A new bar! In Deptford! 10 minutes walk from my front door! I am inordinately excited; there’s a bit of a dearth of decent drinking places round my way – not surprising considering I only drink cocktails (this makes me sound fancy, but I assure you a cocktail to me can constitute a shot of port in a pint of blue WKD; delicious incidentally). The launch was a few weeks ago and in the run up to opening night the Facebook page ran a stream of teasers about vintage-ly priced booze, cocktails served in teapots (I can’t believe I never thought of this before) cakes and mysterious hints about welcoming us into their “Nan’s front room”. All very appealing and worth a look, especially if it was indeed someone’s front parlour.
So along Mr Abi and I went for an exploratory snifter. The auspices were not good when we found number 46; a grubby blue door with an old Tory party logo above it; I became concerned for my Guardian reading credentials but the mister dragged me inside and after trotting along a dank passageway we did indeed end up in the eponymous Little Nan’s.
And it’s all a little bit bonkers – like a living room circa 1982, with the whiff of a staunch monarchist about it. The interior design alone is worth a visit: lots of cool/naff wallpaper (Pierrot missing Columbine), large teddy bears, mix and match chairs and tables in a variety of rich fabrics, heavy curtains, false drop ceiling with added flock, and lampshades aplenty. The bar is a delightfully easygoing affair behind three massive picture frames, the barman chatting happily and serving up mugs, teacups and teapots of cocktails with names like Duchess Kate and Prince Harry. I was rather taken with the Paddy Ashdown – an extremely drinkable mix of Rum, Midori and ginger beer. Cheap too – at £4 a pop they went down super easy.
You can play games like Kerplunk, choose the music you want (the sound system is endearingly lo-fi: an old record player in the corner with a pile of vinyl beside it; we like the BeeGees), and nibble on cakes and cheese straws. It all a bit odd but after a few mugs of goodness knows what, but it has potential to be a lot of fun. The postage stamp size of the room means it’s very cosy-close so I recommend going with a gaggle of friends to recreate that front room vibe and avoid feeling like you’ve gatecrashed your mum’s coffee morning.
It’s all the brainchild of local chap Tristan Scutt. And Little Nan’s is indeed inspired by his nan and, as he puts it, “her constant obsession to make people happy”. He worked with interior designer and artist Matt Sargent to come up with the interior: “we wanted to give it that ‘nan’ vibe, but with a modern twist…we are defiantly NOT going for shabby chic, more for shabby splendour. My nan didn’t drink out of jam jars or have beaten up furniture in her house, so you will not find this in Little Nan’s bar!”
“Many of the products we sell are her own old recipes,” continues Matt. “She passed away aged 104, so she had many, which she only gave to me and my mum. Her 103-year-old recipe for hot spiced mulled apple juice is our signature drink.”
I don’t think I’ve heard a more lovely reason for starting up a bar, and Tristan promises to release a new recipe of his nan’s each month. I can’t wait…
Little Nan’s is open Thursday-Saturday 5pm-11pm.
Words & photography (except main image): Abi Zakarian