The Montague Arms

Bars and pubs Nunhead
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
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A steampunk music venue turned cocktail pub.

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.

By: Laura Richards

Posted:

Venue name: The Montague Arms
Address: 289 Queens Road
London
SE15 2PA
Transport: Queens Road Peckham rail
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Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|7
2 people listening

Came in for a cheeky one and ended up staying for hours playing games, drinking the good stuff and chatting to the super friendly staff. Great night, highly recommended!!!

tastemaker

If you like old-fashioned barmy boozers then the Montague Arms is the pub for you. With it’s antiquated interior of upholstered treasures, original bold and brazen signage and kitsch taxidermy, it exudes an eccentric charm that’s both bizarre and inviting, and a far cry from the minimalist bars popping up all over Peckham. There’s also a small low budget function room in the back, which hosts local gigs and alternative club nights on the teeny, red velvet curtained stage. Plus on Mondays they do quizzes and Pieminister pie offers, the most delicious pies around.

Tucking into a deep filled pie covered in thick gravy, sipping on a reasonably priced pint of ale while nestled into a vintage leather armchair will easily transport you back to the time of the boozy sessions of the old local geezers, enjoying getting suitably and comfortably inebriated. A beautifully peculiar public house.

Tastemaker

The new owners have definitely upped the game of this local institution. Keeping the old features while updating the overall look of the place. The drinks selection is better quality and the local bands are still flocking to play there.

I used to think it was a scary place to venture to, with its dark exterior and bold 'WELCOME' sign: making me think what they had to hide to make them a bit too overzealous for my custom but happy to report that it's cosy and inviting inside. Drinks are reasonably priced and could happily spend a couple of hours there forgetting the woes of the day.

Staff Writertastemaker

The new team have brought better service and a better range of booze. They've kept lots of the pubs old quirky features (including the carriage with two stuffed zebras- if you like bad taxidermy this is your joint).


The little stage is great and like something out of Phoenix Nights, feels like the kind of place bad dads took their kids for a quiet pint in the 90s, and i do mean that in a good way!

Sad to see the lovely old couple that built this place up go but so pleased its open again without losing too much of its eerie charm. Definitely worth going out of your way from either Peckham or New Cross for a night out here!

moderator

Not sure if they've started doing food again yet, but this has re-opened under new management and apparently a lot of the quirky design features are as they were before

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