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3 Melon Road
Antic, an expanding pubco with venues in south and east London, is known for sympathetically reinvigorating existing boozers – but this friendly watering hole at the end of Rye Lane is a new-build. Not that you’d be aware of the fact when ensconced in The Hope’s meandering interior with its ‘granny-chic’ decor (complete with bookshelves and patterned wallpaper). The venture is so new, it currently relies on rotating street-food residencies – serving Colombian empanadas, for instance – until the kitchen is ready. Meanwhile, the drinks line-up tempts both beardy ale fans and the area’s footloose youth. Niche beers from London-based brewers are the mainstay, including Peckham’s Brick Brewery and By The Horns in Wandsworth, supported by Antic’s own Volden Vim and bottles such as a sweet, refreshing mead from Gosnells. The chatty staff will also happily serve you an Aperol Spritz, which goes well with just about everything on the constantly changing menu.
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3 Melon Road
Peckham Rye Station 357m
Queens Road (Peckham) Station 885m
Premier Cinema 353m
Blue Elephant Theatre 2km
Mon-Fri 4pm-12M Sat-Sun 12N-12M (Sun -11pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Decor at the Hope is eclectic but not chaotic; a backlit forest scene with a bed of lilac flowers covers one wall, while the Laughing Cavalier smirks from another. It’s lovingly put together by someone with a rather bonkers eye for detail, with a smattering of faded glamour in the form of gilt-edged portraits and a tarnished chandelier. I suspect the split-level space really comes alive on a Saturday night, which is quite a feat for a new-build.
Chipper, chatty staff are upbeat and eager. The bar man recommended a cool, bronze pint of Mayor of Garratt (courtesy of nearby By the Horns brewery), and I would too.
Pop-ups power the kitchen until the permanent set up is in place. (I’ll be there with bells on if a Venezuelan canteen comes to town, in the hope that means arepas; cloud-light maize flatbreads stuffed with spiced meat). Colonel Tom’s Gumbo was in residence when we visited, serving up jambalaya and po’ boys. The latter’s traditionally a soft sub crammed with fried oysters, but the Colonel’s fillings of choice were buttermilk fried chicken or crayfish. While my gargantuan roll was generously filled with crisp salad and moist meat, my partner’s was crumbling under the strain of too much relish and remoulade. The aftermath was a sauce and pickle bloodbath, and suddenly the absence of serviettes emerged as a huge oversight. Napkins in quantity, please!
And now for a slightly weightier thought. We nipped in to check out the new joint on a hot summer’s night, while every other Londoner dispersed to the beer gardens of the land. With such sparse company - and a gin or two under my belt - I became ponderous. The Hope is estranged from Peckham's trendy Bellenden Road (with its fancy-pants butchers, bakers and whatnot) and resides in a distinctly edgier part of town. So will the Antic team’s aesthetic become an awkward tussle between the hipster contingent and the old-school Peckhamite community? I totally understand anyone feeling none-too-pleased about another fiver-a-pint boutique boozer on the doorstep (albeit a very pleasant one), when lived-in, old-man pubs are such a rarity. In a perfect world, the Hope would grow to attract a demographic as diverse as its interiors, and become a sound, lived-in local. Fingers crossed that the whopping neon sign is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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