Tag Archives: Kennington Park Road

The White Bear

Like the Elephant & Castle, the White Bear is a Kennington pub with a very long history, which has recently relaunched in impressive style.

The White Bear Theatre Pub new exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Thomas Ellis owned the Horns Tavern pub on Kennington Common, where Guy Fawkes stored his gunpowder in the cellar. Mary Cleaver leased White Bear Field to Ellis in 1780, and he laid out Cleaver Square, the earliest London square south of the Thames, and built the White Bear (read more Kennington history on their blackboard).

The White Bear Theatre Pub fire and local history - kenningtonrunoff.com

We first knew The White Bear as a rather edgy, although rarely busy, Irish sports pub, with the White Bear Theatre feeling very incongruous in the back. It was bought by Young’s around 2012, after which there was a short-lived relaunch (bye Irish sports fans, hello not many other people), then it closed for a long time for a much more thorough overhaul.

The White Bear Theatre Pub middle dining room - kenningtonrunoff.com

The White Bear Theatre Pub back dining room - kenningtonrunoff.com

Now it’s huge – Kennington’s biggest pub  – with two dining areas where the theatre used to be, plus a garden stretching the width of two properties (which we’ve only visited after dark unfortunately).

The White Bear Theatre Pub garden - kenningtonrunoff.com

The theatre (which we’ve not visited since the relaunch) has relocated to the first floor – the bear will show you the way.

The White Bear Theatre Pub bear - kenningtonrunoff.com

The new White Bear has the feel of a country pub, and we can’t think of another like it in central London. Perfect for Kennington Village!

The White Bear Theatre Pub bric a brac - kenningtonrunoff.com

They serve food which is decent although not quite yet of the standard of the Elephant & Castle. Mains range from toad in the hole for £11 to black Angus sirloin, mushrooms and tomatoes, chips, Bearnaise sauce for £21. Being mostly vegetarian we haven’t tried either of their specialities yet, which are beef Wellington, black cabbage and chestnuts (£21) and steak and kidney suet pudding, calcannon (£20). But we have tried rainbow chard, pine nut and blue cheese quiche (£13):

Rainbow chard, pine nut and blue cheese quiche at the White Bear - kenningtonrunoff.com

And the roasted pumpkin cobbler, purple sprouting broccoli, not entirely successful but relatively cheap at £12:

Roasted pumpkin cobbler, purple sprouting broccoli at the White Bear- kenningtonrunoff.com

The Queenie and monkfish scampi, chips, peas cost £16.50:

Queenie and monkfish scampi, chips, peas at the White Bear - kenningtonrunoff.com

And the ale battered cod, chips, mushy peas, tartare sauce are £13, which is £2 more expensive and not quite as good as the Duchy Arms’ equivalent:

Ale battered cod, chips, mushy peas, tartare sauce at the White Bear - kenningtonrunoff.com

Nonetheless, we will eat there again and found the service exceptionally friendly and helpful. They have a good selection of ales on tap, and both times we’ve been, it has been very busy in the bar area – great to see after years of emptiness. Well done The White Bear and Young’s brewery.

Sugar Pot – NEW CAFE ALERT!

Kennington Park Parade is taking over from the stuttering Windmill Row to become Kennington’s latest hot spot for shopping. First QueArts opened up there, and now, in the former premises of Peter’s Shoe Design Studio, there’s Sugar Pot, a brand new, rather lovely cafe that’s already doing great business, especially when the sun comes out:

Sugar Pot exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Sugar Pot is run by a local family and many of the clientèle seem to be their friends – or perhaps they’re just good at befriending their customers. Either way, everyone is very friendly, staff and customers.

Counter at The Sugar Pot - kenningtonrunoff.com

n.b. If you weren’t aware, San Pellegrino is very salty.

Their menu is getting steadily longer. So far it doesn’t include fresh juices or smoothies but watch this space. The bread is by… who else but the wonderful Kennington Baker.

Sugar Pot menu - kenningtonrunoff.com

We had the banana bread (they’re right, it is lovely warmed with butter), and a fresh mint tea served in vintage crockery. The daffodils came with the table:

Daffodils, vintage crockery and warm toasted banana bread - kenningtonrunoff.com

So far they’re not open on Sundays but we hope that will change in the future – it’s the kind of place we’d like to visit on a Sunday.

