Beer and Loathing: New Cross Pub Crawl Club (NXPCC)

Categorised as GENERAL.

The New Cross Pub Crawl Club is a recently formed charity devoted to supporting the coffers of every pub on the New Cross Strip. This means every pub on the walk between New Cross Station and New Cross Gate Station. It is allegedly bi-monthly but we’ll see if that actually rings true. Seeing as everybody on it ended up cripplingly fucked, I’m not sure if livers/the New Cross Police Department will allow this sort of debauchery even once every two months. 

The rules are as follows:

Pint and a shot in each pub. Large glass of wine or a double and mixer also count. But you will be mocked.

The official pubs are: Amersham Arms, The Walpole, The Marquis of Granby, The New Cross House, The New Cross Inn and The Hobgoblin.

To receive the congratulatory handshake at the end of the crawl you have to attend all 6 without vomiting/losing conciousness/falling down dead. Joining mid-way through the crawl is allowed but if you think you’re getting that sought after handshake you are sorely mistaken.

As this particular crawl was a preliminary semi-experimental one, we started off in the Royal Albert. Which I think most will agree is in Deptford. But fuck it. It’s a nice pub.

The Royal Albert

Deptford’s answer to the question “Where can I go that is neither run by Yardies nor the Irish Mafia?” This is an Antic pub and as such is full of early thirties semi-professional artists/DJs sipping craft beer amongst crockery plastered with pictures of the Royal family. It has a twee little dining room at the back that offers crazy shit like ‘roasted kale’ and ‘burnt quail’ and other even more underground words that apparently mean food. Upon our visit we crowded into the tight squeeze between the bar and the wall that also doubles up as the main corridor between the entrance and that dining room I mentioned a sentence or two ago. It was as cramped and awkward as it sounds, so after purchasing a shot and a pint each we relocated to the rain outdoors because the pub was full. Which is impressive considering it was Wednesday evening. Outdoors was as windswept and sideways rain-infused as is the case everywhere in London this time of year. It was jank. Then we received chilling news that everybody had bunned off the Albert and was waiting for our currently 6 strong band of blokes at the Amersham Arms. This was good because we were cold but bad because we all had to down our pints. Usually I would say that this is a hilarious thing to do, but in this case, where you really need mental stamina and control to get to the end of the crawl, this is a terrible thing to do. And goes some way to explaining how I ended up.

Amersham Arms

Some say it’s ‘The Amersham Arms’, some say it doesn’t have the ‘The’. The side of the building lists it as just ‘Amersham Arms’ in big neon letters. Not lit up, though. They haven’t worked for years, the only neon that does is the ‘TAKE COURAGE’ just below it, acting as a big warning for anybody getting off the train at NX to watch their phone, wallet, watch and keys. Not just whilst wandering the mean streets of NX by the Amersham, but also the mean streets within the Amersham. Huge amounts of people get their junk nicked in this pub, I know, I used to fake consolation behind the bar. “Yes, if you just leave a name and number and a description of what was stolen we’ll ring you if it turns up or if we find any links on the CCTV.”  Those details, written down in eyeliner on a napkin will go up on the staff noticeboard for a maximum of 20 minutes before being lobbed in the recycling. This isn’t even because professional thieves target the pub, it’s just because every Thurs/Fri/Sat the Amersham Arms is packed to the seams with drunk Goldsmiths students and drunk geezer boys from Dartford who came to New Cross with the intention of getting into The Venue (The Venue is a destination nightclub for chavs from Kent, I have no idea how they heard of it, but they have, in their fucking droves). What this medley of people, that usually wouldn’t mingle, creates is a situation where nobody respects one another and everybody steals everyone else’s shit. The drunk Goldsmiths students’ already elevated sense of superiority over the geezers is increased by cans of Red Stripe and leads to them stealing the chavettes sparkly iPhones. The drunk geezers’ loathing of the students, or as they call them “fackin’ fruits”, means that they end up going out of their way to steal tote bags full of Macbooks and £3,000 SLRs.

None of this happened when we were there though, we liased with the rest of our waiting group, assessed the time frame we had to complete the crawl, realised we had 2 hours before the Hobgoblin shut and promptly downed another pint and shot and got the hell out of there.

The Walpole

Previously, this pub was famed for being THE pub to avoid if there was a Millwall game on. I remember crouching just below the window with my boss and the chef in the Amersham peeking out at the Walpole as it got fucking torn apart by rucking Millwall thugs. This was at about half one in the afternoon. Fortunately, this seems to have all changed. From what I could gather it has now been bought by Iron Maiden as metal was very much the word of the day and the only suggestion of its dark, footbally past was one lonely Millwall poster.

The vibes in here are actually really good. I was expecting this to be the jank wildcard where we would get evils from the regulars, feel awkward then get out pretty sharpish. But no, there are all these old school barber’s chairs lining the bar and nice tiles or whatever all up the wall churning out Victorian vibes in your peripheries. And they sell a couple of nice bottles out the fridge, a cheeky Meantime pilsner would have gone down a treat were I not shackled to the pint and shot commitment the NXPCC demanded.

