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The Montague Arms (CLOSED)

4 out of 5 stars

A steampunk music venue turned cocktail pub.


Time Out says

Please note, The Montague Arms is now closed (Time Out editors, Sep 2019)

Almost 10,000 people signed a petition after the sudden closure of my local pub ‘The Monty’. It was known in New Cross and beyond for its steampunk look, grungy gigs and wild LGBT+ club nights like ‘Passionate Necking’, so Londoners wanted to know why we’d lost another small music venue. Its closure was shrouded in mystery. And then it sheepishly reopened under new management.

What isn’t sheepish is the look – half the pub is like a tropical hotel lobby, washed in cream, bathed in light and with large, springy palms – it’s beautiful but almost laughable on Queen’s Road. The quirky windmill ceiling fans remain, but the stage has gone. New owners say they haven’t ruled out live music, but it feels symbolic (and sad).

The good news – aside from the fact that it’s not been turned into flats – is the pub is now connected to top London bar Satan’s Whiskers, as well as to east London pubs The Hemingway and The Hunter S.

The rest of the look is low key, and entertainment now comes in the form of foosball and arcade games (or board games for the purists). By day, a kid battled it out as Hulk Hogan while a dog traipsed around off its lead. By night, couples coyly shuffled round a shuffleboard table.

There’s a classic cocktail list – from white russians to old fashioneds (at £7.50 a pop) – and they make a mean negroni, with ingredients sitting proudly on the bar. Seasonal ales are on special for £3.50, along with more pricy craft beers like an Easy Peeler from Bermondsey’s Fourpure. And at weekends, they fire up a Slush Puppie machine, mixing a creamy piña colada with a strawberry daiquiri to make a lurid Miami Vice, a kitsch drink to go with the pub’s new playful identity.

I’m still devastated I can’t dance on the stage of my local (those club nights really were wild) and more should have been done to protect this music space. But ultimately, I’m lucky to still have a local at all. Even if live music has been stripped out, the new Monty looks to be finding a groove of its own.


289 Queens Road
SE15 2PA
Queens Road Peckham rail
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