Nestled in behind Southwark underground station sits a real treat of a watering hole named Jack’s Lounge. Part of the Windmill Taverns group, this bar is something of a tribute:
The original Jack’s was opened in Ireland in 1970 by their father Jack (now sunning himself in Spain) so the boys decided to pay tribute to their father by re-opening the original almost forty years on.
Isabella Street runs along the railway arches and has a group of boutique-y (and chain) restaurants mainly serving the professional folk from the area, but Jack’s Lounge is the standout amongst them. With a slight hipster feel, a front terrace and a huge open area inside the bar (not to mention the beer selection) this is generally a chilled out but buzzing venue for a drink.
Jack’s Lounge selection
The tap selection isn’t hugely impressive. Amongst the premium lagers there’s a few more flavourful brews on tap. Meantime London Pale and London Lager were very prominent the last time I popped in, as was USA Hells and I believe they may have even had Punk IPA (though my memory is a touch fuzzy).
Where Jack’s Lounge really stands out, though, is in their bottle selection. It is everything a beer fan could wish for in terms of London craft beer (and a few from around the world).
This picture is from my last visit – the menu changes here and there every so often but you get a good idea of what they’ve got going on. As you can see at ~£5.00 a 330ml bottle this isn’t the cheapest place to go. But the environment, the selection and the crowd make it worth the extra expense. Pints on the other hand were between £3.50 – £4.00 (again, from hazy memory).
Talking of the environment, Jack’s Lounge has quite a unique sense of style and decor. From rustic picnic benches and little tables that wouldn’t be amiss down a backstreet in Paris outside, to the plush sofas paired with antique cabinets and ornaments inside against wood panelling and bare brick – this is a place with character.
Busy is good
The only downside to Jack’s Lounge is that it is popular, and rightly so. The problem with popularity, a dense population of thirsty workers and excellent transport links is that it gets busy. Really, really busy.
We tried to drop in with a good friend a couple of weeks ago, but it was so stacked that people had spilled out onto the pathway. There was no getting through, past or into Jack’s so instead, and with bitter disappointment, we went to Thai Silk next door. That, my friends, was a wasted trip. If you’re after a quiet drink, head down on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (no personal experience issues getting in then) and if you are looking for a Thursday or Friday night, get in early – before the masses descend, or you may well be waiting a while.