Jam Circus, Brockley Road

BC review to follow. Please leave your comments below.

51 comments:

Headhunter said...

Always had a good time here. Prices may be higher than at The Barge and other such local establishments, but it's a comfortable place to be. The staff are always helpful bordering on charming. I have never eaten there though.

b. said...

eaten there a couple of times and never been massively impressed by the food (for it's price). however, i must say the atmosphere normally makes it worthwhile.

it always seems pretty empty though, even on a fri/sat night. that suits me to the bone, but makes me wonder where all the brocker crowd are hanging out - is there a crowd?

Headhunter said...

The 20 something/early 30s going-out-every-weekend crowd in Brockers is probably out for drinks with work on Fri in central London, followed perhaps by mtg friends for a couple (also in central London). Sat night they probably meet friends, again in central London, or head to areas like Clapham etc where there're are quite a few drinking holes to go to. Brockers is fine for a quiet-ish drink at a local, but it's not exactly a destination yet. I barely ever manage to drag friends of mine to bars in Brockers - not through lack of trying I add....

Anonymous said...

I really love this place and rate it as the best place (so far..) for a drink or lunch in Brockley. The atmosphere is nice and the decor quirky and indivdual - it doesn't pretend to be a gourmet restaurant, and if you want a pannini and chips or a good brunch this is the place to go. It's quite a bit cheaper than drinking after work in Central London I should add, I'm 26 work in Central London and often spend my Friday nights here (less hassle to stagger home afterwards)

Tom said...

I like it but it could do with having a stronger identity (maybe just like Brockley itself). I don't really know what kind of place it is, or who goes there, even when I am there.

As such - and I know the owner is keen on the area - maybe it would be an idea to strengthen the pub's local profile/identity? Or at least find a defining characteristic of some kind.

Anonymous said...

I really like Jam Circus and the Sunday roasts are great. This place is the closest thing that Brockley has to a decent bar, which is pretty hard to believe.

I really hate to change the topic and all, but I feel that this is something overdue for debate. Do other people think that Brockley is rubbish to go out? In fact do people in Brockley actually go out or do they just drink coffee and eat organic food?

I am 29 and have lived here for 2 years and only WISH i could go out on a Friday/Saturday somewhere in Brockley but the cool looking places like Jam Circus or Moonbows are generally dead. I really think the area needs a decent pub/bar type of place which has a 'Saturday night' athmosphere i.e some dance music in the background, maybe live bands etc... to draw in the twenty somethings who have money to spend but no where to do it.

The only time i have seen weekend life here was the week of the BMAX festival when Moonbows was jammed every night, so me and my mates went down - 4 nights in a row! Not good for the head or wallet but felt like living in a buzzing little suburb for the week. Alas I think i have only been back there once in the 8 months since the BMAX as its just too quiet at night and not really my scene during the day.

I work in the West End and generally have to either go out there after work or come home, change, and cab it to Blackheath/Greenwich as there's nowhere decent in Brockers. I would love my mates from those areas to come to Brockley for a session but where could we go that has any life or isnt full of degenerates? (By the way i am not some yuppie snob, I do often drink in Wetherspoon bars cos they are cheap but i am sorry, the one in SE4 is full of nuts, even by my low standards).

I reckon there is a serious gap in the market in Brockley for a proper drinking hole aimed to the twenty/thirtysomething market with music be it DJ or bands... Until somewhere decent does open here I guess us young singletons will have to continue to socialize elsewhere (like New Cross, Blackheath, Greenwich, London etc...) but I cant wait for the day i can spend my spondoolies locally and stagger back up St. Margarets at 2am, burger and chips in hand...maybe 2010 will bring us a decent bar as well as the much anticpated tube, i know which i would use more ;)..heres to hoping!

Anonymous said...

Try Bar Equal in Honor Oak www.barequal.com Been there a couple of times after a night at the Rivoli and Jam Circus. Its open to 3.30 or 4am, has a DJ and is like a tiny club. There's a cab office next door which only costs a fiver to get home.
Moira

b. said...

i wonder if all the 20/30 somethings in brockley have just posted on this comment wall - if so, bar owners beware, DONT OPEN A BAR.

on the otherhand, there does seem to be enthusiasm for a bit of night life. I know for us (me and gf, 25) it would be a pleasure to be able to go on a big night locally. the closest we get to that now is East Dulwich, which is a good night out - but it would be nice to have a bar locally with the same sort of 'packed' atmosphere on the weekends.

since JC is the closest thing we have, lets see more people there - do they have music? normally I'm a bit too wrecked when i arrive to know.

b. said...

seen bar equal but never seen anyone in it - does it do well later?

