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Hermits Cave, Camberwell

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user reviews of the Hermits Cave, Camberwell

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Really good overall in that it suits a wide range of people from gentrifying Dulwich hamlet fans to - errr - traditional Dulwich Hamlet fans. the beer as in excellent nick including a great Porter from Five Points - who seem to be ubiquitous in the Smoke these days.
BoehmBawerk - 7 Oct 2019 15:41
The Cave was again perfectly pleasant on Sunday. There was no longer any sign of the furniture world's answer to the North Face of the Eiger, incidentally.
Hulots_hat - 16 Apr 2019 18:40
The pub sported a sign saying "the best beer round here" and yes, my pint of Hophead was flawless last summer.

The floorboards are good and foot-ground, but the furnishings are smart and comfortable enough, all except, that is, for the five-seater settee, which has a huge hole in place of one of its seats. (I saved one soul from throwing his new pint over himself by falling through it. I wonder how often that happens? Something needs doing before someone seriously hurts him or herself whatever.)

There are various curios on display on top of the bar canopy, including an accordion. So if you know any players of these devices, and they happen to be tall, then the good drinkers of this establishment would, I'm pretty sure, be grateful if you took them elsewhere.
Hulots_hat - 16 Feb 2018 11:42
A lot of alcoholic losers down there at times. The governor is an Irish chap - a firm, polite and chatty elderly bloke but make no mistake, he does not give a toss if you misbehave. This place is a good boozer though. Great selection of good quality real ales and spirits. No music which is great. Good atmosphere in general. There is one con though. Be aware of the governor's daughter behind the counter. She may be quite unpleasant person to encounter. She's got poor communication skills and could be quite rude unnecessarily when you've had one too many which does not help really. She's being patiently tolerated by the customers there. Double-faced and intellectually deluded she is but I would recommend this place to anyone who wants to experience a good old traditional English boozer.
Markoo - 22 Nov 2015 11:04
There are some truly moany reviews below this one.
Best pub by a mile in the area. Clientele matches the mixed nature of the area - students and professional boozers mixing happily.
Would be good if they could make the beer quality a bit more consistent though. My pint of Shrimpers two weeks ago was possibly the best pint of my life. Tonight a bit flat and a tiny bit sour.
But always the first choice for me locally.
Uncle_Gareth - 2 Nov 2013 22:43
Best pub in Camberwell for me, small if solid line up of ales (Rudgate Ruby Mild was on a lot recently, lovely beer) and a good card of single malt too.

Alright the decor could maybe be tarted up a bit but the service is always efficient and this is still a proper boozer that has a good mix of locals and lots of students from the arts college.

Not entirely sure what the previous poster is on about but for such a big fan of the Cadeleigh you'd think he'd be aware that Dermot sold up and the Cadeleigh was no more after June 2012.
Ruddles81 - 3 Aug 2013 23:14
Used to be a great pub about 15 years ago. Now sadly lacking in atmosphere and students.

Revisited with 7 people. Although we got a large round the landlord refused to provide free tap water to a friend with a kidney infection, thereby breaking the terms of the Licensing Act.

The landlord refused to discuss this or even dispense water to anyone else.

It is definitely not the best pub in Camberwell. The Bear and the Joiners nearby are both better nowadays. The best pub in the area is the Cadeleigh Arms on Shenley Road.
bringmethebeer - 5 Feb 2013 15:06
Another pub in Camberwell that for some reason I have never visited, though its been here for as long as I can remember having grown up just down the road.

Proper pub with regulars sat at the bar watching the horse racing on the tele which dominated the left hand side of the bar.

A fair few 'arty' types came in and left again without buying a drink. Pleasant pub without being intrusive.

4 ales on tap of which all but one from out of London and fairly unusual to see in this area without them being served in 'spoons pubs.

Tired looking leather sofas and a mish mash of seats but the fireplace is a stunning marble number and the fire is real and warm.

Really good selection of photographs on the walls of local shop keepers which is a really good touch.

Decent and honest pub.
lezford - 2 Dec 2012 00:16
Pleasant enough pub, made better by beinag able to commandeer one of the comfy seating areas. Couple of ales available on Saturday.
filf - 4 Mar 2012 15:46
this is a bit of an odd pub. The selection or real ales is really random - they change 'em up and have some really good ones on tap, but i frequently find they don't have anything i'd call a session beer - it must be my age, but i just cannot stomach drinking beers that are over 4.3% alcohol over a few hours. The flip side is, if you're a cider drinker you should be a pig in mud. 6 ciders on tap last time i was in there!

