John the Unicorn

157-159 Rye Lane , London, SE15 4TL

SquareMeal Review of John the Unicorn

This spanking new watering hole owes its name to the boss’s daughter’s favourite soft toy, apparently. At a time when new pubs are a rarer sight than a unicorn – Rye Lane alone has lost six in recent years – the conversion of what was previously Peckham’s Discount Decorating store is great news. Indie pub chain Antic is responsible, reproducing its trademark artfully dishevelled decor that trawls the decades from the 1860s to the 1960s. Start with £8 cocktails: Mezcal Margarita; a bourbon Sour named after Stevie Nicks; and Aviation pimped up with Prosecco. Wine starts at under £15 a bottle (for Spanish house red or white), while local beers include Gipsy Hill’s Hepcat Session IPA, and Orbit’s Nico (a pilsner named after the Velvet Underground singer). Street food pop-ups will supply nourishment until the kitchens are fitted out; afterwards we’re promised ‘a modern and traditional British menu’ with ‘quirky edits’.

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