• Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
Critics' choice
13 Love It
Honor Oak

The Herne has one of the largest, loveliest and most child-friendly beer gardens in south London, and consequently any mildly clement day will see it packed with local families. Inside, the bar ticks all the ‘fantasy pub’ boxes: real ale, decent wine list, posh crisps, wood panelling, leather sofas, real fire, discreet TV (big events get shown in the garden barn), loyal regulars, live music, a pub quiz… you name it. 

The Herne closed for a major refurbishment in 2013, and one thing that got refurbed along with it is the food. All the major bases of pub grub are covered – but there are also streaks of flair uch as broccoli tempura and Oxford Blue brûlée with toasted sourdough. Food highlight of the week for many customers is the hugely popular Sunday roast, a selection of five including fishcakes, all extravagantly garnish with spuds and veg. Brunch food isn't a huge range but it includes some very hearty cooking. The wine list is succinct and fairly priced, but the star on the bar is the changing selection of well-kep cask ales.


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Herne Tavern says
A London pub can be a thing of beauty. Truly it can. If you have any doubts, you need to visit the Herne Tavern and check out the 1930s interior with its wood paneling and real fires, or sit for a while in the huge tranquil garden filled with fruit trees. That should do the trick.

The attention to detail here extends to keeping the real ales in perfect condition (the landlord gets a weird kick out of cleaning pipes), and membership of SIBA means there's usually something to drink that is a lot more local than you might imagine.

An unpretentious menu of freshly cooked food makes the Herne a popular dining destination, whether you're after a burger or some wonderfully fresh fish cooked just right, and the Sunday roast is epic. Children are welcome in the pub and garden until 8pm and have their own menu, which like everything else, is a cut above the competition.

The Barn in the garden is ideal of private functions, with access to its own decking area.
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Venue name: Herne Tavern
Address: 2 Forest Hill Road
SE22 0RR
Opening hours: Open 3pm-midnight Mon-Thur; noon-midnight Fri, Sat & Sun
Transport: Tube: East Dulwich or Peckham rail or bus 12, 197
Price: Main courses £8.50-£15.
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