Anonymous said...

You might be right about the lack of twenty somethings in the area "b". Maybe we are alone in wanting a bit of craic in old Brockers.

I am with ya on East Dulwich though its cool. I have tried Bar Equal once but it was empty on a Saturday night. That was during the BMAX in fact after Moonbows kicked us out at 1am.

Its a shame as from the outside it looks promising. Maybe i'll give it another try.

Perhaps Brockley Central could run a review of it and we'll see if anyone can tell us something about it or when is best to go etc...?

b. said...

ahhh - the good old BC reviews. loving them so far i must say.

didnt know there were other irish in the area - thought with so many paddy's around drinking holes would out number chicken shops.

Headhunter said...

Having said what I said, I like living in a fairly quiet suburb. Used to live on Upper Street and the temptation to spend loads was always there. Also the road was always swilling with p*ssed people in the evenings. However it's always nice to have a few good places locally

Anonymous said...

Yeah, us Paddys are lurking everywhere. We are secretly trying to take over the world..but ssshh dont tell anyone ;)

Dont worry Headhunter there's no fear of Brockley turning into Ibiza just yet - I agree with you though. a few local places for the occasional embarassing night out would be simply spiffing!

Maybe one of these BC drinks evenings which I sometimes read about could be arranged for Bar Equal; the organizers could post a few photos of the bloggers pulling their best shapes on the dancefloor....or pulling each other on the dancefloor..:)

newbie said...

@headhunter, i agree - maybe i'm showing my age, having fairly recently passed from the 20-something to the 30-something bracket -- but it is a sheer joy to be able to get home late / get out early on fri/sat/sundays without having to pick my way through piles of vomit. As i used to in my younger years, in greenwich. i'm much happier making my way to new cross or greenwich & back for my nights out, & enjoying a bit of distance from it all the next morning.

b. said...

haha, bloggers on the dance floor. a little like murder, only less fun.

yeah, BC drinks... sounds like a mess.

newbie said...

BAck to the JC: if i had one thing to suggest to the management there, it woudl be to revise their choice of bread. this isn't something i have ever singled out for comment before, but both the club sandwich and the burgers let me down with tasteless white awful bread. (a burger deserves a proper bun! not a bappy type thing). a little attention to this would bring us back for meals.. as it stands, having been disappointed a couple of times, i just stick to the massive potato wedges.

Overall - atmosphere, service, drinks - the place gets a massive thumbs up though, its a trailblazer for the area as far as i'm concerned, & long may it continue.

b. said...

BIG agreement on the bread - i had both of the above and was well let down by the roll.

never thought life would come to talking about roll quality. oh well.

Anonymous said...

JC is a worthy addition to the area (shudder at memory of when I first moved to Brockers and it didn't exist- things were certainly bleaker then!) It shines on an otherwise unappealing sarf east London high street. I'm poss a half way house between most of these comments - I prob have a big drunken dancing night out (sadly never in Brockers, as has already been pointed out there is no where to do this!) about once every 6-8 wks and the rest of the time I'm happy for a couple of drinks then home. I think Brockley could get away with a few more lively bars etc before it becomes in danger of being puke ridden though! And anyway, personally I would rather have a bit of rowdy-ness from mid-late 20 somethings who work hard all work and want to let their hair down spilling out of local bars than any dodgy looking characters, that erm, well probably don't work hard all week and want to try and flog me drugs (well OK I admit I was in Peckham the last time that happened - also got called a slag by a different 'child ' for walking along minding my own business- lovely! LAst time I go to Bar Story) Bet the new tea factory residents will be looking for a gd bar like JC, and may help to tip the balance to make Brockley a bit more 'happening' in terms of nightlife (ooh sound like my nan) rather than increasing cafes/delis

Ed said...

Been to JC a few times with friends from Honor Oak and the conservation area and here is my brief view: Good decor, relaxed feel, charming staff and good food. I hope it doesn't get so popular it becomes like the bars on Clapham high street overflowing with generic drunken (insert preferred term of abuse for new Claphamites here)...

