This beautifully restored south London pub has fabulous rooms, a great vibe and some top ales. What a shame the generic food doesn’t hit the same heights
Dylan Thomas drank here and may have stumbled upon the title for Under Milk Wood while standing in the pub doorway and looking across the street to the sign for Milkwood Road, which is still there. In its heyday, U2, the Police and Van Morrison played the Half Moon’s back room, and even Frank Sinatra once gave an impromptu set when he popped in to see his chauffeur.
But by the time it closed in 2013, after being flooded by a burst water main, the old pub was more notorious than famous, a soulless den of dodgy London geezers swilling vapid lager. It was boarded up for nearly four years, but the walls of this grand late-Victorian pile hold too much history, it was too dear a local landmark and, crucially, it sits in too affluent an area of south London to stay closed for long. Its cracking location is between cool Brixton and leafy Dulwich Village, and it’s on the doorstep of Herne Hill station (less than 15 minutes to Victoria and the City), and Brockwell park and lido.