8 Debauched Things To Do In London

By Londonist Last edited 27 months ago

Last Updated 27 April 2022

8 Debauched Things To Do In London

South London bloggers, Deserter, have written probably the best book ever about drinking in south London. In it, they get up late, drink, and wander around south London. That's about it. We asked how we could be more like them. Here's what they said.

1. Visit the dedicated 'Smokers' bench'

Like all cemeteries, West Norwood's is an ideal stop-off for a herbal pick-me-up. But what marks this one as special is the dedicated 'Smokers' Bench'.

Tucked away in the north-eastern corner is a seat commemorating the lives of Bill, Ambrose and Elsie Smoker. Naturally, the bench has become a magnet for local tokers and legend has it that they even leave one another special ready-rolled gifts there.

2. Get something for the weekend... beer

Fancy a beer but need a haircut and not got time for both? Then head over to Barry Road Barbers, East Dulwich, where proprietor, Sean, will happily furnish you with a cold one from the fridge, gratis.

Sipping a beer while admiring your own reflection is a perfect start to any weekend. Deserter associate, Half-life, has been known to drop in for a nostril hair trim and stay all afternoon for the booze and chat.

3. Lambeth Chucklehead Show

Get on the #chucklehead #cider! #thecountryshow #brockwellpark

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Once a year, London's greatest free festival, the Lambeth Country Show, lands in Brockwell Park, Herne Hill. It features the single greatest thing ever to come from the countryside, Chucklehead cider. At 7% ABV, this Devonshire scrumpy fuels a bacchanalian orgy of such proportions it borders on collective hysteria.

First you feel your legs go, then your inhibitions, followed shortly by your clothes. By 7pm you're dancing round a fire and contemplating starting a new civilisation with all your new friends, one based on the worship of apples.

4. Bus stops

It’s a little known fact that that the P in South London's P bus network (P4, P12, P13, etc) stands for 'Pubs'. And now, with Sadiq's hopper initiative, these bus-based pub crawls have never been more affordable.

Our pick of the P4 route (Brixton to Lewisham): Trinity Arms, Brixton; The Cambria, Loughborough Junction; Brockley Jack, Brockley; Ladywell Tavern, Ladywell; Sutton's Radio, Lewisham. Ding ding.

5. Peckham Liberal Club

If you're a fan, as we are, of the retro 'club chic' of places like Brixton's Effra Social or the Catford Constitutional Club — ex-members-only social clubs that have been taken over and turned into kooky watering holes for all — then you should look in at the Peckham Liberal Club.

It's similar to these other ex-working men's clubs, with the key difference being… it still is one. An annual membership of just £25 a year buys you a chance to drink all day at prices from last century, waste what's left of your youth in a vast snooker hall and the opportunity to meet Peckhamites that were around long before the Ginger Line and the 'Hipster Express'.

6. Hello, Sailortown

You won't find the Three Mariners on WhatPub? or TripAdvisor, and that's because, strictly speaking, it's not real. It's in a museum, the Museum of London Docklands.

To prepare for this afternoon out, each of your group should conceal booze about their persons. Upon entering the museum make your way to Sailortown, the wonderful re-creation of a mid-19th Century dockside town. There you will find the Three Mariners, and hopefully a couple of your mates, giggling like spoons.

Dont worry, when security eventually throws you out, there's a regular bar downstairs, with more beer.

7. Bash in the privates

Don't mind if we do...

London is the UK's art capital and not a day goes by without the opening of a new exhibition. And where there is art, there is wine. Between 6pm and 8pm, London's galleries are awash with free booze to celebrate Jemima's installation or Ollie's potato prints.

An afternoon spent signing up to the mailing lists of London's galleries can reap great boozy dividends, or if that sounds too much like hard work, just do what Half-life does: Turn up uninvited, holding a champagne flute and say you just stepped outside for a fag.

8. Smack my beach up

Twice a day, the tides on Old Father Thames recede, leaving a riverside wilderness in the heart of the city or, as we like to think of it, a playground. A number of sandy beaches reveal themselves, to which there is unrestricted access. You just have to know about it.

Here you can pause to enjoy the city from unusual angles, far from the madding crowd. Just you, your crew, a bag of cans and some king-size Rizla.

The Deserter book, Today South London, Tomorrow South London, is out now.