In prime ‘zone 1’ location, sitting just a 2 minute walk from London Bridge, is elegant eatery come cocktail lounge: Southwark Rooms. If you’re thinking ‘that sounds like an odd combination’, well let us tell you something, my friend. People once laughed at ‘Sweet and Sour’, they rolled their eyes at Peanut Butter and Jelly. But now, innovation is in. Enter Southwark Rooms. Still alive with that unbeatable London buzz, Southwark Rooms is a welcome break from the Southbank suit-and-tie brigade.
Being a stone’s throw from the Borough Market, Southwark Rooms takes full advantage of the freshest seasonal produce meaning their menu is always chocka-block with yummies. There’s just something about knowing your veg is time-limited that makes it that much more delicious. Almost like an having an exotic holiday romance, except this time with a radish. One of our favourite features of Southwark Rooms’ is the glass frontage, which folds away leaving the whole front section open-air and ideal for tanning when Mr Sunshine’s got his hat on. With this, comes a sort of beer garden vibe which is nearly unheard of in the centre of town. You can sit back, cocktail in hand and watch the busy bustle of the Southbank continue whirling around you. If you’re more geared up for clubbing, however, the split-level layout means that whatever kind of Friday you’ve got in mind, Southwark Rooms has got you. Both tiers have distinctly different feels to them, ambience and décor. The upstairs: a rustic looking dining space with a clean cut, contemporary finish of wood and brick, and the downstairs: a swanky Cocktail Lounge with a real Eastern-inspired opulence. Complete with dark stone flooring and a few cheeky Buddhas dotted around the place, you can plot yourself down in one of the cushioned booths and feel thoroughly zen.
Music: Hip Hop, House, RnB, Afrobeats, Techno
Dress Code: Smart/Casual
Train Station: London Bridge
Address: Southwark Rooms, 60 Southwark Street, London , SE1 1UN
Southwark Rooms host weekend events that span the entire musical jukebox. We’re talking R&B, Hip Hop, Swingbeat, Neo Soul, Garage, Techno, Funk, Electro, House plus a whole lot more of mash-up genres and styles. Having previously had guest DJ's from BBC 1XTRA, CAPITAL XTRA and KISS FM, we think it’s fair to say they know exactly how to drum up a crowd. With a vast library of liquors (we were particularly impressed by the 17 whiskeys they have available) Southwark Rooms is also pretty top notch for alcohol- although we’d imagine not a lot of fun for the indecisive. If hard liquor isn’t your bag, not to worry as cocktails are also a venue specialty. Notable mention goes to the Pink Cello: a delightful concoction of Raspberry Vodka, Malibu, Lemon liqueur, apple juice and passionfruit. Which, although delicious, has absolutely nothing to do with the stringed instrument. How disappointing. Disappointment soon subsided when we clocked that cocktails were £7.95 a pop and you could even get them for a fiver during their 6-8pm happy hour. With a cocktail menu just shy of 20 you can expect delicious Mojitos, Punch blends, Black and White Russians, Flavoured Margaritas, Mai Tais and our good ol’ summer staple: Mr. Pimms. Those of us who enjoy a cheeky liquid lunch can also order all their favourites in pitcher form so just pass us a straw and we’re golden.
On the weekend, Southwark Rooms tends to be prime location for the real, avid music lovers due to the kind of niche genres their events span, but during the week your guess is as good as ours. What with their film screenings, comedy nights and quizzes, it’s a total pick’n’mix of people of all age groups and demographics. Affordability is a big factor here, so any savvy, wowcher-wielding Londoners will probably already know about the Southwark Rooms. With 2 for 1s, Ladies nights, happy hours and other great promotions Southwark Rooms seems to be ideal territory for those seeking out great value for their hard-earned buck. It’s worth noting that Southwark Rooms also accepts the Tastecard, which can provide a pretty hefty discount to an already reasonable bill.
Oddly, it doesn’t strike us as the kind of venue to host an Afrobeats night, but somehow it just works. Both levels offer such a highly contrasting experience that it feels more like a union of 2 separate venues than just one standalone. Think of Southwark Rooms a bit like your drunk Aunty Lyn. On the surface: she’s pretty respectable right? Family-friendly, pleasant even. But when she lets her hair down, the Jekyll and Hyde transformation begins. That’s kind of what we love about this place - come Monday morning, with Southwark’s basement door now closed and Aunty Lyn’s top back on, you would never know just what carnage had ensued.