This pub was editorially chosen for inclusion by Londonist.
From the outside, this place looks like the kind of joint you wouldn't touch with somebody else's shit-stained bargepole... if you even notice it at all. Yet the Catford Constitutional is one of the finest venues in south-east London. A recent acquisition by the Antic group (who'd previously ran the Catford Bridge Tavern a few doors away) sees the down-at-heel former conservative club turned into a pretend-down-at-heel middle class destination, but in a good way.
You approach down an unlikely alley towards what's reckoned to be the oldest building in Catford. Though clearly marked, the entrance door looks like it's not an entrance door. But persevere. Inside, you're greeted with a vast and dimly lit main bar whose fittings and fixtures are the real-deal originals, all lovingly left unloved to provide a shabby gentile vibe. Here and there hang framed family photos from the 1970s, rubbing shoulders with icons of Churchill and Lenin. Another wall is decorated with covers from Private Eye.
The far end of the room is converted to a candle-lit dining area with something approaching elegance, while there's a cosy sitting room back behind you (the main bar, however, can get a bit chilly in winter). The upstairs toilets are, well, let's just say unique, and the peeling wallpaper and suspicion of dry rot are, well, let's just say atmospheric. Somehow, it all works, and you'll find plenty of families and dating couples among the mix of drinkers.
While the beer choice isn't huge, it is imaginative, with little known tipples on cask and keg, backed up by a few bottles. A 6.7% cider had us almost seeing double. Wines, too, are stocked sparingly, but well chosen.
Last updated January 2015.