Don't seem to serve any food, and it can be hard to grab a chair sometimes - get a mix of older chaps, and students? from the art college. Not a bad little pub. Quite enjoy a mini crawl of a starting one or two here, then heading onto the tiger round the corner for the rest of the evening.
feedthedude - 24 Feb 2012 17:04
Hermit's Cave
28 Camberwell Church Street, Camberwell, London SE5 8QU

08-08-2011

I drank in Hermit’s for ages and the publican gradually became more unhinged as his other pubs failed. I wonder why… he’s a lunatic. Doesn’t pay staff… my flat mate flogged her guts out for him for 3 years and when she left he accused her of theft and knicked a months wages off her – she’s a quality girl! Staff are rude save for the Polish girls whom he also rips off… the real ale is cloudy crap (bought from cash n carry and passed off as Youngs!!)… off most of the time and on new years eve 2008/9 after being served the bottom of the keg which looked like something out of a blocked rugby bar drain I was told to Fxxx Offf by the owner – how out of order was that! Happy new year! The place is a pit.
nickgarrett2828 - 8 Aug 2011 17:40
Can't agree with the 7 out of 10 rating. Guess it must have gone down hill in the last couple of years judging by the dates of the reviews. Noisy and dirty with off hand bar staff.
Mat_s - 16 Mar 2011 23:43
Corner pub with bare floorboards, etched windows and artwork for sale on the walls. It is currently scaffolded. But there are still some outdoor tables. 4 real ales were on last night - Brodies Amarilla, Mild and World Cup Willie and Gravesend Shrimpers Bitter. Real cider was Westons Vintage Organic & Old Rosie. The Brazil game was being shown on one TV in the corner. Fairly pleasant atmosphere. Although I'm not sure it's worthy of a top 100 rating. 7/10 for me.
blue_scrumpy - 21 Jun 2010 20:23
An old fashioned no frills boozer of a type increasingly hard to find in Inner London. Two handpumps dispensing Loddon Shrimpers Bitter and Brodie's IPA were promising, however my pint of the latter, though drinkable, was very underripe and not worthy of the pub's entry in the Good Beer Guide. However, it felt like my type of pub and it was a pub I'd like to like, so I'll give it another go some time.
Delirious_Nomad - 19 Apr 2010 13:24
Best pub in Camberwell, Dulwich or Brixton.

Clientele is a mixture of alcoholics, art students and the lucky residents of Camberwell Grove. No music but can be loud nevertheless. Moira and her dad run a tight ship, but they're genuinely very decent people - when I told them I was leaving the area they bought me a pint! Also, on St Patrick's day they throw on half-decent free Irish Stew; walk in and get your fill.

At its best in winter when the two fires are on full tilt. Summer and you can watch the street gangs and King's mental patients amble around Church Street from the pavement outside.

Great variety of beer and arguably one of the best real ales in the country: Shrimpers.

If you take your girlfriend there, and she likes it, marry her quick.
glennquagmire - 11 Jul 2009 18:40
A wonderful house - landlord really knows how to run a pub. And they have Mild on too!
E17Bee - 22 Jun 2009 20:43
The only pub I really want to visit in SE5 for the moment. The landlord is an ever present feature (lesson to owners of pubs with managers on short leas(h)es), who basically makes sure everything gets done as it should be done. Beer good, change correct, enough chat if you want it, not if you don't. Landlord knows a thing or 2 about booze, eg try the absinthe.

And the TV is in a kind of annexed off room. Thank Christ for that. A pub which recognises not everyone is a TV monkey who wants to jabber and caper about in front of the goggle box, but serves though who do wish to mentally park it (and cut a caper).
declan88 - 15 Feb 2009 19:42
One of the *best* pubs in London.

Why?

