3:55pm Monday 4th October 2010
UNLIKE last month’s pub crawl in the reassuringly safe and uneventful borough of Bromley, boozing through Lewisham requires a healthy appetite for adventure and, preferably, a talent for rapping.
Like an urban street musical, each journey between pubs was punctuated with spontaneous outbursts of beats and rhymes from fellow travellers.
While the fuzzy scratching of a homemade backing mix, played on loudspeaker through mobile phones, soon becomes grating, it beats the deafening white noise of Bromley hands down.
So, pick your best beat and rap along to this month’s Pub Spy Crawl.
WIth a choice of beers on tap which sound like they were named after endangered rainforest monkeys (Oranjeboom at £3.05 and Hurlimann, £3.35) The Crown in Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, is at least trying to be more interesting than its identikit faux country pub decor at first suggests.
For a hearty meal and to view the world’s first model of Mount Everest made out of peas, order the delicious cod and chips (£7.95).
It may not serve the cheapest drinks in Lewisham but the above average grub and cosy atmosphere make it worth staying for a couple of pints before moving on to a pub which doesn’t play easy listening for the over-40s. ***
WITH music cheesier than Danger Mouse’s underpants, town centre pub The Market Tavern in Lewisham High Street is like London’s iconic G-A-Y club.
However, unlike that popular night spot, this spic and span boozer was so dead on a Friday night, even one of Britney’s bum wiggling anthems sounded like a eulogy at the funeral of fun.
Friendly? Yes. Cheap? With Tuborg at £2.80, you bet. But a lack of punters and atmosphere it is a disappointment. Hit Me Baby One More Time? No thanks. **
NO PUB crawl would be complete without a pit stop at a Wetherspoon’s.
The Watch House in Lewisham High Street is unbeatable for prices and for bucking the trend in its chain’s regulation decor by having two foot high dragon sculptures glowing among the cases of ‘don’t touch, don’t read’ dog-eared hardbacks.
Oh and according to one punter, the 19 steps you have to climb to spend a penny is a human rights violation akin to the Holocaust.
Cheap, cheerful and like a Hogwarts frat party. ***
Drinking in New Cross pub The Montague Arms in Queens Road, is like falling head first down the rabbit hole.
Decorated with stuffed animals, a penny farthing and a skeleton above the bar, manned by a team of eccentric geriatrics, this is more than just a pub, it’s an experience.
My visit coincided with a benefit night for punk, artist and convicted murderer Gary Critchley.
Cue philanthropic punks and a granddad playing guitar. Kooky.
The best and most original pub in south east London. *****
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