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The Best Pub Theatres in South London

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Image © Bridge House Theatre via their website

Venture down to South London to find theatres catering for rare revivals, new writing and musicals - all with great pubs attached

A play and a pint. As satisfying to write as it is to experience and South London’s pub theatre-scene has plenty to offer in this respect. Venture down to SE/SW territory and you’ll find a range of theatres catering for rare revivals, new writing and musicals - with the added bonus of great pubs attached alongside. We’ve delved into the South London pub theatre scene for you, so head forth and enjoy pints, plays and performances galore in these fine establishments.

We’ll begin deep in South East London… The Bridge House Theatre is nestled to the side of Crystal Palace Park, in between Penge East and West stations, and is a producing house that works with both established writers and emerging talent. Their Christmas show is an annual treat, and the trio running the theatre have a wealth of professional experience behind them. They also host regular comedy nights, and The Bridge House pub itself is tree-lined and - importantly for its parkside location - dog friendly.

Moving up into Brockley takes us to the Jack Studio Theatre, housed above The Brockley Jack, and recipient of a staggering 56 OffWestEnd nominations over its 25 seasons of programmed work. The black-box theatre is a versatile space that focuses on supporting emerging companies and writers alongside its own self-produced plays and musicals. The programming is broad - new musicals, revivals and plays all regularly feature - and the theatre also runs new writing competitions and Scratch nights. The pub itself is full of local colour, and proud to host the theatre upstairs.


Image © wetwebwork on Flickr

We’ll switch across to South West for our next two stops. Clapham’s Bread and Roses Theatre is home to more experimental work from emerging artists, and launched the Clapham Fringe Festival to further support the creation of new work. With an artistic programme that leans towards formally inventive work, or theatre from distinctive voices, it plays an important part in South London’s theatre ecology by fostering a loyal audience with an appetite for something different. The Bread and Roses pub itself is similarly creative in its events. Their live music offering is consistently strong - they even have their own stage at Glastonbury!

Heading over to Battersea, we come to one of the big hitters in London’s new writing scene - Theatre503. Originally an offshoot of the legendary Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, since it’s rebrand in 2002 two productions that were debuted at the theatre have gone on to win Olivier Awards. Their programming is always varied and consistently relevant, and taking a punt on a Theatre503 show is always worth it. You just never know when you might catch the next big thing in their intimate upstairs setting. The Latchmere, above which the theatre sits, is a welcoming and warm venue to drink in before and after a show - particularly on long winter evenings.

Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Image © Rob Holley

Up in Kennington, The White Bear Theatre is a similarly prestigious venue, winning several major awards since its inception in 1988 and playing host to a large number of today’s leading directors and writers on their way up the ladder. The programming focuses on new writing and revivals of lost classics, and the space is tucked away at the back of the pub itself - whose circular bar is full of charm and serves a particularly fine Guinness.

Finally, we arrive at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern - no prizes for guessing the location of this one. A legendary venue programming cabaret, performance and club nights, the venue is based in a historic Grade II-listed building, and is one of the warmest and safest spaces in London’s theatre scene. On any given night you can expect to watch performances from some of London’s (and further afield) best LGBT performers, and a trip to see a show here is always memorable.