Bars and pubs, Pubs Forest Hill
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(5user reviews)
42 Love It
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 (Amy Sanders)
Amy Sanders
 (Amy Sanders)
Amy Sanders
Venue says Every Saturday you can fill your boots with two hours of unlimited prosecco or bloody marys plus a brunch item from the menu for £25pp.

When much-loved Devonshire Road pub The Hob closed down earlier this year, it left a bit of a hole in Forest Hill – and not just among those with a thing for cheap lager. Though unremarkable as a pub, its comedy nights were among the best in southeast London, regularly pulling in A-list gagsmiths for intimate warm-up gigs. In an all-too-familiar story, the people behind the comedy nights have been pushed out to The Star in Plumstead, and The Hob has been replaced by The Signal, where humour isn’t the only thing in short supply. 

Presumably in an attempt to keep the former regulars onside, the beer selection is conservative. There were two local cask ales (Brixton’s Effra Ale and Kinsale bitter from Peckham’s Brick Brewery) when we visited, but few interesting options on keg or in the fridge. Decor feels calculatedly inoffensive, as does the soundtrack of Britpop bangers. Even the bar service was cold and seemed uninterested. Overall, it feels a bit like an over-achieving, middle-class Wetherspoons. 

Of course, how much you warm to The Signal depends a lot on who you are. Hungover couples will appreciate full brunch and Sunday lunch menus. Parents will appreciate the family friendly vibe and small, covered patio (though perhaps not the huge roaring fire, if their kids have a habit of wandering off). People with oddly specific ethical concerns will appreciate that rotisserie chickens (served in a more formal dining area upstairs) are reared on a walnut-tree farm and roasted over untreated English charcoal.

Don’t get us wrong – food, provenance and somewhere to smoke a fag are all admirable qualities in a pub. But in covering so many bases, The Signal falls short on character. And this is perhaps the most important aspect of a neighbourhood boozer. We’d think nothing of such an operation in Covent Garden or Canary Wharf, but surely SE23 hasn’t sold its soul just yet? That really would be no laughing matter. 

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Signal says
At Hippo Inns we want to ensure our pubs are one of a kind within the neighbourhood. The Signal is a house of family and fun to be explored. The diverse friendly bunch that frequent us is what makes it so special, from local artists and musicians to young families. It's a reflection of the local community so there’s always a hive of activity going on. The ground floor bar has areas for drinkers, seating for diners and a cosy sofa corner. Head upstairs to find the colourful cocktail bar where you can relax on velvet sofas or dine in style. Our Upstairs Bar is available for private hire seven days a week of any occasion. Our menu is inspired by the alehouses and taverns of old, with seasonal British classics spit roasted over a charcoal grill
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By: David Clack


Venue name: Signal
Address: 7 Devonshire Rd
SE23 3HE
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 12 - 10 Sat 12 - 10 Sun 12 - 9
Transport: Forest Hill Overground
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Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
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David G

Great food, efficient + friendly stuff + the place looks great after the refurb

Roses O

Love it.. An improvement from the old place. Great atmosphere, super friendly staff who remember your name and the food is top class!! Whether you're with your child(ren), mates or partner there is a lovely layout to hang out and have a great time in a fabulous environment. Mac n cheeeese!