Nigel Kennedy and mezzo Joyce DiDonato will be starting us off with a new piece by Anna Clyne and a performance of Vaughan Williams’s ‘Lark Ascending’ before the flag-waving buffoons elbow their way down to the front and go mental to ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ and the routinely misunderstood socialist anthem ‘Jerusalem’. Keep calm and carry on.
You know those Shoreditch bars that have undergone a costly makeover to look so deliberately dump-like, it just seems desperate? They’re everything Bar Story is not. This rough-around-the-edges dive bar tucked beneath Peckham Rye station doesn’t care about pretence, and that’s what makes it so damn great. It’s not the biggest of boozers and the loos are a bit ramshackle, but boy, has this place got atmosphere. The spacious outdoor seating areas make it – I’d imagine – an ideal spot for alfresco drinking when the sun’s out. That said, when we visited, cosy indoors environs filled with candles and low-lit lamps made it a welcome shelter from the snow. Cocktails are the main event, and I was piddled after just two of them. A Hemingway daquiri packed a fruity punch, while a whisky sour was refreshing and bitter-sweet. They’re modestly priced between £6 and £8, or go between 6pm and 7pm and you’ll snap up an extra drink for £2. Warm, freshly baked sourdough with olives and hummus was pretty tasty, but I had my eye on the thin-crust pizzas being devoured by other punters – a steal at no more than £9 each. Be warned though: service is slow and happy hour queues assemble quickly. It’s not much to look at, but Bar Story is trendy without being stuck up, and its charm has clearly made it a go-to haunt for locals. If you’re after booze, a buzz and a distinct lack of the posers you may get in other parts of town, this is a great place to start.