Sunday, 4 August 2013

Off the KERB

As usual, it all started with a tweet. I started following my favourite street food stalls on Twitter and one day they happen to be next door. Hashtag KERB Peckham, and I starred it and followed it up to hear more about it.


Peckham Rye Station

It all happened quite organically: some friends are in town, Friday night... shall we go to Frank's? Hang on, night out in Peckham?

But I could go back in time even further, when it all really started with a tweet more or less a year ago. It came from Le Cool in one of their summer newsletter. I went to read it, a year ago, back to when it was still sent in horizontal format. That's when I found out about Frank's. I was still living in North London, and venturing it down South to Peckham seamed rather outrageous, specially for a night out. But still, the concept of a terrace, a bar, in a multi-storey dodgy car park was really appealing (I have a thing for Brutalist Architecture), but the terrible Summer and other social events did not allow me to attend in 2012. I must admit though, that I manage to brave up and go to the Rye to visit the stunning Old Waiting Room, and tried to, quickly, find the location of Frank's for further reference, but I felt sort of unsafe for me that day.

So my third impromptu visit to Frank's happened this last Friday, in an attempt to get away from the weekday mayhem, for a well deserved drink after work and to have an excuse to be outdoors with my friends. Safe as usual, I took the bus 37 (bus 37 is the new 29) and got off at Peckham Rye high street to wait for my first friend to show up. My friend T took the wrong overground, so I had half an hour to spare in an unknown neighbourhood. This time I had things planned a lot better: as preventive measure, I decided to follow up my starred tweet and find out where the KERB was. Last Friday at Frank's involved an hour queue for not arriving at the right time, and this time, considering the amount of friends expected to come at different times, it was going to be quite a hard work logistics operation.

The entrance for the Kerb was opposite to the station, at The Bussey Building, opposite to Blenheim Grove, and trust me, rather hidden unless to follow the stream of hipsters towards it. A very narrow entrance lead to an also narrow corridor to a backyard. To my surprise, street artist Phlegm had been there before, at the entrances of the CLF Art Cafe (which hey happens to be the house of the famous Roof Top Cinema). But this time, I turned to the right, to proceed to be checked but quite big bouncers (really good guys though). Right next to the fenced entrance, I also saw ROA on the walls. Double divine signs to reassure me that I was going to the right place.
CLF Art Cafe Peckham. Roof top Cinema
ROA Peckham
ROA Peckham
And there I was, at the KERB. After a few seconds I realised: No matter how much I love the Street Feast in Dalston... well, I have it right at my doorstep now.

It was just 6:45 and already look pretty exciting.
And then I saw some steps, and some signs signalling a Roof Top.

I followed them. A bit like Alice in Wonderland.




And whoa... second Roof Top of the evening and then it al clicked. It is exactly the same roof top I could see from Frank's (I know, it takes me a bit of effort to figure this kind of things out). So more music, more food stalls (Fleishmob... Schnitzel!) and more drinks.
And after exploring, I went back to Frank's. Did not queue. Gathered with my friends and moreover, I enjoyed the stunning views from the top. And back to the Kerb, this time for real, until it shut at 24h00. Nobody wanted such summer night to end.



But recapping to the important bit. What is Frank's?

Well, somebody a few years back, had an idea. Peckham, the new Dalston (?), unexplored territory until not long ago. It is located in a multi-storey car park next to the Pekchamplex. A place which you would not think to go in winter, for the fear of probably being stabbed or to interrupt a drug deal in one of its floors. But in summer it changes: you can feel the stream of hipsters going towards the stuck-in-the-past cinema. Just follow them to the right... am I going in the right direction? There is a yellow door. The pedestrian access to the Multi-storey park, and just because it is not dark you don't feel like you're going somewhere dangerous, but there is no way you can explain those directions to a friend that is coming 10 minutes after, because your friend would never think is going in the right direction.

So you open the yellow door and start going up the concrete stairs and think for a second that at some point in your life you had a car, but you know for sure that you did not park it there. Keep going up and you see what it looks like Malarky has drawn a cheeky monster on one of the windows. Keep going up and you exit the stairs.

Now you are in the parking space. Cars, a few cars...

Oh, a queue!

Ok. You feel reassured, you are not in the middle of a drug deal, but in the place to be down South on a Friday night, and hence the hour-long wait to get inside.





But what can I say? It is definitely worth it.

And mind you, the views are the most stunning views in London. Forget about The Shard.
And because it is a British Summer, the clouds come and threaten to ruin it all. But it doesn't matter.

But this is the great thing about the British Summer. You have to embrace the sun and the outdoors, because you certainly don't know how long will it last. In London, we don't have a beach, but we certainly have the vibes, and the places.
On the way back home, I got lectured about great pubs around the Rye and I can't wait to see them all, but that will be another story.