The first thing I notice when stepping into The Culpeper pub is its clichéd exposed brick walls, dark-wood furniture and its scruffy-T-shirt-wearing staff.
The second thing is its very unpretentious atmosphere.
Although drink and food is rather expensive, (£5 – £7 for a good beer, and £10 – £16 for a main) and the terribly offensive use of scaffolding is very much present in the interior, pretending to prop up shelves around the bar, The Culpeper feels different to its Eastern, hipster neighbours.
There’s one main attribute for people working in hospitality which seems to have been ignored and therefore diminished in East London establishments.
Without sounding too much like my 80-year-old Grandma, this attribute is manners.
At The Culpeper the welcoming and friendly staff helped me choose the perfect beer, the perfect food and were very thankful that I paid in change.
I’m sick to death of entering a pub in East London, in much need of a strong alcoholic beverage, and being greeted (eventually) by a gum-chewing, Dr Martens-wearing teenager, who doesn’t so much as say a word to me, with the exception of barking the extortionate price of my IPA at me.
The Culpeper’s unique selling point would be its ‘rooftop farm’: which does exactly what it says on the tin – vegetables and herbs grow on the roof of the pub which boasts a scenic view of the capital.
The daily food menu at the pub depends solely on which veg is available for picking on the day, which keeps the chefs on their toes.
The fridges are full of local IPAs, porters, pale ales and craft lagers, from favourites like local brewers Pressure Drop to Wild Beer Co. in Somerset. They also offer a fruity selection of cocktails, which are worth a shot.
The Culpeper is situated on Commercial Street close to Brick Lane and Spitalfields, and is a stones-throw from Aldgate East station.
The pub is hardly off-the-beaten-track but is rarely stumbled across spontaneously, so is definitely one worth seeking out if you’re out East in the coming future.
Visit The Culpeper if you want a lovely atmosphere and lovely beer. They brand themselves as having a ‘party atmosphere’, but the music isn’t blisteringly loud and if, like me, you sometimes just want a quiet drink and to keep your ear-drums fully functional and intact, head to this pub… now.
Address: 40 Commercial St, London E1 6LP – Phone: 020 7247 5371
Website: http://www.theculpeper.com – Open ’til 2AM on Fridays and Saturdays.
Photography by Callie Vaught