The Marquis of Granby

This is the preferred pub of so many arty Goldsmith types who rate it because “It’s the only real pub in New Cross.” What do they mean by that? Well basically every other pub on the strip is catering for the student crowd in one way or another. This one isn’t though. Why does that make it sick? Well I personally would put forward the notion that it isn’t sick, but I guess those are the sort of non-conformist ‘oh God when I was a struggling 19 year old artist I hung out in such working class places’ things that pretentious kids put first when deciding on what pub to drink in. In actual fact they should be concentrating on things like being able to drink your shot and pint without some Irish geezer coming over and making aggressive conversation with you about the football. Because that happened, and I stupidly tried to humour him by saying something vague like “yeah they were all over the place last night” but then he asked specific things like who I supported and who I was referring to when I said they were all over the place. I couldn’t answer his questions and had to go stand over the other side of the pub from him.

Highlight – Seeing pictures of New Cross in the 1800s. They are all over the gaff, it is sick.

Lowlight – The jukebox eating my quid then me complaining and getting my quid back. But then putting it back in the jukebox hoping it wouldn’t eat it the second time round. But then it ate it the second time round too.

The New Cross House

The new kid on the block. When this place opened I remember bare people who ran pubs in New Cross declaring that this was the end of us all, we were going to get blown out of the water by this place. It has a wood fired pizza oven. It has a shed/garage/barn thing in the garden you can smoke in out of the rain. It’s generally more legit and less falling down than any other pub in NX. However after the intial “fuck let’s never go to any pub again” New Cross went through, everybody started trickling back into their old haunts and everybody stopped worrying. The New Cross House is still rad as balls though, it’s all shiny and the bar staff look clean.

It’s a Capitol pub, which is a pub company that basically aim all their pubs at the younger crowds, putting a lot of good beers on the pumps, putting some semi-ironic 80s pop on speakers. It’s alright. Possibly a little bit forced.

By this point in the tour everybody was starting to show signs of inebriation, the core few that had started in the Albert were rapidly losing full control of their basic motor functions.

We’ve since regrouped and discussed the successes and failures of this particular tour and being this drunk at this early stage was certainly one of the failures.

The New Cross Inn

Another failure. We had to bypass the NXI because otherwise we would have died, as many of our ‘Fellowship of the Cross’ don’t even remember leaving the New Cross House. And the journey between the two is fraught with danger. To get from one to the other you have to cross a dual carraigeway that happens to be one of the main transport arteries feeding London from the south east. There’s a little central barrier thing that you can seek refuge on in the middle but other than that it’s a very difficult crossing indeed. There is a pelican crossing about a minutes walk up the way, but fuck that, the lure of saving about 3 minutes of time crossing a road illegally instead of by the government approved method is definitely worth risking your life for.

The New Cross Inn is probably the most venue-focused pub on the strip. It is rows of easily removable wooden picnic tables in front of a stage with a bar hidden round the corner. There are no frills here; it is an honest and grubby basic music venue that seems to do quite well for itself. Not 100% sure how good a time can be had here when there is no music on though. On one of the few occasions we have drunk here outside of gig dates we were flanked on one side by a Goldsmiths fresher desperate to tell us about the new post-dubstep night he was going to be starting up in the coming week. And on the other side by a properly mental old dude just wearing shorts underneath a long raincoat and whispering things into his tartan shopping cart.

The Hobgoblin

Infamous for having staff that are entirely ignored by the hipst-o-meter’s state of the art sensor array. This is the pub for the area’s local student population to go to and be into sport. They show the sports here. The people behind the bar like sports. There’s a flag of a country that is good at the sport over here, a TV with sports on it over there and out in the garden there is plenty of space to both talk about, and re-enact, your favourite sporting moments of the day.

All athlitismophobia aside though, it’s a good place to be drunk in. Which is good. And Wednesday is ladies night. Basically if a girl buys a drink it is some cheap price for a range of drinks. If a boy buys a drink it is the normal price. I think that’s how it works. There have been twists and developments on the formula over the years to stop people taking advantage of the system though. For example, now I think there may be a limit to how many of these cut price beverages a lady can buy in any one visit to the bar. But that may have been revoked now, I’m not sure. What I can tell you for certain is that I do not remember being here. What shot and pint I had is as inaccesible as who I talked to and what I did. As everybody that I would normally go to for information on the matter was as drunk as I. One companion did manage to unearth a memory of being chased up the street screaming with fear by me doing an impression of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. But if the Hunchback of Notre Dame was disabled. And a goblin.

Club Sandwich

It will not surprise you then that the next port of call was a shit disco. The best shit disco in New Cross (and possibly all of London) on a Wednesday night being Club Sandwich, the Goldsmith’s student unions weekly clubnight. My brain remembers none of this with even more tenacity than he doesn’t remember the Hob. Apparently I was kicked out fairly quickly.

The epilogue to the evening plays out like an anti-drinking campaign where I am the star. Found curled up behind a green electrical maintenance box on the A2. I was taken by the hand, trousers round ankles because my belt had gone AWOL, by somebody who did not know where I lived, to the house of somebody else. Who didn’t particularly want me in their house.

Now, If that doesn’t sound to you like the perfect end to a magical evening, then I’m afraid you’re not cut out for the NXPCC.

Do you have any god awful pubs in mind for Jack to go to at some point in the future? If you do please harass him on twitter @beerandloathinz

Read more Beer and Loathing here.

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