the pub and ended up spending the night on my floor after copious amounts of Guiness.…and he still managed to get up at 5am to get wherever he was going!

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