Proper old man pub that refuses to be gentrified. Slushy cider on a hot day.
Wow, the Hermits, how many nights I have spent in this place I do not know. I've lived in Camberwell for four years and this is the place we always come back to. It's a winner with everyone. I think because it has charm. It's a proper old fashioned London boozer; old photos on the walls, a selection of ales, wooden floors, bar and furniture, frosted windows â" all that malarkey and a completely unpretentious feel.
Everyone likes it, which is evident from the mixed bag of people you get inside which only adds to its appeal.
Unlike some of my friends who cannot fault the place, my problem is the lighting; I think it's too bright and wish they'd just unscrew a few of the bar lights to make it more inviting and true to its namesake. I am also disappointed by the prices which seem to be rising slowly but surely. This is not a cheap option despite its looks.
Summer nights are best the Hermits when the punters spill out onto the pavements, but equally a winter evening is great, curled up inside with one of the many warm beverages on offer - a hot toddy or mulled wine is always best in an old-fashioned pub.
Word of warning: If you order a Brothers cider, there is a festival and normal version and the festival one is about 4% stronger!
The Hermit's Cave, although having had some gripes in the past, is probably my most frequented pub in London. It's quite a strange pub; although by in large a "old man's pub", over the four years I have been coming here, the customers seem to have turned from curmudgeonous old gits, to a younger, 'trendier', crowd of art students. This can often be a little frustrating when you want to sit down and have a quite chat in a nice small pub, but apart from that I think that the Hermit's Cave probably stands to be one of the best pub's in Southwark.
The décor is warningly traditional and the service has always been rewardingly familiar here, keeping in the flavour of the "old man's pub" values, yet it manages to escape from the coldness you can often find in similar places. They also have to hand a good selection of honestly priced beers, ales, and cider (including a personal favourite: Old Rosie), as well as a choices of spirits that goes further beyond Jack Daniels and Captain Morgan's. My one grumble though would be at the lack of pub food, but then again it's only a small pub and would probably be more hassle than it's worth.
Despite lots of my friends waxing lyrical about the Hermits, I've always been put off from going in by the fact you can't see in through the windows and its general air of This is our pub, please go away.
That said, come the summer it sells slushy cider a half-pint of Westons with enough ice shavings in it to turn it into a boozey Slush Puppie. I'd meant to try this for ages, and it was absolutely delicious. I'm sure I've had Westons before, but for some reason this one tasted almost exactly like balsamic vinegar (which I love, but was slightly unexpected).
It's a nice, airy pub with plenty of big cosy tables and places to squash into, but if I were going out, I'd still make a beeline to somewhere like the Stormbird or the Tiger first.
Fighting back against the continuing gentrification of every other pub in the area, I was told the Hermit's Cave is 'an old man's pub'. And it is. In all the best ways. Roaring fire, pub grub, beer, racing on the telly and old men. A few young uns too.
It's an excellent place to spend a few hours drinking beer and chatting without having to fight against the music other bars spew out.
Curiously, for a shabby looking pub, it manages to attract half decent people. It doesn't feel like the place is about to erupt into gang warfare, unlike many other places in the area. And I'm all for a quiet pint.
Coming into Camberwell, you notice alot has changed along the high street. Of course there are still chicken shops and offys, but one thing you notice is that more and more pubs are refurbishing and converting and becoming extremely nice places to get food or drink. The Hermits Cave is one of these.
The bar has a good selection of beers and ales and curves around the shape of the room, mimicking the outside corner of Camberwell Church Street. The pub itself is quite small but cosy and relaxed.
If you're visiting Camberwell then chill here with a friend over a beer, or if you've just moved into the area, make this your local.
This is a weird mish-mash of a pub, but it pulls it off. In the Hermit's Cave, you'll find art students and local characters rubbing shoulders with some of the most awesome and fun bar staff in London.
Food isn't all that in here, but it is cheap, for example, you can usually get sausages and mash for under £6. The beer is lovely and the taps are always clean.
The atmosphere is what's most important though, as I have made friends with many people in here and had some great conversations. Additionally, the Hermit's Cave, like the Golden Grill, has the magic ability to appear open at all times.
The only bad thing is I once saw a fight in here, but it was over in 2 seconds as the whole pub managed to restrain the scrapping lads.
Really like this place. Very relaxed.
OK, cards on the table - this is my favourite place in Camberwell. It's surely the greatest pub in SE5 by any reckoning, and without wanting to be pretentious, feels like the heartbeat of the area, in that you get a decent cross-section of punters in here - art college hipsters, serious drinkers and working folk, of all ages and races. I can't stand it when pubs are too homogenous, or don't represent their area's population.
The bar staff know what they're doing - the right mix of friendliness and professionalism, and they know their way round their vast and unusual selection of booze (I counted seven different gins and six ciders last time I was there). You want a Monkey Shedder, a Gravesend Shrimper? It's all here. They won't charge you a stupid price for it, either.
A roaring fire in winter months, battered, comfy sofas, a TV in the corner for those who want it, but never obtrusive enough so as it'd bother you if you didn't. They don't turf you out brutally at closing time - which, by the way, is midnight on weeknights and around 2am at the weekend - as a long-suffering London drinker, I can't TELL you how much I appreciate this in a boozer ("Drink UP PLEASE! Drink UP PLEASE!" two minutes after serving you a full pint - this kind of thing has ruined many a pleasant night out, sigh). The Hermits' is too civilised for that, and treat you like they would actually like you to return.
I've never seen a moment's trouble in here, it's as if the punters know better. It's the kind of place you can pop into if you're feeling like you just fancy a last one for the road and it's gone midnight, hmm, maybe a pack of pork scratchings, as I'm here....? Bliss.
A very small pub but a great place to go if you are in the area. The drinks are all excellent and the prices are not too high. A real mixture of people from Arty types to locals that have been using it for years.
Perhaps my favourite pub in London. Lots of good cider, 'interesting' stuff above the bar, and attracts a good mix of people. I really like sitting on the chairs outside in the summer watching the world go by.
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