Herne Hill’s Half Moon pun has been awarded ‘best pub in Greater London’ by the National Pub and Awards 2018 – nearly five years after a flood saw the historic venue closed and its future uncertain.
The winners were announced at last night’s ceremony at BAFTA, 19 Piccadilly, with The White Horse in Chilgrove, in West Sussex, taking the crown for ‘best pub in the UK’, and the Half Moon scoop the regional prize for best pub in London.
— Save The Half Moon (@savehalfmoonpub) May 23, 2018
The award comes after successful reopening for the pub – which could have been converted into flats after a flood forced the previous landlords to close down.
In 2013 the historic, Grade II listed Half Moon public house was flooded when a Thames Water pipe burst, on the junction of Half Moon Lane and Herne Hill road, affecting numerous businesses.
After shutting down, residents launched a campaign to try and save the pub from redevelopment, when freeholder Dulwich Estates announced plans to convert the High-Victorian-style building into flats.
Campaigners wanted to keep the pub as a live music venue, and successfully got it listed as an ‘asset of community value’ in 2015. Famous musicians to have played at the famous venue include U2, Van Morrison, The Police, Dr Feelgood, Thin Lizzy and local talent La Roux, who grew up nearby.
Fullers took over the management in 2016, and reopened the pub after extensive restoration work in 2017, but the pub is no longer a regular live-music venue and its stage has been removed to make way for a dining area.
Peter Blair, who was involved in the campaign to save the pub, said: “It’s enormously pleasing to get national recognition for one of London’s great Victorian pubs, and a fair reflection of the affection held for the Half Moon in Herne Hill in our local community who have embraced the pub since it reopened last year.”
A boozer is believed to have has sat on the site since the seventeenth century, but the current pub was built between 1894 and 1896. One of its particularly notable regulars was the Welsh playwright and poet Dylan Thomas, and the pub was also a regular drinking spot after the First World War for the London Welsh Rugby Team who were based at Herne Hill velodrome for several decades.
“What makes the National Pub & Bar Awards so special is that everyone in that theatre was there to celebrate being the best in their county,” says Tristan O’Hana, editor of Pub & Bar magazine, which hosts the awards.
“The occasion is an opportunity for the whole of the UK to acknowledge the incredible work that these businesses do for us all – our pubs and bars are a huge asset to local communities, as well as the whole of the country.”