So, there I was, a denizen of New Bermondsey, desperate for my Sunday-morning cappuccino and panin(o) at SoBo.
And the damn place was closed. And won't be reopening on Sundays, at least for the winter.
VERY irritating. This post will no doubt annoy critics of Time Out Profile New Bermondsey -- heck, I'm even annoyed at my own level of loft-flat-middle-class-Observer-reading-irritation -- but I think SoBo is really missing a trick. For starters, more cappuccinos and panini are needed in the winter, so their "Closed For the Winter" excuse seems pretty lame. I live in and work in the area and go to SoBo about three times a week: it's ALWAYS busy. I can't believe for a second that it's not financially viable to stay open 7 days a week, with shorter hours on Sunday. There are few places to go in the immediate vicinity on a Sunday, Mr Leonard, but there are PLENTY to go to during the week; your Sunday opening created, at least in me, a particularly loyal customer. I'll get my sandwich from The Bermondsey tomorrow, thanks.
It's a Sunday trading culture now. A ten minute walk from Sobo's door, and I find signage for a new A3 site coming up on Bermondsey Street. The new Bermondsey Square will no doubt offer something in a couple of years. Simon the Tanner opens on Sundays for lunch now. More London has a new champagne bar offering Sunday breakfasts. Cafe Amore's just up the road. Shad Thames has lots of Sunday breakfast options. There are Neros and Starbucks within walking distance -- and I really don't think it'll be long before this stretch of Tower Bridge road gets its own. The Nero I went to at 10.15 a.m. instead of SoBo (rather against the grain as I can't stand the place) was doing a roaring trade.
Very wrong-headed, IMHO. Bring back your Sunday opening (and your Sunday muffins) before someone else does it.
It's a bit of a catch 22 still for a lot of pubs/restaurants/cafes in the area - quite a lot of SE1'ers still tend to go "out of area" on a weekend, so a lot of the pubs/cafes get very little business if they are off the main drag of the river or Tooley street - which means that by the time you've paid staff etc etc, you would be making a loss - not to mention TLMJJ's point that it's nice not to have to roster people 7 days.
Of course, there is the issue that people can't come if you're not open!! It's great that Simon's is open now, especially with winter coming, and it's such a great little pub - hopefully more will follow the example - and local people will support them.