Old Dispensary

325 Camberwell New Road, Camberwell, London, England

Thirty-three comments

This session

This session is turning into a song session - the punters seem to want Athenrye, Old Brigade, Spancil, etc.


Posted by .

Max if you don’t like the way a session is going vote with your feet. Just don’t go. It’s easy. Take it from me.

I went to this session for the first time. The pub was packed, both punters and musicians, even though the weather was heavy rain. Only caught the last hour but i’ll definitely go again.


I was a customer in the Dispensary on the sunday of the 5th of september and i was thoroughly enjoying the music when an argument erupted between the ;spoon player and the whistle/fluteplayer as far as i was concerned the music had been pretty good all night I have never seen anyone be so rude to a fellow musician.he not only swore at the whistleplayer quite a few times but he threatened him to leave the pub.who does the spoon player think he is.He is not only very rude and very arrogant he is not that great on the spoons either.
the rest of the musicians were great especially the accordian player and the two banjo players and the other bodhran player.
I hope not to see extremely bad manners from a muscian if i ever go there again to listen.

signed anon?


Well, I was a customer in the Old Dispensary on Sunday the 5th of September and was witness to the event that donicha mentions above…… and, as usual there are two sides to every story.
Some time before this argument started, the (whistle/flute) player who was now attempting to play the bodhran (very badly in my opionion) was asked by the spoon’s player (who in my opinion was very good) to "please refrain from playing that as it’s not sounding good".
Later in the night the whistle/flute player attempted to play along with another tune on the bodhran and this is when the spoon’s player lost his patience.
It was all a bit of a storm in a teacup and didn’t detract from a great night’s music.

i wasnt there on the 5th
but i have been there a few times.

it is actually a pretty good mixed session, a good venue, an appreciative crowd. some good tunes, some raucous songs.
good players
(including a decent bodhran player, i dont think they need any others)

if the spoons player is the one i’m thinking of, he’s quite good, and threw no wobblies that i saw.

its a pretty good mixed night.

i only post this because the stuff already posted might put you off. dont let it, this session is worth going to.

This session officially runs from 6pm till 9pm;
There are usually enough stragglers to keep it going much later than that ;-)
This is definitely not a ploddy session, but it ain’t blazing saddles either.
Repertoire: Plenty of well known tunes (if you know *Dows List*, you will be able to join in), but also less obvious tunes.
As stated by others above, the punters do like a song, but they *love* a tune. you want to play in a session where punters actually jump and dance to the reels? get thee down here.
Its very near the main crossroads at Camberwell Green; easy to get to, loads of bus routes in all directions.
eg 20 mins to West End or the City;
its a 5 minute bus ride to Oval Tube station, which is 2 stops from Waterloo.

see you there……………


Six players, four banjos. No fisticuffs. "Blazing saddles"? Way too fast for the players’ ability level. You could tell they were struggling to keep up a reckless pace which sucked all tunefulness out of the music. My advice? Keep ‘er nice and steady, boys and girls. Less of the mad flailing. Listen to the piper. He was playing at a far steadier rate and it was a pleasure to listen to those sets which he kicked off. Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for some of the banjo-led sets. By the way, just in case anyone thinks I’m anti-banjo (or banti-anjo), for the record I play banjo myself and was on the verge of bringing my yoke along on Sunday. Thankfully, I had the foresight to check the place out before I chanced my arm on sitting in. Five banjos?!


i’m glad you agree,i kept telling aidan,pat and paul to slow down so i could play within my ability level and stop dragging them down to our level galtee.but they were having none of it.do you know of any other sessions around that play at our level galtee?if so could you drop me a line and i’ll pop along if you’ll have me.i see by your bio that your local but i’d take the personal bit out if i was you.i’d never put that on the net if that was my family,no wonder you don’t like it fast after that experience…speak soon and thanks again for sticking up for us learners

Posted by .

By the way

there is normally only two maybe three banjos but aidan turned up,he’s a great banjo player and thats probably why it got a bit faster……cheers

Posted by .

By the way again

just to say pat and paul are great players aswell….

Posted by .

By the way

Will ye stop yer slagging Hips sure your no learner, you could keep the session going yerself. Up Kerry.

Excellent Evening

I visited this pub again on Sunday last and the session was in full swing when I got there at 6.30 with many excellent tunes on button box and banjo, with sympathetic backing from guitars. One of the young ladies also sung some nice songs. This session appears to have moved on from its earlier problems and the hosts welcomed other musicians as they arrived later in the evening. I will certainly return again and would recommend this venue to anyone looking for good music on a Sunday evening in South London

Is that because of no spoons?

