The Goldsmiths Tavern, New Cross

- now just another 'theme' pub - and the 'theme' is flash trash to turn some cash

John Heathcote




LATEST UPDATE, August 2003 - after being closed for the last time on March 17th 2003 after a ludicrous police raid, the pub is now reopened as yet another yuppie student facility in the Borough of Goldsmiths, selling 'naughty cocktails', overpriced food, and 'salsa' evenings twice a week for people who find it hard to talk to the opposite sex except about the price of property

Below is the report of the old Goldsmiths Tavern we published last year.

Perhaps this was the last legal venue in South East London where the local underground culture had any form of free expression. An open door policy which mixed home-counties students (from Goldsmiths College) with local ragamuffins, crusties, burnt-out bohos and various faces from the local cultural underworld.

Sadly this venue was closed down at the beginning of March 2003, for refurbishment; and apparently, it's re-invention as a yuppie watering hole.

Up to now the landlords have held back from replacing any of the 200-year old flea-bitten furniture, or doing much more than cleaning any visible dried blood or vomit of the floor, with the remarkable excuse that they "didn't want to alienate the clientele", but the endless supply of giros and student grants has apparently paid off.

Despite the paucity of the surroundings (which most people are too caned to notice), the Tavern - as it is popularly known amongst the drinking circles of New Cross - has been the meeting-place for many different parts of the local community, permanent and temporary, for many years.

Music & Desire Crew (DJ Verb, MC Maestro, MC Siza, DJ VENOM) from Battersea - Live at the Goldsmiths 13th June and 20th June 2002. You can also hear them on Delight FM 103 (Mon 12midnight-2.00am - Jungle, Jump-up, Ragga, D&B)

With a license to carry on rocking until 2.00 am every night except Sunday, and entry free on the door, the place rarely fills up until 11.30 most nights, but within an hour is often changed from it's previously bleak emptiness to a heaving mass of sweat-drenched bodies.

Although the pump-beer is of variable quality, they have recently branched out to selling Hoegaarden, and you can always stick to bottles.

Nights worth getting down for are Wednesday (Lizzies Techno Night), Thursday (Bev's Drum & Bass Night) and Fridays for the ever-popular skanking ska show.

Despite one or two nasty incidents, which most self-respecting South-East London venues can boast of, the vibe is generally good-natured inebriated. This is no doubt helped by the ability to skin a quick one up when the staff aren't around, and the absolutely unjudgemental atmosphere of both staff and punters.

The range of artists who have performed there over the years include RDF, Geezer and Dave the Drummer, PAIN, The Innerterrestials, and many others lost in the blur of time and disintegrating short-term memory. A couple of years ago, for instance, Gil Scott Heron turned up for a drink and ended up returning to do a gig.

Bevan Burke

The stalwart soundman, Bevan Burke, is trying to organise a get-together of all the DJ's who played over the years for June 30th 2002, and maybe even a similar day for bands.

But sadly, it looks as if yet another bastion of difference in a bland corporate world is going to slip under, and be replaced by the replicant; steel and chrome, cappuccinos, £10 on the door or you don't get in, another off-the-street hangout for the those for whom all that matters is the clothes, the pose, and what's up your nose. Sad.

Like all good venues, the audience were the real stars at the old Goldsmiths Tavern

all photos copyright SJSomerset