Hermit's Cave

Bars and pubs Camberwell
Hermit's Cave
© Alys Tomlinson

This friendly cabin of an Irish pub has been the haunt of Camberwell’s more cultured art students since Leonardo’s time, it seems.

Prices are still cheap, the regulars still include old locals who’ve been skulking around in SE5 since Macmillan told them they’d never had it so good, and the decor is still largely made up of pre-war drinks advertising (‘Good Old Murphy’s!’) and contemporary photography.

Beers might include selections from the Brodie’s brewery in Leyton; such French ciders as Pays d’Aude and Fermier (each £6) offer an inappropriately continental alternative. Wine is not a selling point, but the prices are fair: all bottles are £12, with glasses at £4.20.

A large TV in the saloon bar attracts football fans of the laissez jouer variety; conversation around the timeless wooden interior is the definition of bonhomie.


Venue name: Hermit's Cave
Address: 28 Camberwell Church Street
Opening hours: Open noon-midnight Mon-Wed; noon-2am Thur-Sat; noon-1am Sun
Transport: Tube: Denmark Hill rail
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Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
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As previously stated this is definitely an 'old man pub'- untouched by the modern world beyond its swing doors, it's dark and a tad dingy, slightly inebriated locals prop up the bar and old advertisement memorabilia adorns the walls. A boozer filled with old fashioned charm.


You kind of have to admire a pub that chooses not to own a card machine in this day and age. And I kind of do admire Hermit's Cave for that, it’s your ‘order a proper beer and hand over a tenner’ kind of pub and if you don’t like it you can leave. But if you do leave don’t go across the road to Stormbird, the sister pub to the Hermit holds the same no card policy.

If there's one thing I miss about London after movin' to Berlin would be The Hermit's - even as a non-alcoholic drinker now.!

Staff Writertastemaker

Totally awesome classic 'old mans pub' as they say. No frills but great atmosphere and seems to be open late most evenings (midnight).
Really mixed crowd which is a comfort in this area. The TV will often be playing sport or the news.

 Adore the Hermits Cave. 

Buckets of character. studenty staff are always polite and vaguely apologetic for the chaos. the slightly surly attitude of owners is all part of its charm though. 

My partner and I have been regulars of the hermits cave for the past 6+years and considered it one of the best pubs in camberwell. We have been away for the past 8weeks and last night returned in anticipation of the usual excellent service and warm welcome. I ordered a dry white wine as I had done for some 6/7 years but when it arrived one sip had me gagging as the worst tasting wine I had ever encountered. Admitedly my fault for I failed to specifying a particular brand of wine. I took it back to the bar, and said it was undrinkable. The barmaid who had served us was apologetic but immediately another blowsy female stepped forward to challenge my opinion and insist there was nothing wrong with the wine in a most aggressive and challenging manner. I accepted I Should have specified what wines were on offer, and so I bought another glass of a brand name wine. This was entirely contrary to the level of service and quality of staff we had previously encountered in the years we had patronised the pub. We returned the following evening ordered by name the drinks we wanted and set out to enjoy our drinks, unfortunately one of our party had a mishap and spilt large drink, on approaching the bar and encountering the 'barmaid' of the previous evening was subjected to a level of abuse that literally took the wind out of our sails, said barmaid was extremely rude, unhelpful and quite abnoxious her final comment being 'please don't break my heart by telling me you won't be coming here again' very sarcastic and most unpleasant. We'll we won't be going there again,sad that a relationship we thought existed could be broken so completely by one unpleasant individual. She asserted she had owned the pub for the past 20 years!!!!! I don't know if this is true but she is certainly going the right way about running it into the ground.

I like this pub for its cosy atmosphere and charm. However am frustrated with the ungenerous attitude of the owners; often rude and surly, i've seen them charge customers £1 for a glass of soda water and refuse to let people use the toilets unless they have bought a drink.

I use this place a lot as I change buses here, and it does real ales. They are ever-changing so you won't know what is on until you arive (long gone are the days of Whitbread's trophy on fizz!!). Beer is always OK, and not too over-priced. Hermit's Cave has always been head and shoulders above the others (not tried the revived Tiger around the corner yet).

Amazing, atmospheric, no-frills pub where the beers are never bad. Great selection of ciders too. The wines are a bit hit and miss though.

I could not disagree more with Peppe, Hermit's is a fantastic pub with a great selection of beers and other drinks, I highly recommend it!