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Sylvan Post

Bars and pubs Forest Hill
2 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(36user reviews)
Sylvan Post
Loukia Photography

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

With retro and recycling being the flavours of the moment, how very on-trend of the Antic pub company to convert a former 1960s post office into their latest bar. Interesting spaces abound in this building, with back offices converted into a variety of kitsch snugs – my favourite being the one with the metal strong room door (presumably where bags of cash were stashed for paying out pensions and benefits).

The main room has a European-beer-hall-meets-working-man’s-club vibe: cosy, low-lit banquette nooks to the side, while centre stage it’s all cheap formica tables and industrial-strength lino. A generous wooden bar emulates the original post office counter – albeit without the attack-resistant payment windows.

A lively and mixed clientele seemed to be enjoying the great ska/indie soundtrack and excellent beers, from the likes of Meantime and Moor Beer Company. Sadly, the wine was uninspiring, and the food the wrong kind of retro: think school dinners circa 1970, that is, all lumpy mash, watery soup and chewy calf’s liver. The offer was marginally boosted by a half-decent burger and a surprisingly good pear and peach crumble, but we’d say this bar’s strictly for the beer drinkers.



Address: 24-28 Dartmouth Road
SE23 3XU
Transport: Tube: Forest Hill rail
Opening hours: Open: 4-11pm Mon-Thur; noon-midnight Fri, Sat; noon-11pm Sun.
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Users say (36)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:22
  • 4 star:12
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening

Great pub with quirky, spacious interior of mismatched chairs and furniture and board games. I stopped in here early Saturday afternoon and it was pretty empty. LOVE they have Lilly’s Mango Cider on tap- utterly delicious. I got a small size of the superfood salad and was pleasantly surprised at the decent portion served for £5.50. I also love the hazelnuts with the quinoa- Great flavour combination. Dog-friendly to boot with dog water bowls and biscuits on hand. Plus great Saturday soundtrack of 60s rock and roll and folk classics (Mamas and Papas, etc).


This is a fun, quirky pub in the heart of Forest Hill with a nice selection of beers and cocktails. I enjoyed the food I tried, sausage and mash and the burger and chips. It's not hard to get a seat on most nights of the week and the vibe is relaxed, I'll have to pop by for the pub quiz.

The TimeOut review is massively outdated - the Sylvian now offers a delicious, varied menu as well as great wines and cocktails. The staff are always friendly, polite and welcoming and their Pub Quiz is without question the happiest way to spend a Tuesday evening. Awesome place!

Fairly priced drinks, quirky atmosphere, decor and layout of the rooms. I particularly enjoy the board games!


Haven't tried the food by TO's 2-star review of this place seems a bit hard. It's a fun, quirky local in a former post office with plenty of space and a good range of drinks. They also do an excellent quiz night. One of my favourite pubs in the Forest Hill area.

Staff Writertastemaker

Time Out should re-visit as the reviews seems really out of date! When we visited teh food was really good value and great quality pub food.

We ordered a mix of the burgers and the half chicken, each main was about a tenner and they were all HUGE burger came with cheese and bacon and fries and the chicken main was crispy, seasoned really well and came with mountains of apple slaw and sweet potato chips. Delicious.

Drinks were really reasonable too. Much more of a classic pub menu than the other Antic pubs but just what the doctor ordered for our visit.

The pub itself was a bit unassuming from the outside (looks like a post office, as it used to be one) but the inside was fun, lots of little quirks and old artifacts from the post office (including a vault room you can sit in, bit spooky!

really nice staff too. We'll be back!

moderatorStaff Writer

Like the other reviewers I'm not sure why food would be what's rated here (though it looked fine to me). It's a quirky pub with a very good (though not amazing) selection of beers. Kids are welcome and it was a nice place to hang out for a lazy weekend afternoon.

This is a brilliant conversion of an old post office that keeps enough of the old touches (you can have a beer in a safe!) to give it character but is still a proper bar. The staff are great, there's always good beer on, including a decent beer for under £4 and the food's not bad. It's not just the best pub in Forest Hill, it's probably the best pub in South East London.

I haven't ever eaten at the Sylvan Post, but I have drunk and been to their lively quiz night. My experience was absolutely great. I love the decor - an old post office changed very little but with added bar, it's delightfully quirky - you can even sit in the safe! The decor is pretty much the main thing that makes it special, other than that the local beers are nice and the staff friendly. But it's a really popular place and big enough to be able to find a place to sit on most nights. I'd really recommend The Sylvan place as an excellent pub. I have no idea about the food though. the pub quiz was really hard and very competitive!

As most commenters have previously mentioned - a bizarre Time Out review - like giving a Michelin starred restaurant a one star review because it doesn't have any ale on tap. This is a pub/bar, not a restaurant. The beer is really good and its a brilliant place to spend some time in. (And the food is actually pretty good)

I'm simply perplexed by this review. I've eaten there twice and the food's been top-notch, but even leaving that aside, the place is being reviewed as if it's a restaurant or wine-bar when it's clearly a pub. Maybe Time Out should consider employing a pub reviewer who knows, likes and understands pubs, their conventions and logic, rather than one who would clearly rather be elsewhere. The beer selection's interesting (regulars from Redemption, Tiny Rebel and Moor) and well-kept, prices are reasonable as far as London goes, and the decor and atmosphere are absolutely unique: it is that rarest of beasts, a modern pub with real character and atmosphere, and if it were in North or East London the press would be fawning over it. If only it could sort the music out: a combination of landfill indie and American chart-pop of five years ago. At least it's never loud.

