This is a guest post by Jessica Elvidge
The first whispers about Frank’s came on Qype when I arrived in London a year (almost to the day) ago. London was a vast and imposing place for sure back then, I had moved into a safe-option area north of the river; I’d certainly heard of Peckham but didn’t dare / know how to venture into the wilds.
The chatter continued for the rest of the summer, with south London foodies (and hardened drinkers) Helen and Lizzie telling stories of midnight drives around a rooftop in a golf buggy with plastic glasses of Campari in hand.
Suffice to say that by the time the season finished and Frank’s shut up shop at the end of last summer, I had heard enough about it to know I’d missed something great. A pop-up art project café on the top of the Peckham Multiplex – ten floors up in a disused car park – serving up lashings of bitter orange Campari cocktails on wooden benches underneath a tarpaulin looking out across the whole of London. As concepts go, it’s difficult to top, even in this saturated city.
The announcement that Frank’s café was to return this summer was met with much rejoicing. In the intervening months I’d managed to move south of the river, negotiate bus routes and make wonderful friends; I set Frank’s as my birthday party venue and began the arduous process of enticing my norf-London mates down. Of course, they soon realised that it is the journey that makes Frank’s all the more rewarding for those that make it.
On the day my Peckham-shy mates and I made it there, the sun shone. The view as we reached the top floor was spectacular – taking in the whole of central London in one sweep, west to east. The bar itself is pushed into one corner of the top floor, constructed seemingly from timber offcuts and lorry tarpaulins – the bar, tables, benches and stools all taking on a rough-and-ready-for-chilling style – open plan circles of low benches extend out across the roof and more regular tables and benches are laid out in rows for those eating.
Frank’s is a Campari bar, so much of the liquid on offer is based around the lurid orange stuff you either like or don’t. Cocktails are wonderfully priced at £4 a piece – not expertly mixed so much as poured out in front of you – but generous and punchy.
Those who are afraid of Campari shouldn’t worry though. There is a lot more on offer here including a kicking Moscow Mule and a beer fridge for the unadventurous, but really, you should be here for the dangerously good negronis. There is a short food menu at Frank’s too should you find yourself tiptoeing towards tipsy – we didn’t venture that way but there certainly have been good reports of the tapas-style dishes.
I cannot pick out a single place in London where the atmosphere is bettered. On a summer’s day, sitting low on the benches with good friends, looking out over this magnificent city, plastic cup in hand. And once it gets dark, Frank’s wraps up (10pm at last check) for the night and sends a crowd of happy people winding down the car park ramps again, most of them talking about when to return.
Photos from Mark Dodds‘ Photostream .