Drinking at the Old Spike Roastery isn’t just good for your morning kick – it’s also good for your soul. The cafe/wholesalers not only specialises in coffee that rotates according to the seasons, but it also focuses on providing training, jobs and housing to homeless people looking for that all-important helping hand.
The angular colours of the Peckham Levels stairwell is an Instagram favourite (with extra kudos if you manage to get a Myspace-style selfie in the corner quarter dome mirrors). When the weather’s being particularly kooky with a colourful sunset or some low-lying fog, the best Instagram snaps can be taken at Peckham Rye Park – get snap happy with the park’s array of formal gardens, open woodland and its very own lake.
Colourful in décor and in flavour, the little cafe inside Peckham’s Iranian delicatessen Persepolis never fails to please. With vegetarian interpretations of both Levantine and Iranian meals, this cafe is a local favourite that serves up everything from meze to cardamom latte. And don’t worry if you fall in love with something – the cafe’s shop will keep you stocked up in both handicrafts and ingredients! 2 Girls’ Cafe is another independent gem, serving up vegan and vegetarian breakfasts, lunch and cakes in snug, homely surroundings.
Climbing three places on the Hip Hangout ladder since last year’s ranking, it’s not hard to see why Peckham remains a neighbourhood favourite. It’s still a popular spot for students and new graduates looking to keep one foot in the central London rat race, and another in a spot that’s famed for its bohemian community feel. That’s a reputation it’s retained since at least the 18th century, when it started becoming more and more popular for Londoners who wanted to escape the increasingly pricey rents of the capital. Today, Peckham is a hotbed of multiculturalism, ushering a hubbub of ethnic groups into its SE15 postcode.
While many tourists will still flock to nearby Shoreditch for the bushy beards and craft ales, locals know that the best way to guarantee a hip and happening experience is actually via a 19-minute journey on the Overground line to Peckham. The neighbourhood has dusted off its rough and ready reputation associated with the likes of Only Fools and Horses and become a centre for the arts. Head to Rye Lane to be at the centre of all things creative, with various cafes, independent shops and galleries just metres away in all directions. There’s Bar Story, a local favourite underneath the arches of Peckham Rye station, which rustles up cocktails in an environment imbued with rustic, artistic charm. And round the back there’s the Sassoon Gallery, which alternates film nights with live music and DJ sets.
Saved from demolition in 2009, the Bussey Building is a 19th century factory which sits on the Copeland Park site. It’s where the CLF (Chronic Love Foundation) Art Cafe can be found, which stages shows on a monthly basis, as well as gigs and the twice-monthly South London Soul Train. Elsewhere, the Bussey Building is also home to over 60 small studio spaces for local creatives. There’s space for everyone from photographers to carpenters, via graphic designers and traditional painters.