How wrong can so many people be? The Sylvan Post is a great local, something Forest Hill has been searching for for years. Excellent food (I've eaten there too many times to count on my hands now) and a great vibe. Sundays you can get a range of roasts, bring your children and your dog (as they're also dog friendly) and a get pint of real ale from some fantastic local breweries, a great family day. Friday and saturday nights are party nights, always packed. What's even nicer is the bar staff actually know what they're talking about, are very friendly and after just two visits they even remembered my name! Please Time Out, re-review the Sylvan Post!!!

Sadly found the service very disappointing. Busy Friday night and only one working the bar occasionally help by the waiting staff. Really seemed to be a free-for-all to get served with everyone clambering "I was next!". Food was acceptable (but really? 50p for gherkin on your burger?) Think I will stick to the more traditional pub and not this establishment, the kind of place where bar staff can remember who has been at the bar more than two minutes and where everyone doesn't need to pay individually on a credit/debit card.

That review from Time Out is extremely harsh, and it's worth noting that the Sylvan Post's menu has changed recently. The burger is up there with the best pub burgers i've ever had and the chips are fab...i don't know why they said it was mediocre. My girlfriend had a fish pie which was quite simply splendid, and we're food snobs! The whole place has a great vibe, and although, yes, it is very trendy it is not uncomfortable in the slightest. Somehow the quirkiness works really is a lovely place for a drink or food anytime, and i love the way they've integrated all the old post office was an actual post office before. The ales are brill, and they always seem to have a dark ale and decent cider on tap...thank the lord! I can never understand why pubs don't have a decent variety of booze. The Sylvan's range is excellent. I'm a Forest Hill resident and this is most definitely my new local pub, it is wonderful...keep up the good work, and Time Out re-review please!

The food is really good at the Sylvan, I think the reviewer must have been unlucky that day. As other reviewers have said, the service is incredibly friendly, there is always a great range of real ale and personally I find the wine list pretty good! On top of that they are dog friendly and there is a really relaxed vibe, it's the opposite of those bars where you feel you're about to be told off for something all the time! They've got it just right.

It seems odd to acknowledge the quality of the beer (surely one of the principal selling points of a pub) then award the place only two stars. The Sylvan Post plays host to a range of interesting and well kept beer often from small breweries and is worth a visit for that reason alone. The interior is also very pleasant (especially the back room) and the atmosphere convivial.

This review is an absolute joke. The place is easily worth 4 stars - good drinks selection, great atmosphere, fun decor and all set to decent tunes. Also, to say that the food is bad is frankly bizarre as it has always been tasty and well put together.

Also think this review is harsh. Went last night to try it out and love love love the place! What a fantastic addition to the area. The food was actually really good - not standard pub stodge - think fresh interesting main salads. Have to say the baked avocado was disappointing for £5.50, but all in all - great decor, great vibe, great music and the wine is GOOD! Recommended if you're in the area.

As a resident of Forest Hill have to say how great it is to have the Sylvan Post here! I find the review above a little harsh as I have always had excellent food. The Sunday roast is excellent value and very tasty! The Sylvan Burger is first class and coupled with a great friendly atmosphere I would say definitely worth a visit!

Love this place. Non pretentious, great atmosphere and quirky furnishings. Time Out have it all wrong. I have the odd Sunday lunch there and the food it's great but mainly go there as it's the best pub in Forest Hill. Great Ales, very friendly staff, fantastic environment, thank you Sylvan Post.

Sadly the review from Timeout is pretty pathetic. Yes the clientele love the place, you are right, for the drinks but also the staff, the service and the food. The atmosphere on a friday is so much more welcoming than any pub outside of Timeout's favoured grounds of Zone 1-2. Everyone who goes there is local which means you get to bump into interesting local people week after week. So the food, the main criticism. Well, I have had two meals there and both times the food has been good. Certainly more 3-4 stars than 2. It has interesting variety with the dipped beef sandwich for example - although that should come with a heartattack warning. It goes way beyond most pub food and certainly beats the Dartmouth arms in this case. C'mon Timeout, perhaps you need to get someone more local to go and visit and stop being so snobby. This is South-East London after all...

I don't understand this review by Veronica Simpson. The food here is delicious and reasonably priced, definitely a step up from usual pup fare. There's a really relaxed, friendly vibe, and the choice of drinks is excellent too - another London bar clocking on to the pleasures of Sagres lager! And they have a great selection of board games, candle-lit tables, good music, and lots of cozy nooks to settle down in. A great place to hang out, and we're really chuffed to have this place on our doorstep!

Review seems a bit harsh. The atmosphere is good, nice beers and the Sunday lunch we had was great. Definitely better than many we've had for the same price.

The sylvan post is a lively unique bar with lots of character witch will go from strength to strength,the food is awesome! and the ales are great. The review from veronica simpson (above) is total nonsense, absolute rubbish and needs to take her spectacles next time she goes in.

We found this place recently and were so happy! We love their other pubs that we've visited, such as Westow House in Crystal Palace and Jam Circus in Crofton Park, so when we stumbled upon the Sylvan post one rainy Saturday night we were collectively over the moon... admittedly the kitchen was closed so didn't try the food, but the setup, layout and general vibe was really great... Just waiting for them to open in Sydenham now and we'll have a new local :o)

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