There are so many Christmassy events and pop-ups going on in London this year, and the challenge is to go to as many of them as you can in the few short weeks before Christmas. I’m failing at this challenge, because there’s too much to do and not enough time!
I recently went to the Mulled Wine Festival in Covent Garden, where we somehow managed to choose the only organic stall to buy mulled wine from… So we learnt the hard way that organic wine is not the best! Fortunately, one of my other Christmas endeavours wasn’t as disastrous – visiting South Pole Saloon, Brixton’s newest pop-up.
It comes from the makers of the immersive production the ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, and is advertised as a surreal and whimsical experience celebrating Christmas themed debauchery, where performances, music, food and drink are all on offer.
I wasn’t sure what it would look like, but going on a Friday night in the lead up to Christmas, I was expecting big, wacky, and fantastical things.
In reality, South Pole Saloon looks a bit like a run-down chateau come Christmas market. There are three drinking areas decorated with Christmas trees, fairy lights and a dusting of fake snow, two of which are outside but under cover. A wide ramp connects the three of them, which could also be somewhere to stand if the place is rammed and the bars are full – but only if it’s not raining because it’s not under cover!
When you walk in, you are led up the ramp, past one of the drinking areas, and towards the main section at the top where all the street food stalls are. This makes it really easy to completely miss one of the bars – but then I think that’s the point.
There is a big bar hidden inside the lodge, which can be discovered by peeping behind a curtain next to the main entrance. Inside is another large drinking area and a stage. It was the emptiest bar out of he three of them – I think because it was harder to find!
I would guess that the stage is where the live performances take place, but I couldn’t see any sign of performers, or any actual signs or indications of when the performances would be!
We chose to base ourselves in the big bar area where the benches and food stalls were – this was the natural area for everyone to gravitate to because it was the busiest (and it was warmed by heaters.)
On a quest for some mulled wine, Harriet and I tasted a ‘Hot toddy’ at the bar, which was a mixture of southern comfort and juices, but unfortunately it made us feel like we were recovering from colds because it just tasted like hot honey and lemon! In the end we opted for a cold glass of white wine which was lovely!
The area was pretty busy, but fortunately the queues for the food stalls weren’t very long.
The food choices were Dip & Flip or Butchies burgers, Crust Conductor pizza, or Pastry Girls puddings. After watching the buzz around one of the burger stalls and eyeing up the burgers others had bought, we made our way over to Butchies and ordered two Clancy Wiggum burgers (deep fried buttermilk chicken with smoked streaky bacon, guacamole and chipotle mayo).
The buttermilk fried chicken was delicious! Not quite as good as the chicken burger from Chicken Liquor, which I still deem as one of the best chicken burgers around, but still so tasty that we went quiet as we are for a bit to concentrate on eating.
South Pole Saloon is a great place to go and have some food and drinks and chill out. It’s very similar to Dinerama, but more Christmassy and a lot smaller. It was a fun evening out – the only thing that let it down really was the lack of actors and performances!