Tag Archives: pubs

The White Bear Theatre Pub

The White Bear, on Kennington Park Road, is a pub of two halves. The front half is an Irish sports pub with lots of regulars and rather an edgy atmosphere. The back half is an extraordinarily intimate, award-winning fringe theatre with a capacity of just 50. It was established in 1988 and actors who’ve appeared there include Emily Watson, Tamzin Outhwaite, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Mark Little, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Natalie Imbruglia.

Plays we’ve seen here:

* One about Byron, the Shelleys, and their frantic sex lives.

* A play featuring objectionable middle class couples arguing and cheating on each other over barbecues  – or we saw half of it anyway (the problem with leaving a theatre this small during the interval is your absence will definitely be noticed in the second half – sorry about that guys).

* A good production of Noel Coward’s Still Life, the play on which Brief Encounter was based, which is about an abortive affair.

* Recently we saw Coward, a rather unflattering depiction of Noel Coward and his sex life.

So is the White Bear the theatre equivalent of the Locker Room? No – they had a play by Ayn Rand recently so we’re guessing that was a sex free zone. Check out their programme here and get along.

Here’s a photo of Coward (that’s him, sitting down):

Coward at the White Bear Theatre Pub - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Ship is 250 years old

The Ship pub on Kennington Road is celebrating its 250th birthday tomorrow with a pirate-themed evening. 250! Ten generations of Charlie Chaplin’s family have drunk in this pub.

The Ship underwent refurbishment recently and it’s really rather nice inside now, not to mention outside thanks the hanging baskets and picnic tables you can see below. They have an extensive selection of real ales, board games, live music twice a week, decent local-sourced food, and best of all, they have a bar billiards table, which is great fun if you can figure out the rules.

The Ship - Kenningtonrunoff.com

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

The Prince of Wales

Early this year Londonist asked “What’s the best pub in Kennington and South Kennington?“. The Dog House came out top, and it’s certainly the most visited pub in Kennington. The Old Red Lion was second and has a lot going for it, including its garden and its record player. But for lovers of traditional boozers, outside drinking, and boules, there can only be one winner – The Prince of Wales on Cleaver Square.

They offer real ales from “Britain’s oldest brewery”, Kent’s Shepherd Neame. They serve a menu of high end pub classics. If you want to be outside on the square, they will serve your drink in a plastic cup and even loan you a boules set. When you’re inside the pub, you’ll feel like you could be anywhere in the countryside in the south of England, any time in the last 100 years. Their website boasts that the Richardson gang used to hang out there in the 1960s. Nowadays the Countryside Alliance gang would feel more at home there.

The Prince of Wales pub, Cleaver Square - kenningtonrunoff.com

Always Be Comedy at the Tommyfield

One of London’s best small comedy nights takes place every second Thursday upstairs at Kennington gastropub The TommyfieldSign up to their email list to find out about occasional big name attendees like Russell Howard, Russell Kane and Jason Manford, but even when the big names are absent the line-up tends to be more hit than miss. Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee Carl Donnelly headlines this Thursday. Don’t sit in the front row unless you want to participate – last time around the actor Marc Warren was there and was roped into more than one routine. Tickets are £6 online or £7 on the door – a bargain for five acts plus some energetic compering.

That Pair at Always Be Comedy at The Tommyfield

That Pair at Always Be Comedy at The Tommyfield

The Dog House: an appreciation

We once read something online complaining about the Dog House due to its late opening and its liberal use of the pavement for seating. These are the two best things about this Kennington institution. It’s right in the heart of Kennington at Kennington Cross, and the fact that people are always sat outside enjoying themselves until the early hours of the morning makes the area feel vibrant. It’s a little rough around the edges and we rarely visit a pub past 11pm nowadays, but when we do, it’s nice to know the Dog House will be open and buzzing. They have window boxes in full bloom at present, and they lend their tables to the Kennington Association for their occasional table top sales. Regulars at the pub include Morrissey* and Steve Lamacq**.


The Dog House flowers - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Dog House at night:

The Dog House at night - kenningtonrunoff.com

And in the day:

The Dog House - Kenningtonrunoff.com

* Clarification here

** Steve Lamacq actually does drink in the Dog House sometimes.