The Peckham Pelican is fast becoming one of my regular haunts. Situated along Peckham Road, between Peckham and Camberwell, this was the last place I expected to find a new indie café. The area itself is easily accessible as it sits on the main road along a number of major bus routes, and there is plenty of parking along some of the roads splitting off from Southampton Way (just opposite). As you walk through the door you’re hit with a warm atmosphere of mismatched wooden tables and chairs, benches and scatter cushions. The space inside is deceptively large, and towards the back of the café is a raised area with chintzy red leather sofas and a piano.
Before heading to order your drink one of the highlights is the “Jeremy Deller” mug wall – you’ll need to select your mug from a collection of novelty and plain designs before getting it filled with good old tea or coffee. Coffee snobs will need to leave your airs and graces outside - this isn’t a coffee bar, they serve filter coffee or filter coffee. During the day they also offer a selection of delicious cakes, ‘build your own’ bagel menu, and other light food such as homemade soup.
Expect to be surrounded by skinny jeans and gently whirring Apple MacBooks, the Peckham Pelican definitely attracts the artsy, hipster types - not surprising considering it’s just down the road from the Camberwell College of Arts. There is free wi-fi and power points aplenty, and the soft music playing in the background is not invasive at all, with the high ceilings creating an atmosphere perfectly conducive to working (including making phone calls), socialising, or simply curling up with a mug of tea and a good book. You don’t feel rushed to finish your drink and leave, the staff are friendly and the atmosphere inside is very relaxed.
As the day wears on this place really comes into its own, offering very reasonably priced beer, wine, cocktails and pizza. It starts to get a little busier in the evenings, and there are plenty of things going on, including live music, art exhibitions, once a month bookclub, Monday evening ‘Pelican Pictures’ dinner and a film, a DJ on Friday and Saturday evenings, and starting this year: Happy Hour on Tuesday – Friday from 5pm – 7pm.
All in all, this place is a fantastic all-rounder café/bar, covering all the bases. Prices are reasonable across the board, the atmosphere is suitable for work or social, décor is quirky and yet still cosy, free wi-fi and plugs are always a plus, and it’s nailed the day-to-night transition perfectly.