Hopscotch cafe bar, Honor Oak Park - the SEC review!

Discussion in 'Honor Oak & Forest Hill' started by Brockley Jon, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Brockley Jon Admin

    It's taken me a week to get round to writing about a night out I had in Hopscotch cafe last weekend. Coming back from town we thought we'd pop in for a quick drink, and intrigued by the band setting up, thought we'd stay to see what happened. This wasn't our first evening in Hopscotch, but it was the first time we'd been when they had live music on, so I was keen to see how it worked as a live venue.

    Hopscotch has quietly built a decent reputation for itself in Honor Oak, firstly as a cafe, but also increasingly as a place to go for a drink in the evening, with live music every Saturday. Trying to be both daytime child-friendly cafe and an evening destination is tricky though, and decor-wise I think there is some room for improvement. It's still a bit too safe, and could take some styling queues from any Antic pub in the area. The flashing fairy lights in the window don't say grown-up to me, and my biggest grumble would be the TV screen (showing music TV) at the back, which is unnecessary and cheapens the look overall.

    While it's far from a pub, they do have a bar, and they have draught lagers (Amstel & Budwar). If ales are your thing, then they have a way to go, as there's a fairly uninspiring selection available by the bottle (think Old Speckled Hen, Bishop's Finger) served at room temperature. They do have Guinness on tap if my memory serves me right.

    In the evening the hot food option is soup or a burger. No shame in that - a burger can make a place if they're done well, and I'm please to report they were. I don't think people will be traipsing from far and wide in the same way they did at the MeatEasy, but it was homemade, tasted good and there were enough varieties to keep everyone happy (they also have a happy hour in the early evening when it's 2 for 1).

    The band in question were The Hitmen. A group of local musicians, with a clear love of blues & soul and the added bonus of a proper brass section. They belted out hits ranging from Glen Campbell to Stevie Wonder via Bowie and The Stones, all with a twist. They may have been a cover band but it's a long time since I've heard guitar skills like that, with some proper rocking moments even with the fairly mature punters in Hopscotch! Speaking of which, it seemed like the band had brought a lot of their own crowd, which made for a great atmosphere, with the place full to bursting and virtually everyone on their feet by the end of the night. According to Felix from The Hitmen they have a Facebook page, but I'm damned if I can find it, so maybe he'll find this and tell us all where it is :)

    I really hope Hopscotch are doing okay in the evenings, as they're a valuable addition to the small but perfectly formed Honor Oak high street, and the only option for live music in the area. With the empty Old Bank next door being a prime spot for a decent restaurant, Hopscotch could happily become the default after-dinner drinking spot, and could maybe carve a niche for itself in the same way Moonbow Jakes did, many moons ago (ha!) on Brockley Road. I wish them well, and will be back soon.
    SE15 Mick likes this.
  2. Brockley Jon Admin

    UPDATE:

    I've just checked the listings on their website, and jazz/hiphop singer Joanna Law is playing there this Friday (20th) - you might know better as that girl who Way Out West sampled on 'The Gift', and for the real trainspotters was featured on Coldcut's Journeys By DJ mix and also sampled on Slacker's 'Your Face'. A quick flick through Discogs reveals she sang vocals on the Space Brother's 'Shine' which was a bit of an anthem when I was cutting my clubbing teeth in the late 90s! It will be interesting to see how this all translates to Hopscotch, but I'm guessing her solo material is a bit more loungey. Maybe see you there :)
  3. Bluesman Respected Local

    We enjoy Hopscotch quite regularly, though that is with child with early bed time in tow so sadly cannot comment on the music offering.

    I would have to agree with most of the review - the burgers are good value, especially with 2 for 1 offer. There is a tendency, though, for tables to be reserved which feels a bit odd in a cafe.

    Agreed re TV screen, though that does have its uses if it shows cartoons when you have a small with you. I cannot think of any other use for it actually. Another cheapening affect, apart from the fairy lights, is the second hand green sofa and armchairs.

    They do serve Budvar on tap, which if you are after a continental style lager is hard to beat. Other than that, the beer offering has sadly gone downhill. They used to have Vedett in bottles, which I thought was a nice touch. They have Guinness but it is not on tap - it is the surger system from a can.

    I don't want to give a wholly negative impression though. Overall, Hopscotch is doing more right than wrong and is well worth a visit. Just some tweaks required.
    Brockley Jon likes this.
  4. Hit Man John Member

    Thanks for the mention! Our band The Hit Men UK are at Hopscotch again this Saturday Feb 4th and you can find us on Facebook under "The Hit Men UK".
  5. SE Steve Super-South-Easter

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