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Tuesday 27 May 2014

London Beer Dispensary - Little Nan's Cocktail Club

Some housekeeping before I talk about Friday's adventures. You may have noticed a name change from The List to Matt The List. This is not me getting in touch with my inner ego, but an attempt to make the blog name less generic (and different to the Scottish publication of the same name) without actually changing anything too much! 

Along with this, I have set up Matt The Tumblr and Matt The List on Facebook (Matt the Face? Face the List? Matt the Book?) - please take a look / follow / like / share etc if you get a minute! A new twitter handle & domain name might follow soon once I can work out the best way to avoid having the letter t three times in a row...

Friday 23rd May - Friday's outing saw me getting a train from Elephant & Castle for the first time ever. Not knowing quite how far through the shopping centre it was (lovely place by the way), I ended up missing my train and spending 20 minutes with a pushy but entertaining Big Issue seller.  After parting with some change, he gave me a manly hug and sent me on my way to Sevenoaks.

I got off a few stops short of Kent at Crofton Park, just down the road from Brockley, to visit the latest pub venture from the clever chaps at Late Knight's Brewery.  Having recently spent a great evening at Beer Rebellion in Gipsy Hill, I had high hopes for their new joint, London Beer Dispensary.

They have taken over one half of Mr.Lawrence's wine bar & shop on Brockley Road, still sharing a garden with their grape-loving neighbours.  Most unusually, they have stripped away the previous space-wasting bar, and replaced it with a large central barrel.  There is no bar. Anywhere. Just a load of cask and keg lying around, waiting to be drunk.  Genius.

The bearded duo of Darren & Aidan man the open space, offering up tasters and friendly advice on what to drink.  With cask at £3.40/pint and keg at £4.20/pint, you should be able to go through the majority of the 8 casks, 3 kegs and 5 ciders with friends without breaking the bank.  For a bit of fun, order from the mysterious Dark and Light kegs which are only revealed once totally finished.  They imported this idea from their Brighton Beer Dispensary.

Is it a barrel? Is it a bar?

The likes of Weird Beard Decadence Stout (on the Dark tap), Truefitt Erimus and Great Heck Amish Mash (awesome name) impressed on our visit.  There are plenty of exciting bottled beers if nothing on the board takes your fancy, as well as a fine selection of whiskies.  You can probably bring a glass of wine in from next door if you ask nicely too.

The top notch burgers from Beer Rebellion are on offer here, and the quality remains high. Also, Late Knights' witty scribblings are once again present - the emergency Stella box was our favourite.

My hopes were not misplaced.  They've set up another cracking little beer (and whisky) haven in an unlikely SE London location.  Watch out Peckham & Penge, you are probably next.  

Matt The List tip - You might occasionally find Late Knights beer at Alexandra Nurseries, an independent garden centre & café in Penge which has just come on to my radar.

Flatmate Maggie did her classic arrive late thing and rocked up just as we were leaving London Beer Dispensary, parting ways with SE locals, Sister Jo, Ant and Ryan.  Three remained and we sped over to The Talbot pub nearer St.John's & Lewisham for a round or two of teapot cocktails upstairs in Little Nan's Cocktail Club.

Not far apart - Little Nan's Bar & Little Nan's Cocktail Club

Little Nan's invite

Paul, Maggie and I weren't quite sure what to expect as we wandered through The Talbot, passing some local Brockley Brewery beer on cask.  I haven't made it yet to the original Little Nan's Bar in Deptford (not as far away as I once thought), but have read numerous amusing reports including this one from Keith Barker-Main.  

The Deptford bar is a tribute to owner Tristan Scutt's nan, who enjoyed a drink every now and then. This second site is supposedly in honour of Little Nan's Little Nan (stay with me), and so has been royally kitted out with all sorts of wonderful Victorian tat.  

We picked our own china tea cups for the evening from a large selection dangling off the wall, and squeezed our way through a packed parlour to our reserved table in the corner.  They filled every last inch of space with customers - hats off to the couple who squeezed into a window seat with their knees around their chins.

Several pages worth of sharing teapot cocktails are stuck into a book, and orders are taken on large playing cards. If this all sounds very on trend and East London, it's not.  It's genuinely tacky and charming, and the punters are not your usual bearded hipsters.  Alongside the cocktails, unlikely sharing plates including Toad in the Hole are available - 6 for £7.50.

On to the tough decision, do you want a Kriss Akabusi or a Lord Paddy Ashdown? A teapot of Sir Christopher Marlowe or a Dame Patsy Stone?  

Our Queen Ladybird of Brockley was not the fiery rum & ginger punch that we were hoping for, but a sickly sweet mixture reminiscent of Ginger Ale & Cream Soda.  We fared better with the Lady Barbara Windsor, a tad heavy on bitter Campari with mint, lime, tonic and prosecco.  

They won us round with "limited edition" shots of Werther's Original vodka presented in little pots in a striped sweety bag, accompanied Little Nan's magnets and glacé cherries on sparkly sticks.  

Don't go in expecting a masterclass in mixology and you will leave with a large smile on your face. Little Nan's Cocktail Club is a bonkers little bar that doesn't take itself too seriously, and its clearly already a huge hit with the locals.  

Matt The List tip - If you visit the Deptford branch, make sure you couple it with a trip to Big Red Pizza, the pizza restaurant, bar and venue that makes use of a double-decker bus on Deptford Church Street.  Whilst in the area, you should also check out the Lewisham Micro Library - a free-to-use library in a phone box that we stumbled across on our way to the bus stop! Apparently there's another phone box in Brockley that is used as an art gallery - read more about both of them here.

More of Matt The List in Brockley - Brockley Market & Brockley Brewery

Lewisham Micro Library

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  1. Hi! thanks for the link to my blog (the one about the Micro Library).
    Always good to stumble upon a mini library in a lit up phone box when on a pub crawl ;)
    Hope you enjoyed South East London.

  2. Aren't they great?! I need to get over to Big Red Pizza, been on the to do list for too long, but sadly don't live anywhere near there.


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