Brockley Jon writes:
It's taken me a week to get round to writing about a night out I had in Hopscotch cafe last weekend. Coming back from town we thought we'd pop in for a quick drink, and intrigued by the band setting up, thought we'd stay to see what happened. This wasn't our first evening in Hopscotch, but it was the first time we'd been when they had live music on, so I was keen to see how it worked as a live venue.
Hopscotch has quietly built a decent reputation for itself in Honor Oak, firstly as a cafe, but also increasingly as a place to go for a drink in the evening, with live music every Saturday. Trying to be both daytime child-friendly cafe and an evening destination is tricky though, and decor-wise I think there is some room for improvement. It's still a bit too safe, and could take some styling queues from any Antic pub in the area. The flashing fairy lights in the window don't say grown-up to me, and my biggest grumble would be the TV screen (showing music TV) at the back, which is unnecessary and cheapens the look overall.
While it's far from a pub, they do have a bar, and they have draught lagers (Amstel & Budwar). If ales are your thing, then they have a way to go, as there's a fairly uninspiring selection available by the bottle (think Old Speckled Hen, Bishop's Finger) served at room temperature. They do have Guinness on tap if my memory serves me right.
In the evening the hot food option is soup or a burger. No shame in that - a burger can make a place if they're done well, and I'm please to report they were. I don't think people will be traipsing from far and wide in the same way they did at the MeatEasy, but it was homemade, tasted good and there were enough varieties to keep everyone happy (they also have a happy hour in the early evening when it's 2 for 1).
The band in question were The Hitmen. A group of local musicians, with a clear love of blues & soul and the added bonus of a proper brass section. They belted out hits ranging from Glen Campbell to Stevie Wonder via Bowie and The Stones, all with a twist. They may have been a cover band but it's a long time since I've heard guitar skills like that, with some proper rocking moments even with the fairly mature punters in Hopscotch! Speaking of which, it seemed like the band had brought a lot of their own crowd, which made for a great atmosphere, with the place full to bursting and virtually everyone on their feet by the end of the night. According to Felix from The Hitmen they have a Facebook page, but I'm damned if I can find it, so maybe he'll find this and tell us all where it is
I really hope Hopscotch are doing okay in the evenings, as they're a valuable addition to the small but perfectly formed Honor Oak high street, and the only option for live music in the area. With the empty Old Bank next door being a prime spot for a decent restaurant, Hopscotch could happily become the default after-dinner drinking spot, and could maybe carve a niche for itself in the same way Moonbow Jakes did, many moons ago (ha!) on Brockley Road. I wish them well, and will be back soon.
This review has also been posted to the Honor Oak forum.
Brockley Jon writes: