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Jam Circus, Brockley

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user reviews of Jam Circus, Brockley

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

A visit with the wife on a recent Saturday afternoon for a pint and a late brunch.

Busy with the back of the bar resembling a kids party / club, the noise was pretty loud but it was more sedate at the front where it mainly all adults, music played softly.

3 ales and a cider on the hand pumps, my pint of Brockley Pale Ale was decent, I cannot remember the other choices of ale. The food was good and served promptly, good value for money also.

Its been a couple of years since I've even popped I here for a drink, but this was a refreshing visit and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be using this place as it’s so close to home, though the Beer Dispensary does have a more adult feel to it.

lezford - 27 Oct 2016 15:03
Despite the silly name this is a good if non-traditional pub with several real ales, lovely staff and good food. The South (of London) will rise again, as they say. Going on current evidence it already has.
rainlight - 28 Jul 2014 06:31
My first visit since it's re-opened was 2 quick beers with a mate last Tuesday.

I was surprised to see that there were 6 really good ales on the hand pumps which have increased from 3 to 6. It seems like they have taken a much better view of real ales and especially of local breweries.

My 2 pints of Porter from Brockley Brewery were excellent. As well as the ales there were the usual suspects of Guinness and Lager with Laguintas IPA also on tap.

I always liked the Jam Circus but before it closed due to the fire it seemed to be going down the Mother and Baby route too much, maybe it's still like that during the day (the jars of sweets & home made cakes suggest that), but on the evening I visited there were no kids to be seen!

Cracking little place again and with the addition of more ales on tap I'll be back to being a regular.
lezford - 25 Mar 2014 13:18
We thought we would try Jam Circus last weekend as there's been a lot of excitement locally about it reopening. There was a good selection of beers and the place is quite funky in a tatty second hand junk shop chic kind of way. We had a nice pint of beer then it all went a bit wrong...I bought a round then upon returning to my seat noticed black specks all round the top of my glass. I took my beer back to the bar and the barmaid apologised and poured me a fresh pint. I checked my new pint of beer before leaving the bar only to discover it too had black matter over the glass. When I pointed this out to her she asked me if I minded if she poured the beer into another glass! I had no idea what this stuff on/in the glass was and had no wish to consume it so I politely said no and asked for a fresh pint. At this stage I was made to feel like I was a massive pain the in backside that she was doing a favour for as she poured me a very short pint. This was becoming hard work, I asked her to fill my glass and she sneered at me. Imagine the cheek of me wanting a full pint in a clean glass! This was the last drink we had in Jam Circus I can't see us going there again
thirstyoakpark - 23 Nov 2013 22:16
Sadly closed at present due to a fire just before xmas.

Not as good as it used to be but still a better place for a pint and chat than the Brockley Jack...it's got more about it!

Always at least 1 ale on sometime 2 and these can vary with usually Ubu or Brakespears being the main choices.

Decent benches out front for the warmer days and nights but this place is slap bang on the main road.

Let's hope it re-opens soon.

lezford - 25 Feb 2013 13:07
Lovely pub, funky decor and ever friendly staff. The Sunday roast is second to none in the whole of London, and I've had hundreds in my time
Benmilesbc - 6 Nov 2011 17:13
Used to live near this place and was regularly drinking and eating here. I went back time and time again until I moved out of the area.
Still, if I'm back in the area, I will try to make it to Jam Circus. As with all other Antic pubs I've been to, great atmosphere, great food, great drinks selection and great decor.
Writing this is making me want to trek back across town for another visit
Roydwin - 30 Oct 2011 17:46
I really like this pub for the beer, decor and laid back atmosphere, however the food really lets it down. I have been a fair few times before on a Friday and Saturday night and had a really good time, also saw they did Sunday roasts so thought I'd try that out this weekend, Big Mistake! At 12.50 for lamb or beef the portion sizes and quality really are not good enough. The yorkshire's seemed just like Aunt Bessy's frozen ones and the "Honey Roasted Vegetables" were pretty lank and soggy. We ordered at about 5 so maybe we were served up the last of the days roasts but it does say they serve until 6 and if this was the case it would have been better if the staff had told us when we were ordering. I was also served a lot of string with the beef and when I pointed this out to the staff after the meal they didn't seem to really pay attention or care. I will go back to Jam Circus for a drink, as it really is a nice pub with good atmosphere but I would never eat there again.
SoBu - 20 Mar 2011 18:35
Commented previously re the food being too small however I was back this weekend for Sunday lunch (have also been back several other times though not for food!) Portions def improved, stonking amount of food on the plate so 10/10 for that. One negative mine, was really hoping for the home made burger which wasn't on given it was Sunday. Good real ale on though cannot remember the name of it, very moorish.