Well, oddly enough not because of the beer or food or staff or decor or anything like that. Just an unearthly combination of people and place that gives it a perfect pub atmosphere. I always return.
happy_beer_drinker - 17 Jan 2009 21:59
Perfect example of a pub thriving in an area undergoing constant change, basically by not wasting time and money, and alienating customers, with constant revamps. The Hermit's Cave is very much a traditional boozer, with all the dark wood, frosted glass and shining brass that that implies. However, the landlord keeps excellent Pride and Gravesend Shrimpers' Bitter on tap, as well as a full range of lagers and Guinness, and seems to shift large quantities of all of them, as the place is never empty. As for the customers, it's one of those pubs that has a lot of regulars, both black and white, but also picks up passing trade due to it's location near the green and on Church Street - certainly, I've never felt remotely unwelcome, altough did have to relocate someone's shoulder one night, after they'd thrown a punch in a family brawl, missed, and dislocated it (the only aggro I've seen in the pub and that was 2 years ago).
On a cautionary note, it gets extremely busy on Friday and Saturday nights, particularly if the boxing is on TV, so get there early. Marginally better than my other favoured pub in the area, the Cadeleigh Arms, so 8/10. Actually, make that 9/10, as I really can't fault it at all.
pablos13 - 10 Dec 2008 16:41
This is a pub-lovers' pub, arguably the best in Camberwell. Unpretentious, friendly staff, good mix of locals and art students makes for a friendly relaxed atmosphere, and there is a great range of beers and, particularly, traditional ciders. The selection changes every so often, with old favourites such as the Old Rosie remaining on tap.
turfbeer - 14 Nov 2008 19:05
Relatively small, but perfectly formed. Lovely staff, nice beers, good place to watch the game.
Everyone should go here, because if it ever closes then you'd feel guilty.
How a pub should be - though they do need ashtrays on the wall outside.

followthebear - 8 Apr 2008 18:00
Moved to Camberwell in 2002 initially drank at the Funky Monkey and would look across to the Hermits & think rough! Oh the irony, I now do that from the opposite direction (and have been for the last 4 years).

This place is easily the best place by miles for miles (literally - I now live in Vauxhall & still consider the Hermits my local).

A bit art college studenty at times (I mean that in a nice way) but not overpoweringly so.

Yep there are the regulars/locals and their cliques including me & my best mate- the ultimate clique. Everyone gets on with everyone & that leads to much merriment.

Having no 'mood' music is not something you actually notice or miss, although I have ONCE heard music.. New Years Eve 2004. My friends from out of town were down & we ended up here (every other place in the vicinity was rammed & over-charging on the doors) But not the good old honest Hermits. To be honest I was slightly worried about what they'd think, I needn't of worried as we all had FANTASTIC night.

Actually it was one of the Best New Years ever!!

Great place. Three Cheers to the Hermits.


glasshalfull - 1 Mar 2008 16:58
legendary pub. really good atmosphere-crowd reflects the up and coming nature of the area. good selection of ales/lagers/ciders and they show footy now which is great.
anon125 - 5 Dec 2007 12:03
Top pub for well kept real ales, perrys, ciders and classic pub surroundings. Best pub in the green.
mrfalafel - 2 Aug 2007 18:34
Good 'normal' pub - how they all used to be
EmilyBr - 27 Jul 2007 14:16
excellent pub really proper one good atmos good football great prices no i dont know the landlord/ staff just really good
all kinds of people students professionals
like going back twenty years or more
markmc1 - 1 Apr 2007 16:50
Fantastic, characterful, not one for drinking in wine in though
Simon28 - 9 Feb 2007 10:43
Previous review is reason to visit this characterful pub!
se5live - 17 Dec 2006 12:44
Saddest pub in Camberwell if you check it. Full of alcoholic men (and women). Well it is a pub so I guess that's OK.
anonymous - 11 Sep 2006 00:18
Great pub for alcoholics and abusers - not so good if you have good manners and a sense of humour. Ya have to be part of the clique and adored by the peeps. No flirting if you are more attractive than the bars staff - need I go on...?
anonymous - 11 Sep 2006 00:11
Best pub in London for me, very very diverse bunch, a very drop in for a quick one type corner bar, not too many nutters, great selection of beers and the Heineken is kept very well, nice and friendly staff, punters are mostly chatty. Gets going after 9pm not too trendy, marvellous ornaments above bar, nice seating, always looks full because it's so small.
alphabetclub - 6 May 2006 15:59
Best traditional boozer in Camberwell.
JamesW - 18 Mar 2006 00:33
If you want to be told to "Go **** yourself" by the landlord cos you were saving a seat for a friend then go along to this pub.
You will have a ball. Not.

