With an enviable residency under the railway arches by Southwark station, Jack’s is a roomy and well liked purveyor of cocktails, craft beers, pizzas and hot dogs.
Accessible via a narrow walkway running alongside the railway line, Jack’s is immediately made noticeable by the burgeoning hanging baskets and tall potted plants surrounding its patio entrance. In the evenings, this large seating area is kept toasty warm by a number of heat lamps, offering customers a rare opportunity for comfortable al fresco drinking during the winter months. The interior is impressively cavernous, with decor that is partly in keeping with its industrial outer shell – including exposed brick walls and pipe work – yet softened with some homely bric-a-brac, and comfortable, lounge-worthy furniture.
Jack’s tends to become bustling during the evenings, but the venue’s size means it avoids feeling overcrowded. The clientele is an eclectic bunch: from suit-clad business people dissecting the day’s events, to cocktail-swigging gaggles of young women and a more hip east London contingent who are perhaps lured in by the downtown Brooklyn-inspired setting and on-trend ‘dude food’ that's on offer.
This all makes for a pleasingly buzzing and fun atmosphere, and the efficient staff ensure that arduous queuing at the bar is kept to a minimum. Background music largely alternates between indie and bluesy rock ‘n’ roll.
Hot dogs and pizzas are the order of the day, the former available in two different forms (both £6) – the British Bulldog blend of pork and beef, flavoured with sage and cayenne pepper, and the Big Frank XL frankfurter seasoned with paprika. Additional toppings (50p-£1 each) include a classic smothering of fried onions, rich and mellow mature cheddar, and some sharp and crunchy sauerkraut to add balance.
The pizzas are mainly tried and tested favourites, and a classic Fiorentina is comprised of a light, crispy base, fresh spinach and a perfectly poached egg at the centre. For sides, a portion of chilli cheese fries (£4.50) is hearty comfort food that does not scrimp on its spicy beef topping.
The bar specialises in cocktails (£8.50 each) and even runs its own cocktail classes, largely geared towards hen dos and the more relaxed brand of corporate bonding sessions. Concoctions include a Passion Fruit Martini (also available in apple) that is bursting with sharp, sweet fruit flavour with a suitably boozy undercurrent, and classics such as Caipirinhas - correctly served with a healthy dose of fresh lime – Bellinis, and Daiquiris. Ingredients are all of a high quality, and evidently prepared with due care and attention.
Elsewhere, a sizeable beer list includes both Meantime (made apparent by the large branded barrel displayed at the side of the bar) and Brewdog offerings, as well as Belgian and American bottled beers like Duvel and Goose Island IPA. The succinct range of wines is perhaps not the venue’s strongest point, though.
The Last Word
Overall, Jack’s is a venue that makes good use of its impressive space, and the lively atmosphere and broad range of tasty, reasonably priced food and drink should be enough to cheer up most customers.