The Dog and Bell in Deptford is CAMRA’s South-East London pub of the year. Deptford, the New York Times tells us, is the place to go to experience London’s multicultural life. The police are predicting an increase in stabbings. Indeed, as we got on the train from Woolwich the London newspaper headline was “Teenager stabbed in Deptford”. I was worried.
Fortunately, the Dog and Bell is an oasis of calm in a deeply un-nerving area. Stepping inside transports you to a veritable idyll of quality beer and peaceful conversation. There is also a bar billiards table should you need some exercise after a few pints.
We stopped for a couple of pints. Firstly we had London Pale Ale from the Meantime brewery. Even at their tap boozer in Greenwich this is normally a keg beer, albeit one of very high quality. Somehow the Dog and Bell had managed to score a real cask-conditioned version. What a delight it was! Bursting with life and freshness, pleasingly complex and properly bitter. We loved it.
We also had a pint of Fuller’s ESB. Those of you reading this from London might think this was a boring choice, it is not that difficult to get this beer in London. However, once again this was in super-top condition; quite easily the best pint of ESB I had ever had and I have been to a lot of Fuller’s boozers. They even had the correct ESB glasses. A quality pint.
The journey to the Dog and Bell might be rather scary, but for top bunny beer you cannot go far wrong. Well worth a trip, but just don’t make eye contact with any of London’s multicultural life should you be leaving there at closing time.
The Dog and Bell, 116 Prince Street, London SE8 3JD