This pub was chosen editorially for inclusion.
Some pubs divide the judges, and this may well be one of them. This is a loafer's paradise, perfect for the idler with a moment or two more spare time for 'thinking' than people who have to actually graft for a wage.
The Dissenting Academy on Newington Green is the type of pub where you don't look like a berk for writing in a little notebook, which is useful for Londonist attempting to jot down the bizarre wealth of decorations, artwork, trinkets and hanging cattle scattered around the pub.
The pub takes its name from the most famous occasional convention of free thinkers and dissenters in London, which used to meet up here, and it does its best today to retain an air of non-conformity with its enormous portrait of Bill Hicks hanging proudly above the fireplace. It some people's eyes it may stretch itself a little thin with its Johnny Rotten and Ai Weiwei posters. There's no denying that the pub is tying to set itself up as unique, and it can't help but hit the mark with weird hanging lamps, stuffed animals, gas masks, incongruous turntables and that large hanging cow plastered with the face of Damien Hirst.
There were many ale pumps during our visit, though only a couple actually on the go, for some reason. In keeping with its desire for dissent it offers a fine pint of Murphy's instead of Guinness. The wine list is fairly strong, and the food menu, while not enormous, does include unlikely cuts of beef such as onglet, underblade and 'rump barrel for two'.
Very comfortable sofas, too. We'd have had a nice long think ourselves if we hadn't been so busy with the notebook.