Our occasional pub crawler KEN TOWL set off for SE25 to discover the delights of the craft beer bars and cafés close to Norwood Junction, with SIMON BENTLEY in the quiz team and taking the photographs
Pubs tend to hold their quiz nights in the early part of the week to encourage custom on their quieter evenings, so I didn’t expect to have much luck.
Thank goodness, then, for the internet, the font of all human knowledge.
It turns out that the Shelverdine Goathouse has, as well as a brilliant mouthful of a name, a pub quiz on a Thursday, and in South Norwood.
I had not been in the area since the Grenfell March organised by the redoubtable South Norwood Tourist Board back in November, in response to some local racists burning an effigy of the tower and distributing a shameful video of their work.
On this occasion, I decided to spend a couple of hours checking out the area before moving to the Shelverdine Goathouse for the quiz’s kick-off at 8pm.
And since I am not a great one for drinking alone and don’t particularly like coming last in a quiz, I decided to invite a team member to deal with the sports questions.
And the music, food, current affairs and general knowledge questions. I would handle Greek mythology and anagrams.
Simon arrived at Norwood Junction Station on the 18.04 from Clapham Junction as arranged and we checked out (or “checked into” as Facebook would have it) Yeha Noha which, though it sounds like an allusion to a Little Britain sketch, is actually rather cosmopolitan in ambience.
Stationed on Station Road, its name is Navajo for “wishes of peace and prosperity”.
It sells Polish food and beer, as well as coffee, wine and Old Speckled Hen (at £4 per bottle) and feels and looks like a little slice of continental Europe deep in the heart of SE25. The staff are friendly and the clientele laid back.
The shabby chic tables outside provide a great vantage point to watch as the denizens of South Norwood are decanted out of their trains after a hard day at work.
Next stop is the Craft Beer Cabin a few steps away on Selhurst Road. It could easily have been called the Craft Beard Cabin if the helpful and hirsute staff are anything to go by.
There is a wide range of craft beers inside and plenty of tables and benches outside this fashionable micropub which seems to be yet another sign of the gentrification that is becoming more palpable in SE25. Prices are aspirational, too, of course, and our beers came to just a tiny bit less than a fiver each.
Further evidence of impending embourgeoisement was to be found at the retail space on Station Road with the legend Cycle Shop above the window.
“Is this becoming a cycle shop?” asked Simon of the guy who was occupied in painting the door frame.
“No,” came the reply, “it is becoming an art gallery and juice bar.”
It was getting close to 8pm so we headed for “the Goat”, as I fondly call it now that I have been there once. A pub with style but without pretention, it sells several iterations (session bitter, IPA, etc) of a beer called Volden at a tiny bit more than £3 per pint. I can confirm that each iteration provides excellent value.
In a building on the high street that was once a Wetherspoons, it is part of the Antic chain of pubs which last Christmas was subject of protest by some staff over poor pay and conditions.
The quiz was fun; we came a distant second. If we had known more about modern chart music we might have come a close second. Disappointingly, there was only one question on Greek mythology. The winners won by a respectable margin and accepted their victory with consummate modesty. The quiz master was more than competent.
Why not get some friends together and see if you can do better than we did? Even if you can’t, the Shelf (as I call it) is not a bad place to spend an hour or two without having to increase your overdraft.
Go to hip South Norwood now, while you can still afford to.
- Follow Ken Towl’s last pub crawl, discovering the £8 a pint hipster bars of Surrey Street
- Check out Ken Towl’s previous walks and wanders for Inside Croydon
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