P.S. I grew up in Clapham in the 80s so reserve the right to hold such views.

Richard said...

Thank you to everybody for their comments so far, it's especially nice to read the positives!

I'll write something a little more detailed in the near future but I thought I would just let you know that Jam Circus is currently undergoing a change of management of sorts.

Our manager also runs the Royal Albert in New Cross and as of Monday will be working solely in that pub.

In the meantime I will be acting general manager (currently deputy manager) and naturally will be applying for the job full-time.

I will be looking to maintain Jam Circus' current high standards but will also be making some changes, and in the process I promise to take on board everything that has been mentioned on here.

As I say, more to come soon, but for now it's a matter of watch this space.

If anybody would like to be put on our mailing list please let me know (our January email goes out today).

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is time to give Jam CIrcus another chance. I frequented the place in the first months of its opening. Sadly it seemed to have inherited the patronage of some of the local characters who used to frequent the Alpha club which formerly occupied the same site.

Any bar has to decide the type of customer it wishes to attract and it takes careful management to ensure that happens. Attract the wrong type of customer and it can ruin a business.
There are things I like about the Jam Circus, the staff are generally quite charming and the decor is stylish. I don't much care about prices and I like a place where I can get a decent meal. The food is good, but one thing really did annoy me put me off going. I got there before ten, ordered a burger and waited with my pint. Ten minutes later an apologetic member of staff came up and gave me money back telling me the kitchen had closed. I could almost taste it. I was livid. Such Fawltyesque confusion between the bar and the kitchen deprived me of my dinner. This was a few months ago and it really put me off. Hopefully things have improved.

bobfrombrockley said...

The last anonymous says:
"Maybe it is time to give Jam CIrcus another chance. I frequented the place in the first months of its opening. Sadly it seemed to have inherited the patronage of some of the local characters who used to frequent the Alpha club which formerly occupied the same site. Any bar has to decide the type of customer it wishes to attract and it takes careful management to ensure that happens. Attract the wrong type of customer and it can ruin a business."

I completely disagree with this, of course! What offence do these folks cause you? Is it so distasteful to sit near the plebs? There's no violence or rowdiness, or anything like that: just ordinary people minding their own business.

Doing something to keep these people out does not make business sense - reaching out to audiences/markets should be based on being positive about something new, not excluding something old.

For me, the Jam Circus has experienced something of a revival since the smoking ban. Although it is maybe a little quieter now, it is still quite buzzy, with a really nice crowd, and you can breathe.

Anonymous said...

If the rumours are true that the Brockley Jack will closed for renovation for several weeks shortly. Then I daresay the regulars will be looking for a new watering hole and the Jam Circus is about to get much livelier.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the Alpha club had reputation as the haunt of criminals and it closed after someone was murdered outside. Some seriously dodgy people live in this area and it is not so much a question of social snobbery as self preservation to avoid sharing the same social space.

spincat said...

Brockley, of course, is full of murderers and people who do goodness knows what - lets all avoid places that looks a bit downmarket in case one of those is lurking in there.

Luke said...

20somethings night out?

Amersham Arms in New Cross.

Ace line up of new, upcoming and classic bands/DJs. Very studenty, but cheap and a quick walk home...

nitoda said...

I go to Jam Circus once a month for a knitting circle meeting - we meet in the back and it's fairly comfortable though there are some issues about the lighting levels. I haven't eaten there. I'm not very imaginative when it comes to choosing drinks; a cocktail menu including some nice non-alcoholic drinks would be nice to see.

spincat said...

There doesn't seem to be anywhere for smokers to go - I mean, tables outside; so I don't go.

Anonymous said...

There are tables outside. When was the last time you went there Spincat?

Richard said...

Right, I'll try my best to respond to everything above!

Food - new menu on the way, almost certainly with a couple of curries from our Caribbean chef. Plenty of things being hammered out on this front, including bread! We changed baker a while ago, not being happy with quality, and I admit our new baker is not rocking our world right now. Suggestions welcome.

Music, DJS, etc - I am looking into occassional DJ & live music nights for livelier Fridays and Saturdays. If anybody is interested in playing or has any comments please let me know.

Smoking area - I'm afraid we're restricted to the tables at the front, but I promise there is a canopy on the way.

