The Half Moon, Herne Hill, shut its doors in 2013, when it was badly damaged by floods after a pipe burst in the area. Fuller’s bought the site’s lease from owners the Dulwich Estate in January 2016.
Local campaigner Peter Blair, who led a crusade to preserve the Half Moon as a pub, said: “If you go back to this time in 2015, the pub was empty. It was boarded up and squatters had moved in… we were very close to losing the pub altogether."
“I think in the current climate, particularly in London with property development, where we’re losing pubs daily, to have this historic pub brought back into use – and I have to say, I’ve seen it inside and it’s absolutely magnificent – it’s a complete triumph."
Fuller’s came under fire from campaigners when it applied for planning permission to replace the Half Moon’s live music area with a larger kitchen.
Several celebrities backed the campaign to keep the pub’s focus on live music, including Observer food critic Jay Rayner and comedian Jo Brand.
But Fuller’s' application was given the green light in April last year. That same week, Southwark Council voted to uphold the pub’s Asset of Community Value (ACV) status, which the Dulwich Estate had challenged.
Blair said: “[Fuller’s] have been open and transparent all along. We’ve moved from some tension around the planning application to a very constructive relationship.
“They’ve done a lot of work over the past few weeks to meet with local community groups – in general, there’s a very positive opinion about the pub reopening and about Fuller’s being the landlord.
“I was there on Friday and I don’t think the bar areas have looked as good as they do now since 1896 when the building opened.”
Back to life
A spokesperson for Fuller’s said: “The Half Moon is just a fantastic example of how to bring a pub back to life.
“The refurbishment is sympathetic to the original character of the pub, while creating a fantastic environment that will appeal to a wide range of customers, from those wanting a quick pint on the way home from the station to families looking for a first class Sunday lunch.
“We’re absolutely delighted and we’ve been really pleased with the reception from those locals that have seen it – we can’t wait to open in the next week.”