Address: 248 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4DA

If you’re thinking of opening a shop in Kennington, it’s not too late to jump on the Kennington Park Parade bandwagon – these premises are to let a few doors down from The Sugar Pot:

premises to rent near Sugar Pot - kenningtonrunoff.com

QueArts – NEW SHOP ALERT!

QueArts, Kennington’s first stationers and art supplies shop, opened its doors on Thursday, at 220 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4DA, where Coversure Insurance used to be.

QueArts shopfront - kenningtonrunoff.com

As you can see from their window, they offer all kinds of art and craft materials, stationery and framing.

QueArts inks and paints - kenningtonrunoff.com

It’s a big shop with lots of beautifully stacked fresh racks of materials for stationery fetishists like us.

QueArts paper - kenningtonrunoff.com

They also sell greetings cards – how could we resist this Kennington-related one?

The Oval card - kenningtonrunoff.com

The very friendly proprietor lived in Kennington for many years, and still plays football in Kennington Park which is how he came to spot the To Let sign.

QueArts boxes - kenningtonrunoff.com

The same row of shops also plays host to Park View, AKA Dino’s Hairdressers, which has one of London’s finest shop signs, renovated relatively recently:

Dino's hairdresser Park view - kenningtonrunoff.com

There are two other shops to let in the same parade, including this former shoe repair shop. May we have an organic grocer and a branch of Rough Trade Records please?

vacant shoe shop - kenningtonrunoff.com (2)

Finally, while we’re writing about this parade, has anyone ever seen Naga Shack open? Or, better still, sampled its cuisine, whether Lebanese or Indian?

Naga Shack - kenningtonrunoff.com (2)

Kennington: Land of Letterpress

Kennington, epicentre of the London letterpress scene, has played host to many a typographic luminary.

Berthold Wolpe, one of the greatest names in type design, lived at Kennington Park Road until his death in 1989 and his Albertus typeface is used in street nameplates throughout our very own borough of Lambeth. Eagle-eyed Kennington Runoff fans may also have spotted it employed in our social media creative identity.

Dr Berthold Wolpe print

In the kind of tidy confluence of Kenningtonians that so delights Kennington Runoff, another SE11-based typographer, designer and letterpress practitioner Alan Kitching has created a print in honour of Berthold Wolpe (pictured above), and also one depicting the streets of Kennington (pictured below). Kitching’s studio on Cleaver Street is handily identified in this print, and they host a letterpress workshop there if you fancy joining the long line of Kennington letterpress creatives.

Alan Kitching and Celia Stothard Kennington print

Can’t make the dates for the typography workshop on Cleaver Street? Never fear, there’s a competitor round the corner at Iliffe Yard in the form of Mr Smith.

The Kennington Lane Press is the final stop on our tour of Kennington: land of the letterpress. They sell their hand-printed greetings cards at the North Lambeth Parish Fete as well as online, and will create bespoke thank you cards for all those local businesses looking for the personal touch when reaching out to thank us for our tireless promotion. Bribes always welcome alongside thank you notes.

Kennington Lane Letter Press stall at North Lambeth Parish Fete

Kennington Lane Press stall at North Lambeth Parish Fete

The Old Red Lion

If you like your pubs homely but lively, head to the Old Red Lion on Kennington Park Road near Kennington tube. It’s a grade II listed building full of nooks and crannies, with a kitchen serving superior pub grub, a nice beer garden, board games, books and more.

The Old Red Lion exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Music features prominently. They tend to play nineties indie music, and they once had a guest ale by the band Ellen & The Escapades despite the fact that we and Steve Lamacq may be the only patrons know who Ellen & The Escapades are (they’re good though – check them out).

Here’s a recent selection of real ales. We opted for Cornish Mutiny – if we’d wanted anarchy, we’d have gone to the Dog House:

Old Red Lion drinks - kenningtonrunoff.com

In the conservatory they have a small selection of vinyl and an HMV stereogramme on which to play it. Be warned – keep the volume low or risk hearing damage – it might look like your Grandma’s dresser but this is a seriously powerful piece of kit:

Old Red Lion record player - kenningtonrunoff.com

The conservatory can be hired for private parties at no cost, but be sure to remind them of your booking on the day.

The piano is a new arrival:

Old Red Lion piano - kenningtonrunoff.com

Their monthly events include a quiz, a folk night with jam session, a vintage clothing fair, and a rock ‘n’ roll night.

Old Red Lion events - kenningtonrunoff.com

The bar is two-sided in the eighteenth century style:

Old Red Lion bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

Old Red Lion main room - kenningtonrunoff.com