Cable Café Bar | Coffee, Cocktails and Live Jazz in Oval
There’s nowhere else quite like Cable Café Bar in Oval.
Partly because – as far as we know – there are no other spots that transition from café to bar and put on twice a week episodes of live jazz in the area, but also because it is truly a one-of-a-kind type of place…
Located right by Oval Station, Cable (the name is a nod to the cable cars that would once pass by from Brixton Rd) is from the same team who run Scootercaffe in Waterloo and coincidentally, sports a similar retro 1960s look brimming with personality; with a scattering of antique tables and chairs, and various bits of paraphernalia that the owner Craig has picked from flea markets on his travels to Italy, including a vintage crank-style espresso machine. There’s even a piano out the back that you might be able to play a few notes on, provided you can actually play…
The scene is drastically different depending on what hour you visit. If you’re here during daylight, you’ll encounter laptoppers casually working away next to a homemade bake, people mulling over their moves on a chessboard and, well, people who simply come to chill and catch up over a cup of coffee, which Cable roast themselves to great effect with single-origin, fair-trade beans that change regularly – maybe from Peru on one day, and Brazil on another.
Around clock-off time for work, the frothy cappuccinos then begin to make way for cocktails and alcoholic drinks; a transition that the well-stocked cabinet behind the counter gives away. From there, the staff will concoct whisky-based creations and negronis, and pour you organic wine and local beer from the tap, while as the night draws on and the drinks and conversations flow, you get a really cosy, communal atmosphere. An atmosphere that’s almost crying out for a session of live jazz. And as luck would have it, funnily enough, there is live jazz – every Tuesday evening (with no entry fee) when a band rolls in armed with their saxophones, basses and so on. You’ll probably want to head in earlier rather than later (bands normally get on at 8pm), as Cable isn’t exactly plush for space and the seats fill up quickly.
The atmosphere is electric…
NOTE: Cable Café Bar is open daily, with live jazz on Tuesday evenings, 8-10pm (free entry). There’s no reservations, it’s a ‘come in and find a seat’ sort of spot. You can find more info about the venue here.
Cable Café Bar | 8 Brixton Road, London SW9 6BU
For more drinks and jazz… check out guide to the best bars with live music