Brixton Rooftop: Will You Be Naughty Or Nice?
As the night draws to a close and the office drones leave their desks behind, the synchronized march of the city workers escaping for Christmas can be heard throughout London. Together as one they blend, merging themselves with the rest of the bustling commuters who chatter excitedly among themselves. For tonight for one night only the city worker is gone and in its place is a free spirited child that longs to relish the festive spirit once more. The office suits remain crumpled in a corner and the ties are thrown in the bin, even the shirts that they still cling onto like famished workers are open to the third button, exposing their pre-festive drunken state. A little worse for wear they plunder on excitedly, taking their seats next to us on the train with red tired eyes. We leave as one, leaving behind our working careers and relishing the freedom of the ‘festive spirit’ that is oh so ‘honey sweet’.
What was once an urban dwellers nightmare, had been transformed into a ‘New Shoreditch’ with breath-taking murals, which created a stark contrast to the bleak urban landscape of the city centre that the workers had left behind. They smiled among themselves and strode forward with purpose, as we too joined them on our journey to Brixton Rooftop. The music drifted in the air, as it settled into our ear drums and infecting us with the ‘disease’ of Christmas spirit.Even the grumpiest of patrons had a smile on their faces and the frown lines seemed to disappear momentarily as they listened to music with hope in their hearts. The Brixton Rooftop was unlike any other ‘dive bar’ that they had seen; the walls were painted in a ‘winter wonderland’ theme and fairy lights twinkled mischievously at Santa’s helpers, who wafted by in a flurry of candy striped red and white. The elves had been busy, and having escaped from ‘Santa’s domineering clutches’ they had concocted a magical plan to infect us with the Christmas spirit.
Drinks flowed merrily, as the gentle soothing sound of the taps gushing out pints, ciders and Christmas cocktails galore wafted into the air, as we became drunk on the essence of life. The smell of cinnamon, spice and all things nice commandeered the Christmas festivities and the amusing sight of the city drones letting loose and twerking to Rihanna ‘Work’ made us laugh a little louder than we should have done. Love was on the cards, with couples intertwined gazing dolefully into each other eyes, while the players were on the prowl, sharp looks back and forth as they hunted out their next ‘win’ for the night. But it was the smell of good food and equally good company that drew us ever closer, as we closed our eyes and let the stress melt away.
The patrons downed pink fizzy liquid that wouldn’t be seen amiss in ‘Charlie & The Chocolate Factory’ with Rekorderlig as the ‘cider choice’ of the night. Mulled wine flowed aplenty as the famished workers tucked into their fresh double cooked chips, while the party heads knocked back ‘secret winter shots’ like the ‘Caner’ adding to the almost debaucherously delicious atmosphere that Brixton Rooftop was cultivating. But it was the almost perfect harmony of content sighs as the crowd sampled each pleasing dish from the food stalls that made this festive gathering a content group. The vegetarians and the vegans devoured spicy five bean chili smothered with rice and salad from ‘Vudu’ while the meat eaters licked their plates clean with ample offerings of harissa spiced lamb and mint yoghurt from the aptly named ‘Lambassadors’. Much to the disappointment of the crowd who had been longing for steaming plates of creamy mac and cheese, with festive Camembert and cranberry sauce, ‘Mac To The Future‘ had gone ‘time travelling’ and the workers consoled themselves with more festive spirits that were guaranteed to get the ‘party started’.
One by one, the stalls switched off their lights as they sifted their culinary delights back into steel pans and put down the shutters for the night. The elves melted fleetingly into the night and Santa’s helpers were nowhere to be found. But the music still carried on and the patrons remained, not quite ready to return to their normal lives. The night was still young but our time had come and we stole away, with the soft clonk of heels on stone pavements. There was a decided chill in the air but our cheeks were rosy with a festive glow and as we flopped into our beds, our plump soft lips curved into a smile. We curled into our printed blankets and filled up our hot water bottles, as we settled in for the night. The TV murmured quietly in the background and all was still. Vivid dreams floated through the night where we imagined ourselves to be in charge of the winter kingdom:the cider would flow freely to the beat of the music, while the food would be plentiful tinged with spice and intense flavour. The music would never stop and neither would we, charged by the raucous energy that would course through the night. But then startled we awoke and remembered that it was all a dream. Or was it?
What Are Your Thoughts On Festive Rooftop Events? Have You Ever Been To One?
Please note I and Lindsey were provided complimentary food and drinks and payment in collaboration with Rekorderlig but all narrative sequences are my own and not influenced by monetary compensation. Available Thursday- 6-11.30 PM, Friday and Saturday 6- 2 AM until January.
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The Rekorderlig Cider Lodge At Southbank Centre Winter Festival (On Sundays, Thursdays, Fridays And Saturdays):