Living in outer West London (okay, okay, so I technically live in Bucks but there’s a Zone 6 tube station just up the road from me so I reeeally still live in London, right?), anyway, so, all this to say that Brixton isn’t exactly around the corner from me which only serves as a testament to how cool this place is that I would schlep across London and face the tube and being pickpocketed (yes this happened to me on the way there this Saturday but I have a habit of digressing so we’ll skip that part…) so let’s just say I would endure a lot to enjoy the many delights that Pop has to offer.
First is the location. Brixton, like many areas of London, has undergone a recent revival and now forms one of the many up-and-coming districts of London where the hipsters hang. However, unlike, Shoreditch which, let’s face it, has become a little big for its undoubtedly-overpriced-but-distressed-to-look-thrifted boots, Brixton still has a small-time feel to it which is refreshing.
As I meander through the little streets around the station, I stumble across many a market stall selling everything from costume jewellery and leather goods to fresh food, cooling coconut water and beautiful bouquets. Fishmongers lay next door to butchers' shops which give way to hair emporiums (yup hair, wigs, clip-ins, deep conditioners... you name it) and it all feels down-to-earth and rather humble.
I must admit that I do have a personal soft spot for Brixton because Caribbean culture is so prevalent here. Having lived in the suburbs for most of my life, I'll always find something super nostalgic about walking past an ethnic food shop and smelling the herbs and spices that used to waft through the house as my parent's cooked their Caribbean version of Sunday dinner (delicious chicken and fluffy, crispy spuds still, but with rice and peas, macaroni cheese and string beans to boot! As a 3rd generation Londoner I can't cook soul food to save my life you can understand why I'm determined to learn!). Regardless of ethnicity though, I believe that the vibrant culture of Brixton is one that everyone can and should enjoy.
Pop itself is in a great location within Brixton. A stone’s throw away from the Brixton tube station (Victoria Line), it’s easy to get to (even for ‘non-Londoners’ like me) as, once you finally emerge from the underground, you swing a right and a second right and you’re right there (pun not intended but left in for comic effect). And oh what a location it is... Don't let the kooky shipping containers fool you, this place holds a plethora of delights. From fantastic food and delicious drinks to vintage clothes and kitschy décor, Pop Brixton is a treat for all five of your senses.
One word of advice at Pop Brixton – come hungry. You will end up eating, regardless of what you might tell yourself beforehand (I found this out the hard way the first time I went). On the ground floor you’ll find all manner of foods stalls including Jamaican Jerk, Japanese ramen and dumplings (my personal fave, this stall is always swamped), German bratwurst, Japanese sushi, Bhangra BBQ (their words, not mine), French crepes (sweet and savoury, yes they do have Nutella) and the perfect stone-baked Italian pizza and those are just the places I can remember. Upstairs also hides a good old’ fish and chip shop and a curry house with indoor seating in case you’re just not feeling al fresco.
POP Brixton is open from 9am-11pm Sun-Weds and 9am-midnight Thur-Sat. During the day it’s buzzing with lunchtime loungers breaking up the working day with a tasty bite (and perhaps a cheeky bevvie) and after dark, it’s the number one place in the area to catch up with friends. At weekends you’ll also spot many a family splitting a stone-baked pizza and soaking up the atmosphere and on Friday and Saturday night it’s a great, sociable starting point for a night out.
Even now that the weather is cooling off I’ll still be headed to Pop Brixton to warm my cockles with a delicious bowl of flavoursome ramen followed by a warm, gooey, Nutella crepe (or three, who am I kidding?). I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the bars started serving mulled wine and with the pretty fairy lights strewn around decking it’ll make the cosiest winter hangout (I mean, we all love Winter Wonderland but there’s only so many times a season one can ruin one’s shoes trudging across Hyde
P.S. While I was snapping away at Pop Brixton on Saturday I was kindly invited over to the the Brixton Brewery just up the road for a nose. If you like beer it's definitely worth a visit! A cute little hole-in-the-wall type place that was bustling with a warm and friendly atmosphere. I've put more photos of that here on my Facebook page if you want to know more!
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