london pubs

Memorable Beers #4: New Cross Lock In

We’d walked past the rough-looking pub in New Cross hundreds of times, heading back and forth to the tube, to the shops, to the Taste of Raj, but it had never even crossed our mind to go in. We’d never seen anyone go in.

It had nicotine-yellow net curtains, fly-blown windows, peeling paintwork and, late at night, what looked like the light from two 40 watt bulbs was the only sign of occupation.

For some reason or other, though, Bailey’s parents liked the look of it. They’d driven a long way from Somerset , arriving late in the evening, and wanted more than one pint, despite the approach of last orders. Having run a pub, they looked at this place and smelled a lock in.

Sure enough, Bailey’s Dad sent the signals: two pints and two whiskies down in double quick time to indicate serious intent. The curtains were drawn, the landlady winked, and we were away. The beer was… actually, the beer wasn’t memorable at all. If it tasted of anything, it was late night, transgression, cigarettes and hushed conversation.

2 replies on “Memorable Beers #4: New Cross Lock In”

How unusual.

The only lock ins I ever experienced were prior to 24h licencing. Don’t see them nowadays. Pubs open late.

Prior to my current domestic arrangements, me and a flatmate used to play darts in a dumpy local boozer. A right stinking hole. Think Mos Eisley cantina. But they had a dartboard, were near to the flat and the beer was cheap. The bitter was a bit of an acquired taste, but the lout was cold and fizzy.

After a couple of months we became “regulars” in so far as the old dear behind the bar recognised us, new what we drank and even on occasion was polite to us. One evening the last orders bell rang and we went to the bar and the old dear picking up pots said “no rush lads” We were officially regulars invited to stay after the doors got locked. Strangers were never invited. Took a couple of months before you weren’t chucked out, and only if it wasn’t a school night. The only person let in after the doors got locked was a copper who came in the back way and drank cheap scotch.

Drove past the place a year ago, got knocked down. Rumour was flats were going up.

I never had a decent pint of ale in a lock in I’ve been to either but whatever I was drinking tasted all the better for being illicit. I did like the pulling of the curtains ritual when all the customers started smiling at each other knowingly.

Sadly, I tend to be ready to go home before that time of night these days!!

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