Catering predominately to the trendier crowd in the New Cross area, The Walpole’s simple, hand-painted sign gives it the air of a pop-up pub, but with gourmet grub, DJs, coffee and wi-fi, it’s anything but ramshackle.
The large windows at the building’s front flood it with natural light and definitely make it seem inviting and unintimidating to the uninitiated. Inside, take your choice from sitting up at the bar or lolling on one of the sofas or tables dotted around the place. There’s also a smoker’s garden at the front, guarded by Perspex screens, with several large tables offering café-style dining/drinking as well as a handful of high bar stools for those just nipping out for a quick fag.
It’s got the comfy feel of someone’s front room rather than a trendy drinkerie, with ornaments (especially, for some unexplained reason, lots of stone tortoises), newspapers and books to take your pick from. The vibe is laid-back and delightfully lazy, even when it’s not been officially sanctioned on a proudly advertised ‘Lazy Sunday’. The smoker’s garden at the front, clearly favoured by some of the regulars, is a little louder and more boisterous, but still in keeping with the general mood of familiar calm.
Entertainment is not central to the pub’s appeal, but if you fancy giving your lungs a workout there is a karaoke night on Thursdays and on Fridays and Saturdays there are DJs playing old skool beats, soul and hip-hop from the DJ booth at the rear of the pub. Otherwise, the Sky Sports screen and free wi-fi access should provide enough of a diversion.
Surprisingly impressive given the pub’s pop-up appearance - the menu has evidently not been thrown together on the spot, with punters being given the pick of gourmet treats like lamb shank in red wine (£7.50), leg of pork (£6.50), vegetable tagine (£6.99), pesto chicken (£5.99) and lasagne verde (£5.99). In addition there’s a Thai menu and, on ‘Lazy Sunday’, a full Sunday roast.
The Walpole has set its bar prices slightly higher than some of the competition in the area - a half of Guinness costs £1.80, with the Carling, Kronenbourg etc on tap all priced around the same mark. For maximum value turn up between 6-8pm and enjoy the cocktails (£6) at a two-for-one rate, or club together with your mates and invest in a jug of Pimm’s (£12).
The Last Word
Trendy without trying too hard to be, The Walpole is the first of its kind in the area and appears to be doing everything right to bring in the students and artists of the area while not putting off the local residents. Pale imitations will no doubt be springing up all around it sometime very soon.