Frank’s Cafe and Campari Bar, Peckham
Let’s face it a car park in Peckham isn’t exactly sound like the most glamorous of settings for a bar, even a pop-up at that. But that’s what makes Frank’s cafe, situated on the 10th floor of a multi-storey car park in Peckham, South East London such a hidden gem. The real trick is finding Frank’s cafe – initially it seems simple enough as you can’t miss the car park itself, located next to Peckham cinema in the middle of Rye Lane. But getting to it is a whole different matter as I discovered when I turned up with my friend Donna. We subsequently spent the best part of half an hour wandering the various levels of the car park and trying fire doors in a vain attempt to get up to the roof, only to find Frank’s is shut on Mondays, it only opens Thurs-Sun.
Now in its fourth year, Franks Cafe and Campari Bar serves up a simple drinks menu that comprises of campari cocktails (see what they did there) as well draught beer, wine and soft drinks. Food wise the menu again is kept to a minimum – there are some bar snacky type offerings of hummus, beetroot and grilled Turkish peppers with yoghurt as well as more substantial dishes such as leg of lamb with grilled apricots and pistachios. The evening we were there seabass on the menu which looked delicious but sadly you can only eat if you’re lucky enough to bag yourself a table, which we weren’t. Frank’s Cafe opens at 6pm (lunch is served between 12.30-2pm) and you’ll need to get there early if you want to have dinner there.
If you don’t get to eat it’s not the end of the world as what really makes Frank’s Cafe one of London’s hidden gems is the views. They’re pretty impressive as you can practically see the whole of London’s skyline from a rooftop in Peckham. And having lived in Peckham I was even able to point out local landmarks, like Morrisons, from afar.
You’ll also find random art work by international artists at Frank’s Cafe as it is part of the Bold Tendencies sculpture project. While I wasn’t overly impressed with the exhibits (previous years have been better) the artwork merely adds to the quirkiness of the venue, reminding you once again how random it is to be drinking on the rooftop of a car park in Peckham. And if you’ve been inspired to get sporty by the Olympics you can challenge your mates to table tennis as there are ping pong tables on hand.
When it comes to rooftop bars in London, it’s highly likely that Peckham isn’t be the first place you’d think of. And while it’s not your typical bar with a view, the relaxed atmosphere at Frank’s Cafe and Campari Bar does attract young trendy types. This hidden gem is only around until the end of September so if you do want to check it out for this year you need to be quick. And lets be frank, it’s worth it.