Cocktails - We are actually just finalising a cocktail menu. It will be a short-ish list of classics, as I am never impressed when a non-cocktail bar tries and fails to mess around with the originals. Non-alcoholic cocktails are likely too.

To those who haven't been here for some time, I suggest you pop down, there have been plenty of changes.

The next few weeks will be crazy for me as we re-jig the place and set out the Jam Circus stall for 2008, but I will do my best to update BC on all the goings on.

spincat said...

Re the smoking tables: yes, it has been a while since I have been there and I only went once - simply cos I felt it 'wasn't my sort of place' (I had wanted an morning expresso without the accompaniment of loud dance music).

It is a lesson to me in what prejudice does to your senses cos no, I hadn't seen tables out front when walking past.
It was very nice not to get a sactimonious reply about smoking from Richard and to hear they'll get a canopy - thank you. I don't actually smoke much and am happy to sepnd an evening without it, but it is the feling that I can have one if I want that is important. So will try again.

spincat said...

.... also impressed by what you say about the coctails

Spincat

spincat said...

PPS: sorry about the typos, I can spell, it just early morning..

Anonymous said...

Ayres the bakers in Nunhead!

Pete said...

Are you Mr or Mrs Ayres?

Anonymous said...

I'm particularly interested in the curries from your Caribbean chef. It makes sense to play to your strengths and this food is healthy, delicious and very digestible.

Anonymous said...

I'm not Mr or Mrs Ayres - the bakery just happens to be the best in SE London. Try it.

Richard said...

Thank you for suggesting Ayre's, I have emailed them to ask if they sell wholesale by delivery, although there is no mention of it on their site.

As for curries, if we are to sell them one thing we need to decide is whether or not to serve the chicken on the bone (wings & thighs). I can vouch for a better taste on the bone, and this is how our chef would make it at home, but we need to decide if Brockley pub customers are keen!

More to come...

newbie said...

A comment/suggestion on the JC menu: don't forget your vegetarian clientele. I know you do have veggie options, but these can feel like a bit of an afterthought. Esp when it comes to re-using the same ingredients in multiple dishes (veg sausage - in the club sandwich?). The key to making vegetarians feel loved is: put together a set of options that a) work well together, and b) that will seriously tempt the meat-eaters as well. I've never encountered a carnivore who could be swayed by defrosted veg sausages. Some of your better examples are, from memory: the goats cheese salad, the humous - when you have it in stock, and the potato wedges (I've mentioned the issue with the burger buns above). Not a terribly cohesive meal when you put it all together. I'm intruiged to see what you will come up with on the curry front, for veggies.

lets see if any other readers back me up. veggie girl, where are you?

Brockley Nick said...

Newbie, my wife is a vegetarian and heartily agreed with everything you just said.

Richard said...

Newbie - I see your point and I we will look to please the veggies out there (we always seem to have a lot of vegetarian staff as it happens). We haven't yet cooked what would be our vegetarian curry, but my chef has made me one with potato and chick peas in the past, which was lovely.

The veggie club sandwich is inherited from the original manager and has always been very popular - a mainstay along with the carnivore version!

We do sell a (popular) roasted vegetable, grilled halloumi & pesto salad. We also do a spiced butternut squash soup - admittedly not a main course, but certainly a filling vegetarian meal.

Richard said...

Ayre's have a minimum wholesale order of £300! They look like a very nice bakery though

Richard said...

newbie, vegetarian options - I hope you'll be pleased to know the chick pea & potato curry is now on the menu, complete with mango & cucumber chutney.

We've made a few other changes (including a feta, pine nut & beetroot salad), with a few more to come - we're looking at alternatives to the veggie club sandwich at the moment.

Tyrwhitt B said...

I would love to know how or where can I buy a copy of that fantastic picture in Jam Circus with lots of brockley signs...

Headhunter said...

They were selling those signs at a church bazaar/fete thing in St Andrews on Wickham Rd a couple of years ago. I think they were £80 a pop. They also sold cards with it on the front. Not sure sure how to get hold of the seller though. Why not just make your own?

Sue said...

Caro Swan does the Brockley signs photos.

Tyrwhitt B said...

Headhunter: Many thanks for the info, I would love to be artistic, unfortunately I am not a great photographer... you volunteering? ;)

Tyrwhitt B said...

Many thanks Sue!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Somewhere I have noticed a similar theme, OK

Maria said...

nice post

Maria said...

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