Deptford is home to many incredible bars and pubs and with the recent opening of the Deptford Market Yard, there are now even more places to dress up, unwind with friends, enjoy a cocktail, or indulge in a craft beer or two. While getting to know this great part of Lewisham Borough, here's a guide for discovering the best of what Deptford's nightlife has to offer. All locations are a exciting experience regardless of the weather, or your drinking preferences.
The Bird’s Nest
Get off the DLR at Deptford Bridge station and head past Lewisham College, up Church Street, to The Bird’s Nest for great tunes and a raucous atmosphere. A great place to enjoy live music, The Birds Nest has a charming ‘rough around the edges’ rock ‘n’ roll type vibe. Don't let appearances fool you though; the staff are very helpful and always up for a laugh, while the clientele are friendly and genuine. As a live music venue, The Birds Nest has hosted some big names before their rise to fame and, dating back to the 16th century, has a long history of commitment to the arts, creativity and the local community. The pub is also incredibly well priced; you can enjoy drinks as low as £2.50 during happy hour, Monday to Friday, 5pm-7pm and receive 10% off food with your South London Club card.
Moving further down Church Street, head left down Giffin Street to join the high street and then walk towards the newly-launched Market Yard. Little Nan’s bar is a new addition to Deptford’s watering holes and a great place to enjoy craft beers, premium spirits and cocktails in teapots! The decor is very kitsch and may provoke some memories of your Nan’s living room i.e. unchanged since the 70’s, still a fun and comforting vibe. Little Nan’s sister venues in Dalston & Peckham have been a great success and are a testament to the ability & entrepreneurship available South of the river. Little Nan’s has a great atmosphere inside and out, meaning you can sip away at a refreshing cocktail on a warm day, while the world passes you by.
After leaving the bright lights of Little Nan’s, head back to the high street, scoot over the road, and visit Buster Mantis. You can't miss it, situated within two arches of the viaduct beneath the train tracks. This Jamaican bar, restaurant and community space is hugely popular with Deptford locals and visitors alike. The interior is minimalist with a sophisticated chic kind of feel. The drinks menu only adds to the smooth & sexy vibe with its array of delicious Caribbean cocktails and, of course, expect plenty of rum & red stripe. What’s great about Buster Mantis is that the space is split directly down the middle, creating a quiet (ish), chill-out area near the entrance and a more lively dance floor area in the adjacent room. Plenty of guest DJs and live music often accompany and incite the dancing. Grab 10% off with your South London Club card.
The Job Centre
After a few Daiquiris, head to the nearby Job Centre. Although part of the Antic pub chain, this spacious former employment agency has a minimalistic and quirky decor, complete with exposed industrial ceilings and simple furniture. To drink, the Job Centre offer a great mix of beers, wines and cocktails and often features a number of locally produced ales and lagers. The venue is huge, seating is always easy to come by, and the staff are very friendly and welcoming. Although the decor is basic, the atmosphere is far from it, making it a key part of Deptford’s nightlife. The pub also features a small beer garden adding extra space and a place to grab some fresh air between rounds.
The Royal Standard
At this point, it may be advisable to walk off your last drinks and enjoy the fresh Deptford air as you meander down the high street. On your way, cross over New Cross Road, and begin the ascent up Tanners Hill, where you will find The Royal Standard perched on the corner of Herald Street. Newly refurbished and offering a fantastic food menu, from which you can enjoy 10% off with your South London Club card, this charming independent pub offers something a little different from the other fine dining pubs in the area; with season specific dishes that are locally sourced where possible. Not to mention they offer an extensive selection of wines and craft beer.
Having relaunched in the summer last year, the charming Victorian architecture is complimented by the fresh paint work, exposed brick and corrugated iron fixtures & fittings, creating an industrial but comfortable dining and lounging area. The pub is smartly furnished, boasting some intriguing artwork for the eyes to enjoy. The pub often has live events so, if you prefer quieter evenings for relaxing & chatting, keep an eye on their social media. The staff are incredibly friendly and passionate about what they want to achieve here and have transformed the pub into a welcoming place offering high quality food and carefully chosen drinks.
The Full Nelson
Lastly, as you walk, or perhaps now stumble, towards the high street and DLR station, consider popping into the Full Nelson. As Deptford’s first dedicated vegan bar, complete with vegan beers and bar snacks, the Full Nelson is the latest addition to the Deptford drinking scene. A tiny bundle of fun for omnivores and veggies alike. With very limited space, prepare to get toasty as you annihilate a plate of ‘Seitanic Wings’ and quaff a pint of locally crafted beer, or perhaps a not-so-bloody Mary?
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The Dog & Bell
Quite apart from the other venues that make up this pub crawl round Deptford, The Dog & Bell sits just off Watergate Street, which can be accessed at the far end of the high street that intersects with Evelyn Street. Tucked away in a mainly residential area, this brilliant pub serves the best real ale in Deptford. That’s a fact. Commonly described as a ‘classic boozer’ this charismatic watering hole offers a more peaceful pub-going experience; a place to take your time, talk to your companions, sip your drinks purposefully and feel the warmth & comfort of a no-frills pub. Don’t expect food, but if you’re lucky, there may be a ham & cheese sandwich somewhere behind the bar. Come on a Sunday however, and you’ll be blown away by their lunchtime offering. Humble, welcoming and truly amiable, The Dog & Bell is well worth a visit for beer lovers and pub enthusiasts alike.
At this point, after visiting seven of the best drinking venues Deptford has to offer, you’ll have introduced yourself to a wide range of micro-communities that make Deptford such an interesting, diverse and enjoyable place to live. Supporting these independent bars and pubs is important as they employ more people, pay more taxes and invest more money into the local community than their boring chain-pub counterparts. So you can rest, safe in the knowledge that your pint-pounds are contributing to a more equitable & vibrant local community (learn more on this here). Enjoy responsibly!
WHAT IS THE SOUTH LONDON CLUB CARD?
The South London Club is a local discount card to help support small independent businesses across South London whilst saving all who live, work & play in South London money! With over 500+ local discounts to choose from, you will discover & explore all the best hidden gems in South London. Join over 5,000 of us & celebrate all that's independent & South London!