Skylodge – review

Up on the roof: Skylodge

Up on the roof: Skylodge

Rooftop bars aren’t just for August. If you’ve got some imagination that is, and the people behind the newest addition to Hackney’s skyline – treehouse-cum-hunting cabin Skylodge – seem to.

The very same roof where hip barflies draped themselves on deckchairs downing negronis after sundown at Sicilian pop-up Coppa over the summer has been magicked into a cosy wilderness of woodchips and log stacks.

Stumbling in from the cold, the lodge is packed with festive greenery, with delicious smells of hot-spiced cider, wood smoke and good things on the grill. It’s the kind of boozy fairytale you want to walk into on a soggy winter’s night.

Open just Thursday to Sunday, there’s a programme of bands and singers, as well as Lumber Jam sessions with Jules from Holland. That’s Julian Bayuni, dynamic director of the creative collective that’s put the concept together – Platterform.

Formerly at London Bridge, the team is already making their mark on Hackney’s food, booze and music scene with Skylodge. And it’s really excellent.

It’s a late place, a date place, a place for mates or birthdays or catch-ups. The drinks are excellent and the menu plays along in character with tipples ranging from the ‘Hand-On-Gretel’ spiced cider to the ‘Gingy Toddy’ – a beautiful confection of rum and ginger to warm your frozen fingers.

There are little cabins for groups to perch in, as well as longer trestle tables and a loungy cushioned campfire area near the lumber bar where the music gets going later on.

On Sunday nights, wrap up warm, bring a sleeping bag and settle down for some immersive, booze-led movie nights with the Big Foot Film Club. They’ve already had ‘Ginto The Wild’. If their puns don’t win you over, the grub will.

We were offered some marshmallows casually scorched to perfection with a blowtorch while we looked at the menu. There are not too many options on it, which I like.

We had a beautiful little rack of smoky maple syrup-sweetened pork ribs that we pulled apart with our hands and sucked the last of the juicy meat off the bones. I shared them reluctantly.

Then there was the tenderest of pulled pork in a sweet brioche with some good crunchy coleslaw on the side. We also tried the Sloppy Joe burger, which was a pleasure to eat, if not necessarily to watch someone eat.

And we had the fiery chicken wings too, just to round out the animal kingdom in a single sitting. I, for one, make no apologies for the gluttonies of Christmas.

Skylodge was so great that I’m immediately going back this week for some more festive jollity. At the helm are creative people that know how put on a good show and they’ve pulled off the concept with panache and plenty of surprises. Go before it ends.

274 Richmond Road with public access via Martello Street, London Fields, London, E8 3QW. Thursdays and Fridays 6pm until 11pm – ends December 29