Really do love this place, I live in Nunhead and this is a 15 minute walk from my house and is the best bar in the area and really wish them well....
crack - 12 Apr 2010 10:02
@jonluber, sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your first evening at Jam Circus. Apologies if your houmous wasn't up to scratch, we take real pride in our food and it is disappointing if we ever fall short of our usual standards. We like to think we have established a strong local reputation for quality homemade food and I can only ask you aren't too quick to judge the kitchen after your first visit.

As for music levels, this I'm afraid is a judgement call we have to make on the night, based on overall customer mood, etc. Our weekend nights are usually quite busy and upbeat, so I can't say a future Saturday evening would be likely to be any quieter. Other days of the week tend to be more sedate and music levels lowered to suit.

What we do at Jam Circus is genuinely a labour of love and it's truly regrettable if your impression of us so far is negative. I hope your next visit is more enjoyable. As far as Brockley is concerned, you're right, there aren't many options, but if you haven't tried them already I'd suggest Mr Lawrence's Wine Bar in Crofton Park, The Orchard on Harefield Road (near Brockley Station) and The Talbot on Tyritt Road (off Lewisham Way, near Hillyfields).

Thank you for your comments.
JamCircus - 3 Feb 2010 07:08
Been meaning to go to Jam Circus for months and last night we finally decided it was the time. Looked promising from the outside and on entry seemed buzzing and pleasant.

We were lucky enough to find a seat in the corner, although it was near the steps to the back room we realised that these seats were the seat equivalent of the M1 and if we got bumped into once we got bumped into 70 times plus, not to mention the spilled beers etc!!

Not a great selection of wines, but still not too bad, I ordered a bottle and asked if we could get some Olives, these only come with Houmous and PItta Bread, fine, ordered some.

Came up very quickly! Now I've tried houmous all the world over, but there was something very very odd about this one, it had a very odd smell to it, not the usual houmous smell that you'd expect. One bite of my houmous laden pitta bread and that was enough for me to spit it out. My companion for the evening had already decided that this was not the kind of houmous that he was used to either so it sat untouched on the plate.

Now to the Olives, edible, flavourful, but had the texture of mashed bananas, how wrong can Olives get?

Music! Too loud, it was impossible to hear my friend opposite me and we spent the rest of the evening having to lean across the uneaten houmous to hear each other speak, we decided to finish the bottle of wine and head home. Jam Circus was one of those "must do sometime" to "done that, won't be back anytime soon, if at all".

If you can get Houmous and Olives right, then I don't hold up much for the food. Besides it was just too loud to have a nice evening.

In JC's favour though, they did give us the money back on the houmous, so maybe we could have popped across to the Co-Op and bought a tub to eat with the Pitta.

Shame as it looked promising and Brockley does lack places.
jonluber - 31 Jan 2010 10:49
Nice bar but pricey for the area. Food is good but. . . more real ales please!!!
DCGH - 6 Oct 2009 14:56
Thank you for your response. BITE aren't great at removing posts, I wouldn't worry about it now. I'm sorry to hear you felt hostility from other customers.
JamCircus - 28 Jun 2009 20:38
I checked recently to see if my previous post was still present . I was quite drunk when it was posted and when reading afterwards i requested it be removed twice largely due to the fact it is negative and mostly pointless, something which i most certainly am not, quite the opposite in fact. People being pretentious or middle class nor where they are from means nothing to me in reality.
There was obviously a misunderstanding re the homophobia issue and despite other customers making it clear that they had a problem with it I now realise this is not your point of view and apologise for suggesting otherwise.
For what its worth the Jam is a unique cool funky little place that has added a great spark to its area hence its popularity and which i used to enjoy drinking in.
The best way to discover what a bar is like is to actually GO THERE and try it out in person.

planchic - 20 Jun 2009 08:49
Torica, thank you for the kind words!
JamCircus - 22 May 2009 19:36
I was incredibly surprised to see the negative review about Jam Circus by planchic as I would whole heartedly disagree with them. I was not born and brought up in the South East (I'm a South Westerner from Wimbledon!) but have enjoyed living in Brockley for the past 3 years. Jam Circus is a regular haunt for me, my boyfriend and our friends who also live locally. Though I have been away for the past 4 months, I'm back on Friday and will most definitely be stopping by that evening for a welcome home drink.

Jam Circus is one of the warmest, friendliest, cosiest and laid back bars I have ever had the pleasure of entering, with welcoming staff, excellent food and a brilliant fire. I would recommend it to anyone (and have done), and will continue to give them my patronage for as long as is physically possible.

