Sun, No Doves

What a difference some sunshine makes. But this early unseasonal weather is tinged with sadness, as we’re reminded that the best summer sun destination, the garden at the Sun & Doves, won’t be available to us this year (barring incredible effort from a brewery pubco that doesn’t seem to give much of a fig at the moment). So where is the sun-seeking al fresco booze-hound to go in Camberwell in 2012?

The obvious destination would be The Fox On The Hill, with it’s big lawn, prominent position, and wonderful views. The drawback (in this author’s humble opinion) is that it’s a Wetherspoon pub, although it does seem to have a good selection of beers. Also, last time I went there we felt threatened by a bunch of leery lads who I suspect to have been on a pharmaceutical more powerful than alcohol.

The Tiger has their little passage, which doesn’t seem to catch much light, but at The Recreation Ground and The Bear it’s standing room only. The Cambria has a yard which is pleasant to sit in but also doesn’t allow for much sunlight to enter. Stormbird has a few tables outside which get sun in the afternoon, and pavement overspill outside the Hermits is popular with students when the weather is fine.

Many destinations have only a brief moment in the sun; The former Grove (the name of which escapes me) Grand Union is OK in the morning and mid afternoon, and The Crooked Well fares a little better. The George Canning doesn’t do too badly later in the afternoon, but the best spot for drinks at the dying of the light is The Phoenix.

This post was hastily thrown together and overwritten, so please feel free to correct me in the comments.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

107 thoughts on “Sun, No Doves”

  1. The tenant landlord fell out with the pub company — not the brewery, Peter — then the pub company wanted to take the tenant to court. It’s all now in limbo, who is liable for what. It is — like it — a mess.

    The days when breweries had tied pubs have pretty much gone. I remember in the Bristol area, for instance, Courage owned everything, they had a monopoly. But their beer was good, Bitter, Best Bitter and Bonkers (was it, I can’t remember), all well-hopped proper British beers.

    The brewers were bought by big, international brewing companies who can manufacture cheap drink but not nice beer.

  2. Slightly further afield, perhaps, but how about the newly named ‘The Kennington’ (previously the Black Sheep) on Camberwell New Road? Quite a few outside seats, albeit on the road, and positioned to catch the last few hours of sun after work.

  3. Though it’s not in the most scenic of locations, the handful of outdoor tables at The Stormbird (formerly Funky Munky) seem to also get lots of sun in the afternoon. And the Grand Union has a nice outdoors bit, albeit not as sunny.

    Camberwell’s crying out for a good beer garden though…

  4. The Rye Hotel on Peckham Rye should be worth a look when re-opened. It has a very large garden. And smoking a fag outside the Cadleigh beer perched on the sill is another option.

  5. Oh yeah, I forgot Stormbird and The Hermits. I’ll update the post. And thanks, Daniel, for reminding me that the Grove is now called the Grand Union. And thank you, Dagmar, for pointing out my error about brewery/pubco. As you can probably tell, I wrote the post in a hurry.

    @florian Are you a Cadeleigh regular? I’m always in there when Arsenal are on TV.

  6. Again, a little further afield but not much, the Montpelier has a few tables outside — and for those who like the Victoria, that really catches the sun and there’s plenty of life passing by to watch…

  7. Peter

    I have the occasional scoop in the Cadleigh, with football or rugby as the draw. Like you, the Doves was my boozer of choice in this weather.

  8. The tables outside the Prince of Wales pub on the corner of Myatt’s Fields get the sun. Nice to have a pint there after tennis.

  9. Quick update regarding The Sun and Doves.

    I’m the guy who took on the tied lease in 1995 and subsequently described as the landlord in a post by Dagmar.

    When my rent went up 68% in 2000 and I owed Scottish & Newcastle £22,000 back rent immediately, the impact nearly bankrupted the business and me. So I vowed not to be beaten without a proper fight by the Rachmanesque Landlord, Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company the next time I faced a rent review.

    I prepared well for the 2005 rent review, where they wanted to increase it from £54K to £82.5K. I dug my heels in and consequently it went to Arbitration, and then High Court, and then back to Arbitration, then to Appeal and back to the Arbitrator. That point took over three years to reach, October 2008, when the arbitrator decided to ‘GO’ with the pub company and posed me with a back rent bill of £125+K immediately owing.

    So, then I told S&NPC that I could not pay the bill — as I had predicted all along — and they should evict me. They simply ignored this and I started paying the increased rent — £1,650 a week — and business began to suffer immediately but S&N didnt’ take action — probably because they were getting the increased rent plus three or so grand a week out of me for beer orders.

