For those of you who don't know: the Bermondsey Beer Mile is a loose amalgamation of brewery bars and bottle shops, located along a stretch of railway arch that's closer to two miles long nowadays. The one thing they have in common is that they're all open at roughly the same time on a Saturday afternoon, giving those of you who fancy some exercise the chance to indulge in a rather fine pub crawl. As long as you can find your way between all the bars, of course.
And this is the problem: because the Mile is something that's grown organically over a period of years, and there's no definitive central resource you can consult in order to find out where all the bars are. New ones keep opening, and old ones change location. Virtually all of the documentation of the Mile on the internet consists of one-off blog posts that quickly go out of date. I should know, as I wrote one of those myself back in 2014, and it's full of mistakes now.
(I'm Spank The Monkey, by the way: I've had an arts and entertainment review blog on the internet for over two decades. Most of the words you're going to see on here are mine, with additional contributions and photography by my pal The Belated Birthday Girl. If you're curious to see what the Mile looked like in olden days, here are some pictures The BBG took of it back in 2014.)
In the absence of any official site relating to the Mile, we've decided to start an unofficial one. We'll attempt to document all of the bars currently on the route, and how to get between them all: and whenever we hear about any changes we'll update the site as soon as we can. (You can help with this - feel free to drop us notes in the comments boxes if you find that anything's altered since we wrote about it. We've included links to the official sites of all the bars, which should hopefully have the most up-to-date information.)
Here's the route as it currently stands. (You could start at the other end and work in the opposite direction, but I'll explain why we're doing it this way round in the first post.) Links with distances in them will give you a map of how to get there: links with a bar name in bold will take you to a separate page with more details about it. Bars with an asterisk next to their name also brew beer on the same premises. It may be worth checking the individual Twitter feeds of the bars before heading out there, just to check their current status.
- Start at Maltby Street Market (not actually a bar, more of a pre-Mile breakfast location, though there are bars in the market too)
- Walk 170m to Southwark Brewing*, 46 Druid Street [Twitter]
- Walk 170m to The Barrel Project, 80 Druid Street [Twitter]
- Walk 50m to Hawkes Cider*, 92/96 Druid Street [Twitter]
- Walk 150m to Hiver/All Good Beer, 56 Stanworth Street [Twitter] (just Hiver now as AGB have moved out)
- Walk 150m to Anspach & Hobday*, 118 Druid Street [Twitter]
- Walk 220m to Moor Beer, 71 Enid Street [Twitter]
- Walk 15m to London Calling Sweden, 72 Enid Street [Twitter] (having a bit of a rethink)
- Walk 1m to Cloudwater, 73 Enid Street [Twitter]
- Walk 23m to Brew By Numbers*, 75/79 Enid Street [Twitter]
- Walk 61m to Bianca Road*, 83-84 Enid Street [Twitter]
- Walk 300m to Old Jamaica Business Estate, 24 Old Jamaica Road (not actually a bar, but a useful halfway point for stopping to eat something)
- Walk 260m to The Kernel*, Arch 7, Dockley Road Industrial Estate [Twitter]
- Walk 1km to Affinity*, 7 Almond Road (moved out of Bermondsey but we haven't had chance to update yet)
- Walk 140m to Spartan*, 8 Almond Road [Twitter]
- Walk 130m to EeBria, 15 Almond Road [Twitter]
- Walk 210m to Partizan*, 34 Raymouth Road [Twitter]
- Walk 650m to Fourpure*, 22 Bermondsey Trading Estate [Twitter]
In memoriam section:
- The Bottle Shop, 128 Druid Street - closed down March 2019
- uBrew*, 29-30 Old Jamaica Business Estate, 24 Old Jamaica Road - closed down September 2019
A couple of recent questions in the comments - well, both the same question, sort of, and one that a few of you may well be thinking about.
Firstly from James: "Hey, great guide. So I've tentatively started organising my brothers stag do and thought the beer mile would be a fun thing to do on it. However after the crap year we've all had im wondering if you've heard any news about when/if theyre all reopening. The stag do wouldnt be until July so there's plenty of time so fingers crossed. Just wondered if you'd heard any news."
And more directly to the point from Joey: "Any idea if this is open at the moment?"
First of all, just a warning that all the information I'm about to give you has come from the Twitter feeds of the bars themselves, which may be incomplete or out of date by the time you read this. (I've put links to the Twitter pages of the bars in the list on the front page so you can check the latest details for yourselves.) But right now, Joey - as of May 8th - it looks like the vast majority of the bars are operating on Saturdays. Brew By Numbers and Fourpure haven't explicitly said they're open, but everyone else is exploiting whatever table space they can grab outside, so I'd be surprised if they weren't too. Some of the bars may need you to book a table in advance, and all of them are going to be limiting numbers, so bear that in mind.
As for a stag in July? That's a bit harder to predict, James. We should have at least two rejigs of the lockdown rules between now and then, so nobody can say what'll be possible after those. Being slightly pessimistic here, I suspect there'll still be a degree of social distancing required even after July, so you might have to pick a few favourite bars and book tables in advance, and there might still be limits as to how many of you could be in one place at the same time. But who knows? So keep an eye on the news, be prepared to have to plan this a little more than you would have in the past, get yourselves all vaxxed up in good time, and bear in mind we're not quite out of this just yet. Keep looking after yourselves and each other, everyone, and hopefully full-blown crawls could be back on the menu in the future.