Saved from closure by local residents, The Ivy House became London’s first co-operatively owned pub. The little South East London establishment has a fascinating history dating back to the 1930s and resides in a grade-II building retaining many of its original feature. What’s more, its modest stage has hosted gigs by music royalty: think Joe Strummer, Jeff Beck and Elvis Costello. This musical tradition continues to this day with live music, theatre and comedy happening almost every night.
A genuine “free house”, the pub isn’t tied to any one brewery, which makes it a great choice for beer lovers. You’ll find a selection of 8 real ales and ciders, a decent range of craft beer in keg, key keg, and bottle, and there’s even a bottle takeaway option. It’s not a gastro-pub, but there’s decent food served daily, plus an extensive wine list and excellent coffee for those who prefer grape (or bean) to grain.
The Ivy House is London’s first co-operatively owned pub – run entirely for the benefit of its local community. Through its regular gigs, the pub provides vital support to London’s waning independent music scene and offers an inclusive space for local residents, hosting everything from yoga classes to knitting circles and toddler groups. There’s also a commitment to supporting local business and social enterprises. For example, the coffee is sourced from Old Spike Roastery, which offers training opportunities to those affected by homelessness.
It has also has been an important exemplar to other pubs and spaces at risk of closure, inpsiring many other communities to take action. The Ivy House was the first pub in the UK to be listed as an Asset of Community Value… now there are over 2,000.