Until I moved to London I took a ‘good pub’ for granted. They just pop up in the countryside, in the middle of nowhere, fire roaring, service friendly. Somehow London has managed to take the pub and turn them into soul-less tourist drinking traps; serving the same drinks with the same sticky menus and leaving you longing for the long-lost traditional pub atmosphere.
When my friend Jamie arranged a catch-up at the Culpeper I was introduced to perhaps my new favourite hang out. The bright open space is filled with the smell of fresh wood fires. Something I oh-so miss since moving away from my country home. The bar area is filled with all variety of non-generic beers and spirits. Plants adorn every surface, their greenery providing the colour against the rustic wooden background.
Despite having never been before the staff were more than friendly, I didn’t feel like a consumer in a money-making establishment. I felt like a local.
I sat down in a well-worn armchair, a glass of rose in hand, waiting for Jamie to arrive. One of my pet hates is being served wine in a thick-rimmed cheap wine glass, so I smiled as I took a sip from my beautifully thin and elegant vessel. If I’m going to spend money to enjoy a glass of wine, the glass has as much to play in my experience as the wine itself. Don’t you agree?
Everything about this pub is pleasing to the eye, yet remains simplistic and uncomplicated. The pub has combined a traditional environment with a refined experience at a very reasonable price. At 5 pm Jamie arrived and we made our way to the roof garden.
Up and up we climbed, through the restaurant level, rooms, and finally the terrace. The rooftop bar is set in a greenhouse, all manner of vegetables and leaves were growing here to be used in the day’s dishes. We sat outside, enjoying the mild evening.
As we spoke my senses were suddenly awakened as the wood fire was lit in the greenhouse; over which the Cumberland sausages, steak and fish were to be cooked. The smell of a wood fire is up there with my greatest pleasures in life and for a moment I was not on a roof-top in East-London but instead in my childhood home soaking up the warmth by the fire.
We didn’t stop to eat but watched all manner of delicious looking plates make their way to hungry diners.
I’m afraid the rooftop terrace is now closed for winter, we visited on one of the last open days. However, to enjoy the bar, the food and the ambience head to the Culpeper for an evening you won’t forget.