I’m taking interior design tips from Near & Far bar, a makeshift drinking zone inside multi-storey-carpark-turned-multi-sensory-playground Peckham Levels. It’s a tropical den basking in a pink neon glow, and where you don’t spy plants springing out from corners and hanging from the ceiling, you’ll see a palm-leaf print papering the concrete walls or covering retro furniture. I’m half expecting a flamingo to peer out from behind the sofa. How have they managed to transform the sixth floor of a car park into Club Tropicana?
In the centre of it all is an island bar with a weird cocktail menu. The drinks list is laid out as a consignment form with ingredients for each drink listed under ‘import’ and ‘export’ columns to complicate your order. This laboured theme doesn’t gel with the setting, but prices fit the area with cocktails starting at £6.50 for an Emergency Brexit (vermouth, Campari, orange gin, cucumber and thyme). All classics are available upon request so I skipped the bureaucracy and asked for a manhattan, which was decent-enough, although a bit rough around the edges and missing the best part – the cherry at the end.
It was a buzzy little space, though, despite the winter chill, so I can only imagine Near & Far being a number one destination in the summer months – when Peckhamites can have a getaway without packing their passport. Good luck getting through customs, though.