From self-contained, colourful courtyards in Deptford to benches next to the Cutty Sark, The Resident picks out 12 of the best beer gardens in south east London…
1 The Brookmill, Deptford
The Brookmill, sister pub to The Great North Wood in West Norwood, opened last autumn to much fan fare, and those who have seen its beer garden – and sampled its scotch eggs – will know it deserves it. The pub displays displays art by local artists, and the colourful, labyrinth-like courtyard beer garden, with picnic benches, bistro tables and room for plenty, features a garden mural created in partnership with Deptford Does Art.
65 Cranbrook Road SE8 4EJ; 020 8333 0899; thebrookmill.co.uk
2 The Crown Tavern, Lee
The Crown Tavern in Lee had a fantastic makeover last year and it looks great. Indoors, the spacious bar area hosts various styles of seating from ‘quick drink’ to ‘Sunday slouch’, there’s a bright, airy dining room to the rear, but it’s the beer garden that’s the show-stopper. Huge and colourful, with astroturf-style grass that never fails to be a dazzling shade of green, plus chunky colour-block picnic benches and spacious covered booths for those seeking shelter, it’s the perfect beer garden. It’s family-friendy, too, with fencing the whole way around to keep those little ones at bay.
117 Burnt Ash Hill, Lee SE12 0AJ; 020 8857 6607; thecrownlee.co.uk
3 The Half Moon, Herne Hill
The Half Moon is back! The once legendary live music venue that hosted everyone from Sinatra to U2 and La Roux, has had a rather middle-class makeover, but when the place looks as good as it does and the menu had gone full-on gastro, it’s hard to complain. Add in a cool beer garden with alfresco to boot and you won’t catch us complaining. There is still scope for the pub to host live music and cinema screenings in a rustic-looking outbuilding called the Workshop, so all is not lost on the events front.
10 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill SE24 9HU; halfmoonhernehill.co.uk
4 The Princess of Wales, Blackheath
As the team at the Princess of Wales correctly point out, ‘Blackheath itself is one big pub garden’. As well as the courtyard out front, from where you can nod your calm approval over the expansive Heath, the pub also has a courtyard out back with covered and heated areas. Drinks-wise, choose from at least 20 specialty beers and ciders on tap and a world of wines.
1a Montpelier Row, Blackheath SE3 0RL; 020 8852 5784
5 The Lord Northbrook, Lee
The Lord Northbrook in Lee underwent a total transformation in 2011 and is now a smart, popular gastropub with a fantastic decked garden – perfect to linger over a couple of jugs of Pimm’s with friends – and great bar food such as homemade Scotch eggs and cheese and anchovy straws. There’s also a fab selection of ales from small local breweries and an extensive wine list.
116 Burnt Ash Road SE12 8PU; 020 8318 1127
6 The Guildford Arms, Greenwich
The large sunken garden at The Guildford Arms in Greenwich is a secluded oasis of calm surrounded by white birches, tall grasses and kitchen herbs. There are both terrace and lawn areas, which can be divided and reserved for special occasions, and there’s also a barbecue and outdoor bar. The wine list travels Europe and the New World and you’ll find Greenwich-brewed Meantime beers alongside seasonal guest ales on tap.
55 Guildford Grove SE10 8JY; 020 8691 6293
7 The Grape & Grain, Crystal Palace
The Grape & Grain isn’t much to look at from the outside, but the community came together to transform the back garden of the pub into a TipsyGarden, growing hops, apples and grapes for local brews. The traditional pub serves a range of real ales and continental lagers as well as the rest, and was CAMRA’s Pub of the Year in 2011 for south east London. The pub also hosts regular quiz and music nights.
2 Anerley Hill, Crystal Palace SE19 2AA; 020 8778 9688
8 Dulwich Wood House, Sydenham
The Dulwich Wood House in Sydenham is a lovely, sprawling pub with a huge leafy beer garden and recently refurbished decking area. There’s plenty of room to sit – either in the shade of the trees or to lap up the sun – and for the kids to stretch their legs. It’s a Young’s pub with a selection of 40 wines from around the world, a good selection of craft beers and award-winning ales, fresh juices and coffee.