Keep up the good work Jam Circus - you're fudging brilliant! See you Friday, where I will be happy to indulge in a glass of wine.
torica - 20 May 2009 15:00
Sorry, I can't allow the previous comment to pass without reply. The reasons (and there were several) you were asked to leave were made quite clear at the time and again when you returned a few weeks later. Homophobia had nothing to do with it and has no place at Jam Circus - for you to suggest this borders on libel. At no time did I speak to you in a rude manner. The fact you were born in South London does not validate your accusations and goes no way to excuse your behaviour. For the record I have lived in Brockley since birth and our striving for excellence in all respects should not be confused with middle class pretentiousness - we are proud to have a well mixed customer base.

For you to suggest our staff don't give a toss is staggering - they are the most caring & conscientious people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. If you saw mice, I apologise, but the fact is that there are mice in London & we are not only part of a terraced parade of shops, but also by a trainline - our food hygiene standards are exemplary (as our inspection rating proves) and we allow no chance of food or drink to be contaminated.

I never enjoy barring a customer and it is a huge shame you have felt the need to post your comment amongst the countless positive reviews for Jam Circus posted online in the past 12 months (thankfully we are currently enjoying our most succesful spell since opening in Brockley). It goes without saying that I am reporting your comment for removal considering the false & potentially damaging accusations you have made. Well done on correctly guessing my age.
JamCircus - 10 May 2009 00:49
This place initially seemd a cool place, after a few visits it was clear the manager who ever he is (about 24) is rude, predjudiced and basically shit scared of anyone that complains about anything. My friends expereienced homophobia here.....we also saw mice on many occasions which the staff after telling them seems not to give a toss......Looks cool on the surface and they try but people have lived in brockle honor oak longer than the new influx of middle class pretnetious types they boy thinks will make here work.......as an all round place and being born in South London I think its shit..
planchic - 13 Apr 2009 19:37
Very quirky and cosy local with good entertainment
and a very staff. Excellent asset to Brockley/Crofton park
k2thebrock - 8 Jan 2009 19:20
...Just found this place having lived in SE15 for the last three years - literally 10 mins walk, didn't even realise Crofton Park existed. Def prefer Crofton Park over Lordship Lane, East Dulwich as its much nice vibe.

Visited Jam and had a thoroughly great afternoon - food was good though the portions are quite small for the price, I could've eaten my roast again!

Enjoyed the beer - will def be back.
crack - 18 Jan 2008 11:53
This is my local so I drink there quite reguarly, the atmosphere and staff are delightful. I've eaten there a few times and each it's been lovely (veggies, try the warm salad!) and when I've caught the live music it's been pretty impressive.

JamCircus - 23 Dec 2007 00:37
I thought breakfast went on after Christmas but maybe I was mistaken like Ando. I always enjoy the staff. I do feel it lacks a bit in atmosphere but overall is fine. The food I feel is quite hit and miss, the first few times I went there it was great (though often over an hour wait) and then it was a long wait and not great food. Havent ventured there since, maybe it has got better. I certainly wouldnt knock what it is, just maybe the chef.
anonymous - 7 Sep 2007 16:20
I'm not sure when ando last went to Jam Circus, they stopped doing breakfasts before Christmas (I was one of the few early birds!)

I've had food a few times recently and it has been great, good variety in the main courses too.

Always a nice atmosphere and friendly staff, happy to have Jam Circus as my local!
trevnic - 9 Jul 2007 03:59
jam circus looks great, but, for its size, needs more staff and a bigger menu.

love the living room area, but the barbie ladies toilet is just trying too hard.

the food is very hit and miss and slow to arrive, although have only really done breakfasts there.

staff generally range from absolutely lovely to friendly enough, but, try as they might, they can't run the place properly with current staffing levels.

maybe i've been lucky, but it seems to be one of the few harmonious child-freindly places i've been to- the kids are a pleasure to have around and don't scream or moan about you smoking (and neither do the parents!).

just needs a little more versatility and love outting in...


ando - 2 Jul 2007 11:39
Nice enough, enjoyed the decor and the barmaid-girl was impossibly friendly. Nice place for a Sunday chill-out.
MrScott - 21 May 2007 17:31
To sionapdale, if the sloppy joe sandwich was such an abomination then why did you order it in the first place?, this is a fantastic pub with great, friendly staff and the food is fantastic now as it is under new management.
clive459 - 23 Mar 2007 20:49
i actually used to b a junior chef here i really like the seatin areas found tehm to b fun when renting out the back of the place which is perfect for a reasonable size gathering for family etc. but about ONE of the guys saying the foods crap it wasnt the best but for pub food its v.good and now they have a new chef all the reason to try it out,again.
jamminjake - 17 Jan 2007 17:23
This place is brilliant. I love the kitsch 'sitting room' at the back of the pub, with its bay window from the original building.