Serious. We were in there on New Years Day having a couple of quiet afternoon pints and the landlord told us we could not keep a seat for a friend who was late! When we asked why the abuse started!

Landlord must have serious issues if this is how he treats his customers!

Oh and the toilets stink!


Jezerama - 1 Jan 2006 21:08
Bigger than it looks from outside. Didn't see any hermits in here.
shw500 - 17 Oct 2005 15:25
Hermits Cave is, and always will be Camberwell's top boozer! This is a proper pub for proper people!

All together now - "Let's have your glasses please!"
ratsterama - 27 Sep 2005 11:40
I visit london several times a year, this pub was just down the road from my then girlfriend (now wife) flat. I really enjoy meeting up with people I have met at the hermit every time I am in town. Not being from england, I cannot verify if this is a "true pub' but it is what I would envision as one.
mbilodeau - 25 Sep 2005 07:53
This is the best pub in Camberwell.

Amanda - sorry but you really should consider pissing off back to Clapham.
nunobensen - 2 Sep 2005 15:03
I'm sorry, but I can't see what all the fuss is about. Have tried it once and the only way I would go in there again is if the only other place open in Camberwell was the Silver Buckle. It's smoky, smelly and, at least when I was there, full of beered up blokes with an overdose of testosterone looking for a fight. Maybe I caught it on an off night...But I'd much rather drink in the Funky Munky or the Castle across the road.
Amanda_Fuller - 14 Jun 2005 13:45
great traditional old boozer and excellent beer selection. Also staff really nice - other pubs in area take note. Best of all, no fruit or gaming machines.
withnail - 25 Apr 2005 12:08
A traditional pub that still serves normal pub food, and amazingly good value tasty food with it. It looks ropey from the outside, but it's a great place.
neil - 20 Jun 2004 00:54
A good old fashioned pub. Nice beer. It has a tv which usually shows football. Can't fault it.
Simon - 20 Feb 2004 15:14
Now this is *A* pub. Great selection of beers on tap, cheap (good) food and there might even be a bit of sawdust on the floor. Totally unpretentious (see Blakes round the corner for that) and chilled. Small screen in the corner for footy (no sound though). Real fires keep you cosy in the winter and opens out to the street in the summer (although that means you might have to make conversation with some of Camberwell's original 'odd' inhabitants - as opposed to the yuppies that are taking over - I'm as guilty as the next man). Lovely. Friendly staff. Best 'real' pub in Camberwell.
Parsnip - 19 Jan 2004 15:29
Great "corner" pub with bags of character, nice choice of real ales and expensive lagers and good mix of locals
camber - 3 Jan 2004 16:21
Easily the best pub in Camberwell.Well kept beers in a very friendly atmosphere.The bar staff are all lovely people and deliver great service.Only bad point is that they took out the Boddingtons.Oh well!Extra cold Guinness I suppose.
Eck - 23 Oct 2003 15:43
I think owned by Whitbread but run tremendously by an Irishman who believe in good beer and decent food. Compare this to the plastic paddy (no offense to anyone of Irish blood) and you will find a proper pub. Only quibble is that the 1/2s of Hoegaarden are a lot more than 1/2 the cost of a pint.
Tim C - 16 Oct 2003 18:18
Great boozer in either the summer or winter. Terrific place to sit outside and watch the various characters in Camberwell go about their daily business. In the winter 2 coal fires to keep you nice and toasty. Excellent home made food at lunchtimes, with nothing over a fiver and a good selection of ales and Belgian beers.
Southmark - 4 Sep 2003 13:24
It's my four mile away local. You can sit outside as well. Ah London pride and shrimpers
Ben Brown - 18 Jul 2003 13:49
This is about the best Pub in SE5 and definately worth a visit. Mixed crowd, Locals through to young professionals. Great service and George the Glass Collector is a Star! No music which is great and most big football games. Fantastic bar in the Heart of Camberwell!
Craig - cwilliams@fss.co.uk - 11 Nov 2002 16:15
One of the finest selections of real ale south of the Thames. I must if you love a drop of nut brown ale.
Gareth - 20 Sep 2002 17:32
A classic local made special by the many different backgrounds of its locals. The bar is full of character and characters
Mike - mike@worldsite.demon.co.uk - 20 Sep 2002 16:52

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