South London’s Cult Rooftop Hangout Is Back For Summer 2022 • Frank’s Cafe

The spiritual home of sunset Negronis, and boasting the staircase that launched a thousand Instagrams, Frank’s Cafe in Peckham is a smashing summer spot. And finally, they’ve revealed that the cult rooftop will reopen to the public on Friday May 20, just in time to catch some proper sunny weather.

When Frank’s Café first opened a decade ago, it seemed like a bit of a punt. Believe it or not, back in 2009, inviting punters up a piss-stained stairwell to the top of a multi-storey carpark in Peckham didn’t necessarily scream ‘bang on-trend.’ But the drinks were great, the views epic, and the space expansive, and soon enough Frank Boxer and the Bold Tendencies crew had a bit of a hit on their hands. The rest, as they say, is history.

While rival rooftop bars play to the masses with crazy golf and street food stalls, Frank’s has stayed to true to its left-field roots. The bar is just one part of the Bold Tendencies art gallery (in fact, when it opened, the wooden structure was considered an artwork itself, and won an architecture prize.)

That means a whole cluster site-specific installations to appreciate, like Richard Wentworth’s snaking, silvery ‘Agora’, which still graces the rooftop floor, and a variety of other sculptures, including a few new ones for 2021, including works by Rebecca Ackroyd, Harold Offeh, Frances Drayson, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. A programme of exciting live events is expected to begin on June 17, though details are still to be confirmed.

The rooftop lit up at night at Frank's Cafe in Peckham
Photo: @boldtendencies

You can expect the food to be on point, too – this is restaurant-quality cooking, with proper table service and everything. Menus change from year to year, but expect Mediterranean-influenced small plates – previous dishes have included sea bream ceviche, jerk pork and coleslaw, mussels with chorizo, leeks and chips, grilled courgettes and smashed avo brunches, to name but a few.

As you may have already guessed, the sunsets are pretty bloody special, too.

And of course, any write-up of Frank’s just has to mention THAT staircase:

The pink stairs on the way up to Frank's Cafe in Peckham
Photo: @boldtendencies

The unadorned and unpleasantly aromatic stairwell was given a fresh lick of paint – well, more than a lick, if we’re honest – by Simon Whybray, back in 2016, and it will never leave Instagram ever. And we’re totally fine with that, to be honest.

With the full complement of Peckham Levels’ bars and restaurants on the lower floors, a rendezvous at Frank’s Cafe now comes with a handy Plan B if the weather betrays you. To be Frank, it’s a must-visit for any trendy south Londoner’s summer.

Location: Bold Tendencies, 7th-10th Floor Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Ln, SE15 4ST. Nearest station is Peckham Rye. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 11am-11pm, Thursday to Sunday from Friday May 20 2022.
Price: entry is free, and open for walk-ins on a first come, first served basis.
More information: visit their website.

Also published on Medium.