Last week was one of my closest girlfriends birthday, as one of my more cool and edgy friends there was a lot of pressure put on her to choose a fitting venue for the occasion. She’s fun to pressurise. I find that the older I get the more amusing I find it to wind people up, perhaps this is just a psychological response to growing older and wishing I wasn’t. I’ve known Sophie for a good five years now, she was literally the first person I saw around my halls of residence in Oxford 2010 and I remember thinking, she’s dressed so well – I hope we become friends. Later that evening we bumped into each other in the student bar, Morals, and she hasn’t been able to get rid of me since.
So she chose Elephant & Castle – which, by day, I have to say is one of my least favourite places in London but by night, it actually pulled it out the bag. Following my overdue welcome drinks at work, I made my way to the pop up venue ‘The Paperworks‘ on my own – only a 5/10 minute walk from the station.
Inside was I guess what you’d expect from a fancy beer garden, it reminded me a lot of The Big Society, Oxford, but with more lawn chairs, fairy lights and general charm. It wasn’t too hectic either, whenever I visit somewhere in London I just anticipate the large crowds and pushing and shoving but there was none of that here. Everyone was in their little groups huddled around the makeshift fires scattered around and generally being cheerful human beings. Pretty much the way everyone acts when it’s summer. It was like previewing a snippet of summer.
There were food, cocktail and beer stalls at decent prices. From what I remember, there was only one food stall, serving hot dogs – but advertised them with authentic German titles. I ordered a cheese dog, starving, to find them handed me back a numbered ticket and telling me it’ll be around 15 minutes. In my inebriated state I couldn’t quite comprehend how a hot dog would take 15 minutes to cook, I mean how long does it take to boil a frankfurter?! But what I got was much better than expected. When I picked up my order, I was ready to scream when I saw no cheese in that thing – only to get told it was inside the sausage. This was a revelation for me, I had never heard of this before. Alcohol tastebuds aside, this thing was great. Pop up beer gardens, are the one.