39 Sydenham Hill SE26 6RS; 020 8693 5666
9 The Gipsy Moth, Greenwich
The Gipsy Moth’s pub garden, with room for 200 people, offers front-row views of the majestic Cutty Sark. Kick back and enjoy a perfectly mixed Hendricks G&T, a cool pint of Pilsner Urquell or sturdy Doom Bar, chill out with a Brothers Festival Pear Cider or select from the varied wine list. There’s also a large retractable cover to keep the weather at bay and in the summer they ﬁre up the BBQ.
60 Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BL; 020 8858 0786
10 The Old Brewery, Greenwich
The Old Brewery has just had a refurb, reopening on Friday 7 April, and we can’t wait to see what they’ve done! The cafe, restaurant, bar and microbrewery has a lovely walled alfresco courtyard, bedecked with foliage, and we can’t imagine that that’s changed in any way for the negative. If it’s quiet you can catch the faint notes of piano or cello practice from Trinity Laban students at the adjacent Old Royal Naval College. As well as Meantime’s own locally brewed beers and a selection of the world’s best lagers, you can also enjoy a chilled glass of ﬁzz or wine.
Pepy’s Building, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich SE10; 020 3327 1280
11 The Rose Pub, New Cross
Reopened in January 2015, The Rose Pub & Kitchen is a great addition to New Cross. The front of the building is a contemporary pub with a lovely bar, open kitchen and board games stacked up in the corner. To the rear is a more formal restaurant and out back is a roomy beer garden that’s a world away from the crazy busy A2. Here they have long sharing benches and two covered areas, one complete with a TV where they will be screening Wimbledon this summer. Order a pizza fresh from their wood stove and share with friends.
272 New Cross Gate SE14 6AA; 020 8692 3193; rosepubandkitchen.com
12 Richard the First, Greenwich
The Richard 1st on Royal Hill has been a favourite since 1923, but it’s decor, drinks and ethos are very much of the teenies and the beer garden has just had a revamp that gives it an air of the great British seaside. And if the weather turns, just head indoors to the beautiful conservatory. As well as Young’s award-winning ales, craft beers, wines and spirits, there’s also a thoroughly decent menu. Oh and the joy of this place is that it’s right next door to Meantime’s Greenwich Union pub (which also has a beer garden), so if you fancy a bit of a pub crawl, that’s your first two stops right there.
52/54 Royal Hill, Greenwich SE10 8RT; 020 8692 2996; richardthefirst.co.uk
13 The Crown, Blackheath
This one’s roadside, which normally keeps beer gardens off our favourites list (nobody loves sharing their prosecco with petrol fumes), but The Crown can’t be ignored for its sheer vibrancy. Located right at the top of Blackheath Village, a stone’s throw from the rolling greenery of the Heath, there are plenty of seats for you and your chums to gather and get a little giddy pre-sunset. an extra bonus – the circular picnic benches mean nobody’s stuck on the end all on their todd.
49 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath SE3 0BS; 020 8852 0326; crownblackheath.co.uk
14 The Alma, Crystal Palace
The Alma is a really lovely pub. Another one built way back (1854) yet with a thoroughly modern approach, The Alma offers a relaxed, contemporary place to catch up with friends over a nicely priced Picpoul de Pinet and a Sunday roast… or a BBQ. Step outside to the rear and you’ll discover a huge beer garden with room for pretty much the whole of Crystal Palace. Summertime is when the BBQ menu comes into its own, offering all sorts of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes.
95 Church Road, Crystal Palace SE19 2TA; 020 8768 1885; thealmapub.com
15 The Commercial, Herne Hill
So new we haven’t even been yet, but if the secret beer garden at the back of The Commecrial is half as good as it used to be, we’re in! The courtyard is now home to fresh plants and twinkling lights, we’re told, but we’ll let you know more when we’ve popped in for a visit…
212 Railton Road , Herne Hill SE24 0JT thecommercialhotelhernehill.co.uk