Once an unremarkable Southwark pub with a good jukebox, the Rose re-emerged in the summer of 2013 after a two-year closure and refurbishment, sporting a dashing new look – dark wood, bronze-topped tables and posh pork scratchings. The tunes, meanwhile, are gone altogether; other than the hum of unwinding office folk, the only sound you’ll hear is that of Dickens audiobooks in the loos downstairs. Speaking of spending pennies, be sure to check out the remarkable floor made of one- and two-pence pieces in the downstairs hallway – Instagram gold if ever we saw it.
Behind the bar, the Rose has all bases covered. Cocktails are of the hot-right-now pre-mixed and barrel-aged varieties, complete with a £9 price tag. Try the Snowsfields if you’re partial to a G&T – its blend of spirit, spiced orange liqueur and ownmade lemonade is the stuff idyllic British picnics are made of. For something stronger there’s a dedicated martini menu; cask ales and craft beers come from Red Squirrel, plus there are bottles from Beavertown, Kernel and the like.
The menu’s a daily changing bill of pub classics – four types of pickles and sausage rolls for salt-craving snackers, carb-centric platefuls for the famished. Puffy pies come served up in the now ubiquitous blue-rimmed enamelled dishes. Only the honey mustard chicken salad missed the mark; the tender, sweet meat struggling to hold its own against an over-abundance of peppery rocket.
So sod the Shard – this might be the best bit of regeneration we’ve seen of late in SE1.