    Eventually I started buying out of tie and not paying rent — I had no option — it was the only way I could pay my other suppliers, robbing S&N to pay Paul Peter Mary and Susan. All my other suppliers were paid up to date until I was kicked out.

    Eventually S&NPC evicted me on 23 September 2011 which made me homeless. Subsequently on 24 October 2011 HMRC bankrupted me which made me relieved.

    S&NPC told me they had a ‘small multiple operator’ very interested in taking on the pub.

    Before I was evicted S&N prevaricated about paying for the fixtures and fittings in the pub, such as the bar, the kitchen equipment, the fixed seating and lamp shades etc, which were owned by a lease hire company to whom I paid rent. The leasing company did not trust S&NPC to pay them and, since S&NPC had an eviction order for a fixed date at which point I would be ejected and locked out — the company regarded it essential to secure its assets — and the pub was stripped of all trade effects and fixtures and fittings.

    Consequently S&NPC could not pass the pub on to the ‘small multiple operator’ without spending, conservatively, £300K on bringing it up to code, and they boarded it up and installed 24/24 residential security who, like S&NPC seemed unable to organise a pissup in a brewery.

    Consequently now the pub is being squatted.

    The rumour is that Antic (Tiger; EDT etc) is now talking to S&N about buying the freehold.

    The garden at The Sun and Doves is SSE facing and the forecourt gets sun until quite late in the evening at this time of year.

  10. Such a shame this happened, Mark. I live over the road and always enjoyed the friendliness of your staff. I miss the place now.

    I heard you talk about what you went through on Radio 4 and wanted to wish you all the best for the future.

  11. Have a look at this link — stick with it, there is a nice surprise at the end!

    This week, the Class 67 “Royal Diamond” drew this special train, with its elements of glamour from a bygone era, through the parish towards the coast, strangely just as one of the mysterious “yellow trains” trundled Londonwards.

    The yellow trains have yellow carriages with the windows painted over with trompe l’oeil scenes of passengers in 1970s dress eating Kit-Kats and drinking Nescafe.

    There are strange trains of thought, of dream that take wing, of miasma that turns into plasma, of phantasmagoria heading out of Victoria, that make Camberwell such a special place to be.

    Watch, look, ingest and but yet dream…

  12. Yeah, er, Charlotte came through Camberwell today. This Class 73 was one of 49 built in the 1960s at Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside and was recently named after a member of staff of its latest owner, GBRf.

    The narrow body of the 73s made them ideal for the narrow tunnels of the Hastings line.

    What is incredibly mysterious, though, is this — can anyone work it out?

  13. @Chunters. What does the website say about Boris. How many lies and truths did Boris say?

    P.S. I assume I just made up the NotBorisagain website. Would be good to have one though, in the interest of balance. Does this mean we would also need a to cover all the bases?

  14. Monkeycat it’s up to you to go find these sites and search out facts as I did. Put them on here and we’ll all know. All I’m doing is trying to show Ken up for the crook he really is. If you want to show Boris up for any misdemeanors by all means do so.

  15. Thank you Peter. That’s exactly what I was looking for. And then I’ll be accused of not finding it myself?

  16. Florence Welch, originally from Camberwell is at the Royal Albert Hall tonight.

    She da woman.

  17. She’s all over the new Stylist, as well, looking excellently herself. Camberwell has not been so proud since Jenny Agutter was last on “Call the Midwife”.

  18. I am going to vote for Siobhan Benita in the mayorals. Anyone else feeling the same way?

  19. She comes across as being an incredibly wise choice. She is a civil servant who would take the advice of people who really know.

    She is more creditable than George Galloway, who will also stand, presumably, closer to the time. A friend of mine with an enormous cranium, spectacles and a first in politics and philosophy said he would vote for Galloway rather than Boris or Ken, because Galloway stands for what he calls “ordinary people”. Galloway, ordinary!

    Siobhan Benita is half Cornish and is certainly the sort, in the words of the anthem, who would wish to “know the reason why”.

  20. But you will still vote Labour.

    Gorgeous George was great on Newsnight last night.

    He has achieved a kind of goal congruence between his own narcissism and good causes.

    I prefer to judge him on his behaviour rather than motivations. He has provided the disenfranchised majority of Bradford West a voice in the commons. Great job George.

