11 Kennington Road, London, SE11 6SF. View on map.
Grand Union Kennington is a cool cocktail bar just a short stroll from Kennington station and is also near to Elephant and Castle. Before my visit I thought I half-knew what to expect from this Grand Union bar, however my estimations (high as they were) would be super-seeded by this jewel in South-London's crown.
The classic pub doors open into a bright and airy main bar space, with large seating areas of bar stools and comfy leather sofas, the colourfully painted walls are covered top to bottom with antique oil paintings and thrift-shop style trinkets. I was further amazed by Grand Union Kennington's tropical delta of a roof terrace, complete with palm trees and outdoor heaters. A real sun-trap in the summer, this would be ideal for drinks outside in the London heat.
The quirky main bar room in Grand Union Kennington.
The Ambience and Clientele
My fellow Grand Union visitors were a mix of post work drinkers enjoying a cocktail and South London socialites chilling over a few fruity ciders or a bottle of wine. The roof-terrace resembled an Ibiza beach bar on a Friday evening; it was so relaxed with cool dance music provided by the live DJ, so we soaked up the last few rays of sunshine whilst presiding over the appetising menu.
The Grand Union Kennington's cool roof terrace overlooking Kennington Road.
The Food and Drinks
There are so many options for quenching your thirst; but eventually I settled for a crisp pint of cider which was the perfect pallet cleanser and seemed to slot into place with the summer vibe. The cocktail selection comprised of all of the old classics; I was leaning towards a couple of fruity numbers and with happy hour prices from 5pm-8pm, I was looking to make the most of the list, a concept which clearly hadn't escaped my fellow drinkers. The Bloody Mary triggered all of my senses, sweet as it was with a spicy kick at the back, the sharp and refreshing Grand Punch made with Hendricks Gin was the perfect Ying to my Bloody Mary's Yang.
Grand Union serves up some top comfort food, and with a wide variety there would be enough to keep me comfortably chowing down for a month. I got the Grand Union's signature burger with the added twist of blue cheese sauce while my companion ordered the spicy Hot Dog from the 'Dirty Dawg' section of the menu. Succulent does not do justice to the Grand Union Burger, it deserved higher praise as it didn't crumble when I bit into it which is a rare joy. The Hot Dog was lashed with jalapenos and sour cream which cut through the smoky flavour of the sausage, a proper hot dog!
Grand Union's Dirty Dawgs are something to be savoured, a great bar snack.
My experience at Grand Union Kennington has given me reason to visit Lambeth more often. The laid back staff are so friendly you'll be left wanting for nothing while the affordable prices makes it the perfect venue for any occasion whether it's pre-drinks on a Friday night or a Saturday spent chilling in one of the coolest bars south of the river.