Category Archives: pubs

Revamped Hare and Billet

Revamped Hare and Billet pub

Notes on the rejigged Hare and Billet pub:

Bonobo beer – dark ale nutty almost burnt
Adnams – as you’d expect
India pale ale – nice
Oakham ales – Scarlet Macaw – didn’t try it looked interesting though..
Weasel Beer – likewise
Hare and billet bitter – as they had before

£9.10 for an Orchard Cider, a pint of Adnams, and a packet of pipers salt & vinegar crisps seems more than it used to be.

The free wifi is good, and actually works, which is more than can be said for many other local pubs. It’s run by The Cloud & Greene King.

The pub is still dog-friendly. Almost too dog friendly. Maybe just ban the small yappy-type dogs.

There’s music on but it’s not loud or annoying.

The pub smells better than it used to. It’s never honked like the bloody Railway, but definitely better now the loos are upstairs.

Speaking of the loos, there is now a massive empty (as of 5.30pm on a Saturday) restaurant area where the loos and kitchen used to be. I wish pubs wouldn’t differentiate between drinking and eating. Ten empty tables, with everyone else huddled at the front drinking.

All in all though, it’s a good revamp I think.

Lamp and window in Hare and Billet

New menu in Hare and Billet pub


Filed under blackheath, food, pubs

Hare and Billet – photos for refurbishment

Hare and Billet closed for refurbishment
The Hare & Billet pub is closing for refurbishment from 6th January until 12th February. I’ve been contacted by someone working on the pub’s interior design. If anyone has any historical photos of the pub, or information about the origin of the name, please send it over to me and I will forward it on – ideally I’d like to post them here too if that’s ok with you. Thanks! I’ve asked Neil Rhind to contact them. In his book (p186) it mentions that a horse bus route used to run from nearby the pub in the 1840s? Perhaps the name stems from this business?

There’s always the ghost story I suppose…


Filed under blackheath, pubs

No soap in the Princess of Wales pub

Every time I go into The Princess of Wales or the Railway pubs, the toilets almost never have any handsoap in them. It happened again to me today in the PoW, and it drives me nuts. These places sell food. I think it was probably AA Gill who said that if you walk into a restaurant, and there’s no soap in the loo, just leave.


Let’s say you’ve got a normal immune system, and you go to the bathroom, wash your hands in a perfunctory manner with no soap, and later on decide to eat some chips or perform some other activity that transfers bacteria from your hands to the upper portion of your gut.

You’ll probably be fine, just as you will probably also get away with driving while mildly-illegally drunk.

But doing this buys you quite a lot of tickets in the Pathogen-Disaster Lottery. If you get a big enough dose of bad enough germs into yourself, your immune system won’t be able to react and shut them down before they’ve multiplied into too large a population to stop, and then you’ll be in trouble.

Which, again to not be over-dramatic, probably won’t be the kind of trouble that kills you. But may be the kind that initially makes you afraid that you will die, and later on makes you afraid that you won’t.

UPDATE: As James points out in the comments, the pub does have an online survey where you can make your views felt… And win a meal (yum!) with a bottle of wine.


Filed under blackheath, pubs

Pubs in Blackheath on New Year’s Eve 2011

Here’s a list of the various opening times in Blackheath.

All the info below is from me phoning the pubs today, so may not be perfect.

If you’re going to try and watch fireworks over London (where the Thai hot air balloon shown above lifted up from a couple of years back), try the junction of Cade Road and General Wolfe Road, shown below – nearest Blackheath pub is the Hare & Billet. (see map at the bottom of this post).

Hare & Billet
No tickets required – open from 11am until 1am on New Year’s Day.

Cave Austin
Open from 8.30pm – with an extended license (guy on the phone wasn’t sure until when – possibly 3am or 4am?) Tickets are £12 in advance, or £15 on the door.

The Crown
No ticket required
Open until 1am

The Railway
No ticket required
Open until 2am

Tickets are £5 on the door,
Open until 1.30am

Prince of Wales
No ticket required
Open until 1am (he thinks but not sure)

Zero Degrees
As with last year, they’re not answering the phone – I’ve dropped them an email, and I’ll update the blog if they reply.

Good spot for watching fireworks over London:


Filed under blackheath, blackheath village, events, pubs

Dowager’s Bottom

Having said in the previous post that I couldn’t find The Crown Pub on John Rocque’s London survey map from 1746, I’ve found it on another site:
Section from John Rocque's survey map of Blackheath

If you look just below the delightfully named “Dowager’s Bottom”, you can see a sprinkling of buildings, around the triangle that is now Tranquil Vale and the Royal Parade.

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Filed under blackheath, history, maps, pubs

What’s going on with The Crown Pub rebuild?

Detail from the Crown Pub Blackheath planning documents sent to Lewisham council
I’ve been a bit lax in not mentioning the redesign of The Crown Pub, as noted in the comments to an unrelated ovine-post:

I always read this excellent blog with great interest, but I can’t believe that one thing has gone without comment on these pages. I went into the village last night for a pint only to find that my regular watering hole The Crown was a building site. It looks very much as if they have ripped out the lovely bay windows (with the two big leather seats) and are replacing them with a flat wall and french doors. How can they be allowed to change the face of such an old and surely protected building so much!?
Shocked of Charlton on the 380 bus route

Above is a detail from the planning permission documents at Lewisham Council. Interestingly the original plans for two “jumbobrellas” at the front were withdrawn after 21 complaints were made (I’ve no idea if these two events are related). See the a drawing from the original submission below:

Crown Pub planning drawing from a previous withdrawn request

The Crown Pub Blackheath in its current state

Above is a photo from today, where you can see that the bay windows have been removed to make way for wider openable doors. Which I can’t help feeling might make it feel brighter and more appealing, particularly in the summer.

Neil Rhind in his excellent book Blackheath Village and Environs Volume 1 dates it back to at least 1773 (the first record of a licensee), with a building having been present on the same site during the John Rocque survey of 1741-1746. I had a look at the map here, but couldn’t see it. If anyone with better eyes can, please send me the details! UPDATE: Found it.

Neil points out that it has undergone many renovations during its lifetime, starting out as a building “only three doors wide, with a round-headed door at the entrance”. (page 99).

It’s never been my favourite pub in the area though… Who knows, maybe the improvements will change that… If they re-instate the pole climbing competition of 1892, where a leg of mutton was attached to the top of the pub sign post, I’d definitely come along to watch!


Filed under blackheath, planning, pubs

New Year’s Eve 2010- pub opening times in Blackheath

UPDATE: New Year’s Eve 2011 Pub opening times are here.

Whether you’re looking forward to, or dreading the pubs being open for New Year’s Eve, here’s a list of the various opening times in Blackheath. No tickets for any of them, except for Cave Austin. If you’re going to try and watch fireworks over London (like last year), try the junction of Cade Road and General Wolfe Road, shown below

Hare & Billet
Close at 1am
No tickets, but cash only – no credit cards (probably because their card machines are so slooow)

Cave Austin weird Las Vegas thing…
Tickets are £15 in advance, more on the door
Open from 8pm-4am

The Crown
No ticket required
Open until 1am

The Railway
No ticket required
Open until 2am

No tickets, small donation on the door goes to charity
Open until 2.30am

Prince of Wales
No ticket required
Open until 2am

Zero Degrees
Can’t get hold of them, but will update the blog when I do…


Filed under blackheath, events, pubs