  21. Hitchens described Galloway as a ‘Ponce for fascism’ and I think his behaviour amply supports this.

  22. @Chunters: Sorry I was being a bit facetious, but in the event, seems that there is an anyone but Ken equivalent.

    My slightly wishful thinking is that before you can vote you have to pass a test proving you have read and understood all the candidates’ manifestos.

    The first question would be:

    a: would you vote for a man with red hair.

    Anyone who answers no is banned from voting for life!

  23. I WOULD have voted for Neil Kinnock.

    George Galloway has always made me GAG. Ugh! Repellent. His behaviour makes me want to puke too. Does anyone else remember him being interviewed in his bolthole place in Portugal among all the ex pats after some kerfuffle or other happened over here and he apparently went to ground

  24. Unfortunatly Eusebiovic Jenny lost the election the moment sha said she would put up the congestion charge to £15. Job done.

  25. @chunters

    It’s not really a competitive election — so Jenny can’t lose.

    It’s a bit like speculating who will win the football —

    Celtic or Rangers?
    Barcelona or Real Madrid?

    a done deal — nobody else gets a look in.

  26. I’ll vote for Jenny but that will not get her into position.

    Just spent the afternoon at a Point to Point FULL of Landed Gentry people one never normally gets to meet. Ugh. Quite the other end from George Galloway. Ugh.

    HUGE article in the Guardian today about the weak position of pubs against supermarkets taking them over as Locals. There is a deep and very English irony there.

    Antic have taken a lease on The Sun and Doves. Or so a birdy tells me.

  27. So depressing, did anyone see the graffiti on the front of the brand new eco-friendly Skanska building on Coldharbour Lane? This is why we can’t have nice things.…

  28. Rosey did you get a picture?

    There’s something afoot at Whiteminster, or is it Westhall, dunno, anyway, the seat of International DeMocKracy; the Mutha of Parliamints, when the Chancellor, the Rt Hon George Osborne, for that is his title, when dis man figures out dat his mates don’t pay tax. Well sumfink’s going down sistas and brethren. An epiphany he had, a revelation, an eye opening a penny dropping a chink into the dark a light at the end of his tunnel.


    I wonder if Georgey Boy has been wondering why HE’S been paying tax when all his mated from the Old Boys’ Network shirk their duty in favour of spending their money on hunting shooting and fishing in Peru. And on horses and hounds that have nowhere to go until the Toff Class have a revolution and stuff all the peasants like us and the jumped up nouveau rich-list into stocks and pelt us with potatoes and toms.

    Something’s afoot that’s for sure.

  29. Thank you James J for that topical link to which George Osborne should be directed as he’ll no doubt be right at home in a playground for over-5s — on home territory so to speak.

    Do they do jam roly poly in the cafe?

  30. For those that have never been, The Camberwell Old Cemetery is amazing. It’s just the other side of Peckham Rye. Went yesterday. Some of the gravestone dedications are beautiful. I kind of like the fact that the trees are taking over.

    There are also a lot of memorials to soldiers that died in WW1, including a very sad memorial to a boy aged 20 who died days before the end of the war, There is also a newly installed gravestone to William Stanlake VC and DCM which seems strange considering he died in 1904. Not sure who cleared the area or had the new gravestone made. I found some info about him here:

    Some photos here, but going back very soon to do some more.

  31. Getting back to pubs, though not in the sunshine, who knew that old north Camberwell pub the Flying Dutchman had reopened as an arts, kink and fetish venue?

    They don’t make it very obvious from the outside; I’d assumed it was still shut. The kids have their playground in Burgess Park. The adults do need somewhere to play too, but I wonder what the Baptists next door think.

  32. Well James. At least something positive is happening there instead of the usual …

    Perhaps the church will see that the new venue offers a wide range of activities they could adopt in order to expand their own area of influence.

  33. This morning, by Camberwell Green, I saw a chap calmly standing in the middle of the pavement wearing pyjamas and with a brown paper bag on his head. You know that you have properly settled in Camberwell when this sort of thing seems perfectly normal.

  34. Gnomee, the £250,000 made by Boris was earned and then turned into £125,000 as tax was paid on it at 50%, or there abouts.

    The windfall of £75,000 was gained by cheating HMRC, which means you and me, nurses, doctors, in fact anybody in the public sector and of course you and me.

  35. Matt said “This morning, by Camberwell Green, I saw a chap calmly standing in the middle of the pavement wearing pyjamas and with a brown paper bag on his head. You know that you have properly settled in Camberwell when this sort of thing seems perfectly normal.”

    Blast it! You saw me.

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