The Shirker's Rest
Duncan Hart jangles the keys of The Shirker’s Rest, due to open later in the spring

One of the founders of south London’s hugely popular Deserter blog and podcast is trying life behind the bar by opening a micropub in New Cross.

Andrew Grumbridge – known to readers and listeners as the Dulwich Raider – is part the of the team behind The Shirker’s Rest, in a converted shop on Lewisham Way, opposite Goldsmiths University.

The pub will offer “top quality cask and keg beers from local, independent breweries plus a range of other drinks, supplemented by a gourmet menu of pork pies, Monster Munch and those packets of little bits of dried beef”.

As well as a downstairs bar, there will be an upstairs space for exhibitions and showcasing local talent.

Deserter, a guide to skiving in south London, began in 2014 with a tribute to Hardy’s Free House in east Greenwich – “you could hide out for days, provided you’ve got a vitamin D supplement”. Since then, Grumbridge and fellow Deserter Vince Raison have expanded into two books and a podcast, as well as hosting films at the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival. A recent podcast took them on a crawl around Plumstead pubs.

The Shirker’s Rest will be Lewisham borough’s first micropub – converted shops that pride themselves on their real ale – following in the footsteps of The River Ale House in Greenwich and The Long Pond in Eltham.

Grumbridge and co-founder Duncan Hart have joined the team behind The Camberwell Shark to open the pub. They had hoped to open their own bar a few years ago, and took over a pub a Peckham for a weekend to show off their skills, but have now decided to pitch in with the new venture.

“Having been what you might term an ‘end user’ for many years, I decided it’s time to give something back to society and open a pub,” Grumbridge said. “We want to create a space where people can come to relax, chat, lean, look, listen and order delicious pints of foaming ale while they’re doing so. I’ve absolutely no idea what I’m doing, which if you don’t think about it too much, is very liberating.”

The Camberwell Shark’s Ben McNamee said: “We’ve been trying to open our own place since 2017 and after a few false starts, it’s brilliant to team up with Deserter to help finally make this a reality. Not so much down to their work ethic, perhaps, but they do have some very thirsty disciples. We look forward to giving them a permanent home.”

The Shirker’s Rest is due to open later this spring. It will be the latest addition to the local beer scene, with The Green Goddess craft beer bar due to open soon in Blackheath.

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