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Peckham Springs, London

Blurred lines and reasons to head south

Blurred lines and reasons to head south

Dominic Tixerant

Much has been made recently about the blurring of shop, restaurant, bar and gallery spaces – shops with restaurants, bars crossed with galleries and cafes which show films. Examples can be seen worldwide in the most luxurious of settings. Take for example, The Polo Bar in New York, Duddells in Hong Kong and Burberry’s Regent Street store and restaurant. The list is impressive. Yet the place that stands out for me whilst perhaps the least salubrious of them all is Peckham Springs (yes Peckham as in South London Peckham). In recent times the area has become a hotbed for the culturally astute, or ‘hipsters’ so to speak, and my word do hipsters do ‘blurred lines’ well.
The wittily named Peckham Springs (named after Del Boys tap water scam) is a bar, come gallery, come street food pop up residency, that sits underneath the arches of the railway just round the corner from Peckham Rye station. My first visit to the Springs was on a Friday evening and I soon realised it would not be a dull one. The place was rammed and clearly hugely popular.  The décor is eclectic to say the least; corrugated iron roofing, tables made out of used kegs, and a minimalistic indoor bar with the arch’s brickwork exposed. All of this, which has an undeniable gritty charm paired with fairy lights and the carefully curated artwork of emerging London talent, creates a venue which is vibrant and captivating.  The drinks menu didn’t disappoint either, there was a broad range of expertly made cocktails served in jam jars and a red wine list that’s variety is more Southern France sommelier than south London skater. On top of this the street food offering is excellent; I sampled/scoffed some excellent hot wings that packed an almighty punch. Such is the popularity of street food as a concept there is a risk of stumbling across average operators but it is clear that here they are carefully picked and this is evidenced by their early backing of Patty and Bun which is now a thriving restaurant small chain all over London.
Since my first visit, I have been back countless times. Whatever day of the week the buzz never dwindles – and I am certain this is to do with the mix of people drawn to the venue. I say venue rather than bar because in all honesty it does more than just that. The place is a destination in its own unique right and one that has broken free of the shackles of a specific use. It encompasses the term ‘sui generis’ and is an experience I’d highly recommend to anyone willing to brave the deepest depths of the south.