Recently opened under new management, the Dog House is an understated yet characterful boozer located in the heart of Kennington, serving a decent range of drinks to accompany an array of evening entertainment.
Situated on an eye-catching junction between Kennington Lane and Kennington Road, the Dog House is a medium-sized venue comprising two floors, the lower of which is split into two sections surrounding a central island bar. The décor is decidedly weathered, with graffiti etched into battered wooden tables, and scuffed flooring and wallpaper that have definitely seen better days. Features such as the warm lighting, black and white photographs, and a cut-up Persian rug dressing the side of the bar, however, serve to soften the scene, and elevate the décor to charmingly scruffy, instead of a dodgy, dive bar look.
Further lounge-like seating can be found in an upstairs room, which also plays host to some of the venue’s entertainment evenings, such as comedy and quiz nights. Outside, a number of picnic tables frame both sides of the venue’s grand corner entrance.
The atmosphere is almost horizontally laid-back, making this a perfect place for a relaxed catch-up in a smaller group. Bar staff are very pleasant and accommodating, and strive to make everyone feel welcome – despite the crowd being largely in the 20-to-30 age bracket. The live music on Thursdays ranges from acoustic indie rock to jazz and folk sets.
There are definitely no delusions of grandeur when it comes to the menu, the list consisting of large portions of no-frills pub fare. A starter of fried, spiced calamari with lemon and garlic mayo (£5.95), whilst a little greasy, definitely falls under the bracket of satisfying comfort food, although the salmon and cod fishcakes (£6) are disconcertingly smooth and very heavy on the parsley.
The fish component of the pub’s beer battered fish and chips (£9.50) is surprisingly fresh, and a substantial cajun chicken breast burger with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce (also £9.50) is served with the same pleasing, crispy-coated chunky chips. For dessert, apple crumble with custard (£4.50) is a mini oven tray of sweet stodge. For those seeking solace after a heavy Saturday night out, Sundays see a full roast and Bloody Mary on offer for £14.
Both ales and lagers are served within a large range - Bombardier, Doom Bar, Thwaites Wainwright and Black Sheep bolster the ale line-up. London Meantime and Hoegaarden are other recommendable options. A relatively large range of wines is also present (available by both litre and half litre carafes), and a house Campo Nuevo Tempranillo is very pleasant and on offer for £10.95 a bottle during the pub’s happy hour (5pm-6pm on weekdays).
The Last Word
All in all, the Dog House definitely has more charm than its name might suggest, with a quirky vibe that feels endearing rather than contrived. It is definitely a good choice for whiling away an evening in the Kennington area.