Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Rough Pub Guide

The Rough Pub Guide by Paul Moody and Robin Turner is 'a celebration of the Great British Boozer' featuring fifty examples of pubs that 'boast a maverick energy or independent spirit lacking in these days of homogenised chain pubs and gastro-makeovers'. At least one of the authors lives locally, with Paul Moody apparently a regular at the Asylum Tavern, SE15.

Most noteworthy for Transpontine the pub identified as the Number One is of course The Montague Arms, SE15. There are some good photos of the interior, including the penny farthing bike and various stuffed animal heads. Peter Coyle has been landlord since 1967, as well as drummer in house band 'The Two Petes'. He recalls that Paul McCartney once visited in the 1980s: 'He'd met Jim Davidson on the plane and, after Jim had told him about the pub, he insisted they come straight from the airport. Paul got up and played loads of hits'. Wow so now we know that an ex-Beatle, Mark E. Smith, Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan, the Gang of Four and... er... myself have all been on that stage.

The other South London pub included is the Charlie Chaplin at Elephant and Castle. I went there once for a drink on my way to the Ministry of Sound - not one of my top pubs but undoubtedly in the rough category! In that immediate locale I prefer The Rockingham Arms, a Wetherspoon's pub where only this week I sampled a range of cheap Polish beers.

Along the way the authors also reflect on themes including the joys of the jukebox, pubs in the movies and the 'pre-emptive death-knell' for the pub. Yes, pubs are closing at an alarming rate, but 'there's still plenty of places out there that defy the prevailing 'anti-pub' forces - all you have to do is look for them and then cherish them'. Locally its not too late yet for the White Hart and the Walpole Arms - threatened with being replaced by a private members strip club and a hotel respectively, but in New Cross and Deptford we have lost the Arrows (Pomeroy Street), the Royal Archer (Egmont Street), the Dewdrop Inn (Clifton Rise) and the Duke of Albany (Monson Road). The sharp-eyed reader will notice a photo in the book of another local casualty, the recently closed London and Brighton in Queens Road.


bob said...

Jim Davidson - that's not a recommendation we want to advertise too widely!

Anonymous said...

Oh come on, he was great in his day.

The best thing about stereotypes is that they're slightly based on truth ;-)

Anonymous said...

I still miss the Railway Tavern which was by Nunhead station. Probably the only pub next to a railway station I've ever liked. Housing association flats have been built on the site, but the pub sign still stands on top of a concrete pole on Gibbon Road.

The Rye Hotel used to be good on Sundays, and you got a good roast dinner in there. But the recent change of owners and makeover means it's not really to my tastes any more.

Old gits like me lack tolerance of the yummy mummies trying to reason with their bratty three-year-olds: "There'll be no purple sprouting broccoli for you Orlando if you keep on screaming like that!"

TM said...

Amusingly, now i've left London the No.2 in the guide: Dyffren Arms, (aka Bessie's) is my new local!

Tony. (aka Slightly)