Posted by .

Alana’s Back!

The wonderfully talented Alana McLoone is back from Australia and will be joining me, Helen Mullen (accordion, fiddle and whistle) and my brother Noel Mullen (guitar and bodhran) every Sunday 6-9pm at the Old Dispensary. All are welcome to join in, was a brilliant session tonight glad to have her back!

Dear regulars
you could do with being a bit friendlier to occasional participants like myself. If this is a gig, please advertise it as such. If it is a session, it is as well to act in a more relaxed fashion. You are good enough players but let’s face it you’re not exactly De Danaan are you? So come down from your high horse, otherwise the pub will get *even emptier* when you play.

Session or Gig

Rudall I think is now a gig and has been for quite some time. Have’nt been in this pub much in the past year myself as the music seemed to go drastically downhill when most of the players stopped turning up. The pub is advertising this gig as "Irish Music" but whats being played now is far removed from what I know as Irish music. Even the couple of musicians who are left always look bored with what they are playing. Perhaps a bit of imput from some new blood might liven things up a bit again (if it were welcomed) and get the music back to what it used to be.

All musicians are welcome to join in! Provided of course that they are not excessively drunk or rude. Due to the large crowd we get in this pub, this session is amplified. Tunes that are frequently played can be found in my tune book.


Excuse me. I can’t imagine how you expect to have a good session if you discourage people who are ‘drunk or rude’! They are usually the best players.

OD session,, new management

Hi.. just to flag-up that the OD session is under new management, and we are trying to get a really good trad session going here again,,, with all tune players and singers welcome,,
(well only the good ones..obviously !!]
Dann Kenningham

Session under new management

For the last few months the long time running ‘Old Dispensary Sunday Night Trad Session’ has been under new management; the session welcomes a mix of tunes and songs. We have currently a strong core group of 4-5 musicians playing: Banjo, Whistle, Bouzouki, Guitar and Bodhran, and a great singer.
The Old Dispensary is a very friendly and welcoming venue, with great Guinness and free Irish stew.
Good Tune players are welcome.

feel free to contact me on dskenningham@hotmail.com

Pretty good

Thanks lads - not a bad wee session - much improved from its previous incarnation of ill-managed half-gig-half session-half biscuit t’ing. The Scottish guy is a handy fiddle player. I look forward to more tunes with him, when I can get down. And with the other tune players there.


The phone number on the description is wrong, should be 020 7701 7660.

Just moved to Brixton, looking forward to checking out this session tonight!

OD session

the session is still running strong,, we have a good core group of players , and guest tune leaders ,,,,,
Good Tune players are welcome

Another average one is heading your way tonight…well, below average on button accordion, but maybe these are delusions of grandeur, but I have been told I’m possibly above average on flute…maybe people have said that to shut me up….you’ll find out soon enough. See you in a bit.

Enjoyable. Hats off to Alice, fine flute player, piper and dancer. And of course to the other players. Must try and get down more frequently.


I called in there this evening about 8pm and there was a bloke stood at a mike playing a guitar & singing an Eagles’ song.
I take it this session has now finished or has moved start/finish time?

Old Dispensary Session; back on again on a weekly basis

The long time running ‘Old Dispensary Sunday Night Trad Session’ is back on again on a weekly basis; (after a couple of months of reduced sessions due to the pub management)
The session welcomes a mix of tunes and songs. We have currently a strong core group of 4-5 musicians playing: Banjo, Whistle, Bouzouki, Guitar and Bodhran, and a great singer.
The Old Dispensary is a very friendly and welcoming venue, with great Guinness and free Irish stew (sometimes).
Good Tune players are welcome.

feel free to contact me on dskenningham@hotmail.com

Thanks Dan - I’ll have a look soon. What is the start time?

Great session last night. Good people, great playing. It all seemed to "click" - no big egos, just good solid joyful playing; an uncluttered celebration of playing the music, with decent respectful players. Thanks, folks. If this is the future —- I’ll be back!

The session is now held on the first Sunday of the month.

Dan informs me that this session is up and running again, after a short hiatus.

This session has ended.

It’s moved to
the Pyrotechnists Arms
39 Nunhead Green, London SE15 3QF
020 7639 9391

It is now on the last Sunday of the month.