This gastro bar for the Brockley neighbourhood caters for all characters and all occasions the whole year round. It has a similar shabby chic aesthetic to other Antic pubs, which adds to the cosy and chilled south east London vibe.
Soft lighting, ambient music and a collection of vintage paintings set the relaxed vibe at Jam Circus. The few picnic benches outside for the smokers - or those lucky enough to visit on a sunny day - are all inhabited, even on a chilly autumn weeknight. Once inside, you feel immediately welcome in this neighbourhood gastro bar. Seating is split across two levels; the largest area surrounds the bar and has large arm chairs in the windows and a particularly cosy corner seat adjacent to the open coal fire. The rest of this area is filled with wooden tables and chairs and a few tall stools line the bar. The second area is up a couple of stairs out beyond the bar – built-in loungers make it feel a little more like a diner than a bar, but you’d happily drink a few beers here, too.
The atmosphere is relaxed, unpretentious and friendly. There is a real mix of customers: some edgy student types - doubtless from nearby Goldsmiths University - a few couples, a large family group and even a friendly dog by the bar. It’s hard to identify who the target demographic is. You’d be happy on a date, drinking with friends or dining with family, and that’s nothing but a triumph.
Food is quite a main event at Jam Circus. The menu is interesting and has a good selection of dishes, all reasonably priced. Options change regularly and they make a point of trying to use local ingredients where possible. Pop in for a light bite of scrambled free range eggs on toast for just £3.90 (plus £1 with salmon, 50p for bacon, or 50p for mushrooms), or share a whole baked camembert, bread & cranberry sauce (£5.90). For a heartier affair, meat lovers can opt for the 8oz rib-eye steak, potato wedges, pan-fried cherry tomatoes and horseradish sauce (£12.90), or equally delicious vegetarian options are available such as the sweet potato, spinach & chickpea curry, rice & Greek yoghurt (£6.90).
There is a really good, quirky selection of drinks available as standard and Jam Circus also makes an effort to promote seasonal specials - in autumn, the Hot Rum is available for £3.90 and would make a perfect drink to sip on while cosying up in one of the large arm chairs. Lager and cider are available on tap and there’s also a good selection of around ten bottled beers. A good mix of spirits are available (£5 a house double) and there’s a comprehensive wine list (from £14.30 a bottle) stocking the shelves. There are also some more unusual finds such as orange and ginger Rekorderlig.
The Last Word
A perfect place to cosy up in the colder months, enjoy the liqueur coffees and soak up the chilled south east London vibe. Jam Circus outstrips the local competition by a mile and could easily give more ideally located places a run for their money.