Date idea: Frank’s Cafe & Campari bar

Happy August Lovestruckers! We bet that you, like most of the British public, are eagerly counting down the days till bank holiday Monday (10 to go!). But in the meantime, here is a spot-on date idea to distract yourself from the summer doldrums.

Photo credit: Richard Bryant

Photo credit: Richard Bryant


For a pitcher-perfect date (excuse the lame pun…) head to Frank’s Café and Campari bar atop a car park all the way out in Peckham, SE15. Although a bit of trek for north Londoners, or indeed for any Londoner, the views from this far south are remarkable. Arrive before the sun goes down for maximum impact (and because the speed of service wanes with the light).

Frank’s is a cocktail bar which specialises in Campari cocktails (Negronis and Americanos) but they also cater for those who hate the bitter-tasting stuff. The fair-weather establishment (it only opens its makeshift doors during the Summer) is popular with just about everybody so prepare for a bit of a wait for your drink. But luckily, it offers some of the most intriguing people watching in town – so conversation won’t run dry, even if your glass does. Apart from a rudimentary awning it’s also almost entirely open to the elements so best to avoid on cold and drizzly days. Or, as the website helpfully instructs: suck it up and bring a blanket.

Take the overground to Peckham Rye. That’s right, no tube stop in deepest darkest Peckham. But don’t worry, contrary to ‘norf’ London propaganda, you can still use your oyster cards this far south of the river. Turn left out of the station, right at the Abbey National and head up the long and winding stairwell on your right (all the way to level 10). Alternatively, follow the hipsters. You could also make use of the attached car park and drive, but this means it’s more difficult to make full use of the Campari cocktails.


Free entry into the bar-come-car park (alas, if you actually want to park your car it’ll cost you). Drinks range from £5-6 and food starts at reasonably price bread (£2.50) and ends at the equally reasonably priced, though perhaps not as date-safe, sardines and harissa (£6) or ox heart kebab (£5.80).


The Begging Bowl (168 Bellenden Road) is a great Thai restaurant, perfect for a pre-Campari bite to eat. Watch out for the colour coded pricing system though. Visually challenged diners have been known to leave with significantly lighter pockets. If you’re looking for a daytime date activity then nothing beats Anderson & Co (also on Bellenden Road, number 139). This unassuming café (with an incongruously lavish mosaic-tiled bathroom) has a great range of food and drinks. Try the courgette cake. Trust us.


Frank’s is part of the Bold Tendencies sculpture project. Set up in 2007, the project commissions site-specific work by international artists. As you walk up to the bar (the lift stops at level 6) casually point out the art works that litter the top levels of the largely empty car park. Don’t refer to the artworks as actual rubbish, unless you and your date have already bonded over the impenetrable nature of modern art that is.

DO SAY ‘The gentrification of London is getting seriously out of hand!’

DON’T ASK ‘Do you mind driving? I’m planning on getting absolutely hammered this evening.’


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