The Ivy House In April 2012 it was announced that this Nunhead pub would be sold to a developer turning the 1930s building into flats. Against the odds, a group of locals bought it and created a pub that could change the world – or at least inspire us to recognise that closures aren’t inevitable. The Ivy House is the first place in Britain to be declared an Asset of Community Value. ‘Locals wanted a heart to the area,’ says Hugo Simms, a member of the pub’s management committee (pictured above). So as well as being a pub with food and London beer on tap, it hosts events like yoga, music and cinema. The revolution starts here! 40 Stuart Rd, SE15 3BE.
The Deaf Lounge: Pubs are for everyone, aren’t they? Perhaps not if you’re deaf. Dim lighting can make lip-reading difficult – and some bar staff can be less than helpful. Earlier this year, the Deaf Lounge opened as Britain’s first bar for the non-hearing. It now hosts events, karaoke, DJs, and gay and lesbian nights. And in a spirit of inclusiveness, around ten percent of the Deaf Lounge’s customers are hearing. 513 Seven Sisters Rd, N15 6EP.
@The_Dolphin_PUB: It was 2011. Youths were rioting in Mare Street. But one man wasn’t having it. ‘A bunch of fuckers tried to burn down Hackney,’ says the anonymous and unofficial voice of the rather unique Dolphin. ‘So I took a stand.’ He began to tweet about ’90s R&B, instant coffee and why the pub deserved to be spared from the flames; he now has 19,000 followers. Publicans: this is how to do social media. 165 Mare St, E8 3RH.
The Patch: This new gastropub aims not just to source food locally, but to produce as much as possible on site. A hydroponic growing system will use 90 percent less water, fuel and fertiliser than conventional planting. The venture is an entirely local affair: meat is from butcher William Rose, fish from Moxon’s, extra fruit and veg from gardens and allotments. 211 Lordship Lane, SE22 8HA. facebook.com/dulwichpatch.
Brixton Beer Company: In 2012, south Londoners were set an appealing challenge: ‘grow your own beer’. A patchwork farming initiative saw residents planting hops to be used in a special beer brewed at the Florence in Herne Hill. The result was 1,200 pints of a pale ale sold in pubs around the area: local hops in local beer for local people in local pubs!
Still thirsty? Here’s London’s 100 best bars and pubs.