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There's a great podcast, The Moon Under Water, where celebs piece together their fantasy watering hole a la George Orwell in his seminal 1943 essay. The folks behind Shirker's Rest have gone one further, by actually building their dream pub — and in doing so, creating the top-notch tap house New Cross has been sorely missing.
Let us count the ways we adore the Shirker's Rest. A vibe that straddles Kent micropub/craft beer shack. Delicious cask and keg selection from local breweries (inc. Anspach and Hobday, Kernel, Mondo and Villages on our visit). The 'Crisp News' wall adorned with salty nibbles, including the heavy duty Slabs — a game-changer in the potato snack universe. A scattering of 'street cotch' forming a roadside beer garden, affectionately known as the 'A20 Lounge'. Lovely, attentive barstaff, who didn't mind that we'd brought a magician in with us to perform an impromptu set (long story).
Throughout our maiden visit, on a Thursday night, the place was packed out with locals who looked like they'd been coming here half their lives. The pub had been open just 10 days. It bodes well.
The Shirker's Rest is a collaboration between Camberwell Shark and south London boozehounds/bloggers Deserter — and the pub is liberally sprinkled with the latter's touch, from framed 'street cotch' snaps, to a poster of their bibulous bible, Today South London, Tomorrow South London. While many modern pubs — traditional and craft — feel like they've had their soul vacuumed up, this place is like being invited into your cool mate's living room for a cheeky lash.
Funnily enough, Deserter once told us their perfect pub entailed a bar in a phone box, where punters brought their own booze. This is a rare occasion where reality has outstripped the dream.
Last visited: June 2022. All images © Londonist.