The Florence, Herne Hill, London
Once the English pub was the home of old blokes propping up a bar, or large groups of girls or boys out for a night on the town. Now there is a new breed of pub goer - the discerning thirty-something-with-kids who wants somewhere that they can enjoy a pint and bring the children. The owners of the Florence saw that gap in the market and decided to bridge it.
The Florence was once an old-blokes boozer, a sports bar called Ganleys which played Sky sports day long. It was taken over by the Capital Pub Company and underwent a transformation. It is large and bright inside, with an open kitchen at the back and a large beer garden. With its proximity to Brockwell Park and its Lido it quickly became a magnet for the well-to-do mummies and daddies that make up a large majority of Herne Hill’s population.
The Florence has its own micro-brewery and its Weasel ale and Beaver wheat beer are frequently well reviewed. You can see the brewery itself, housed as it is within a glass box inside the pub.
As well as a large range of beer and cider, the Florence has a regularly changing menu that specialises in burgers, sandwiches and well cooked pub-grub.
The Florence’s biggest innovation came in 2010 when it opened its Children’s Play Room. The play room was built at the far side of the beer garden, a large glass walled structure where customers can leave their kids to play while they enjoy a pint. It is remarkably well stocked with toys and games, and two 42” screens mounted on the walls play CBeebies all day. Unsurprisingly, many families with children visit the pub regularly, and if spending the day surrounded by kids makes you shudder with horror, visiting the Florence during the day at the weekends may not be for you. All of the children, however, have to leave after 7pm so evening is playtime for adults only.
Tel: 020 7326 4987
Address: London, SE24 0NG
Overground Station: Herne Hill