Very nice, look forward to going back.
ONscotland - 26 Dec 2006 23:26
Had a fab time here the other night, real good selection of beers and very friendly staff. Lovely atmosphere, really unusual setting though it still feels like a proper pub. Didn't try the food but my friend did and said it was a proper job really smart so i'm gonna take my parents at the end of the week.
anonymous - 12 Dec 2006 13:41
I went to this pub fro Sunday lunch last week following a recommendation that it's a good pub to go to if you have small children. I found it to be exactly that, there is a room at the back with room for the youngsters to run around and a TV showing kids' dvds. This meant we were able to enjoy a leisurely roast without the youngsters getting bored. The food itself was good (generous serving of beef) though its not exactly cheap at 8.50. I would definitely return here and recommend it to families.
wifebeater - 1 Nov 2006 14:42

Found this pub by accident and was really charmed by the unusual set up- have been scared off in the past by some south London pubs so nice to find one which feels like something from the center of town. Thought the food was really nice so not sure about the guy below!
thenoodle - 29 Aug 2006 17:10
I have lived in the area for a long time and people have been telling me what a great addition to the meagre social scene Jam Circus is. Well yesterday lunch time (21st July 2006) I finally managed to make a visit. What a lovely place. The vibe was relaxed and friendly as were the staff and we settled in for an enjoyable lunch.

My club sandwich was ok but the side order of slimy potato wedges should have been left off the plate. My Mum's tuna melt was huge but tasteless and heaved on to the plate without any thought for the eye.The claim that the melty bit was mozzarella seemed far fetched as it tasted more like Kraft cheese slices. If you do decide to order something off this indifferent menu, never, I repeat, never, order the sloppy joe sandwich. My missus is still suffering the flatulent after affects. I don't know who thought up this abomination of a sandwich but they shouldn't be allowed a glimpse of a spatula let alone put a menu together.

I don't know what the evening menu is like, but I pray that there is someone else at the hob. Turning out food like the cack we were served yesterday won't win returning customers to what is otherwise a very pleasant and much needed local watering hole.
sionapdale - 22 Jul 2006 18:53
I think foodspy is being frightfully harsh about this place. Two reviews and both times very negative. Having spent quite a bit of time there, his/her observations do not add up in my books. I think the staff are great and they make the place. If this is a personal attack on Jam Circus I suggest you try another way as people (including myself) are looking for honest and objective opinions about places on this website. Not axes to grind.
charlottep - 13 Jul 2006 23:24
The place is really going from strength to strength. Well done you you guys and thanks for such a great place. Everything is great day and night and I reallly have no complaints.
Keep it up. London needs more places like this
anonymous - 20 Jun 2006 00:05
Crofton Park & Brockley really seem to be getting their act together at the moment, and no doubt this place has been a catalyst for that. It's 50 times better than the old dive that used to be there, and it's a damn fine pub for a swift afternoon shandy, or a session in the evenings.

We popped in at about 7 on Saturday. The atmosphere was chilled and the crowd seemed friendly enough - a good mixture of locals and trendies. The beers cater for most tastes, and the decor looks great - not too flashy, or samey, but a real cool eclectic feel. Plus there is a wicked Brockley signs montage adorning one of the walls.

We went off for dinner down the road. When we walked past later at 10 it was really buzzing, although we didn't go in.

In all, a fine watering hole and I'm proud to count it as one of my locals.
superfibre - 20 Apr 2006 13:42
Now that I've settled into the area, I'm getting to know a bit more about Crofton Park and Brockley.

Having sampled a few of the local drinking dens, the Jam Circus gets my vote for being quirky, with good food and reasonably-priced drinks. I have to say that Moonbow Jakes has more of an 'in crowd' vibe to it and the staff seem more welcoming.

Maybe whoever owns or runs the Jam Circus should tell staff that a smile goes a 'helluva' long way.

There's also the small, but irritating sticking point: the patchy service. On one occasion I had to wait for ages to get served a beer, while on the other, I had to wait at the bar for a good few minutes to pay for my meal. It took the girl at the bar - who originally served me - ages to come upstairs. There was scarcely an apology, which was a tad annoying, especially as a less scrupulous person could have walked out.

I'd still recommend it, if only for the food, good selection of wine, and generally friendly atmostphere. With so many competitors in the local area, it seems that a little more 'service with a smile' and less sloppiness would stand JC in good stead.
FoodSpy - 11 Apr 2006 13:54
In an umpromising area, this bar is quite a surprise. I've not seen how lively it gets on weekends, but on a weeknight visit was quite impressed.

A lot of effort has been made with the fit-out and decor and the place gives the impression of being owened by someone who has half an idea what they are doing, unlike one or two other places not in the same postcode but not a million miles away (naming no names).

Drinks were quite reasonably priced and food was in London terms quite cheap at I think 8-9 for the most expensive main course. I didn't try any though.

Would definitely recommend a visit. Perhaps not worth a trip across town but for those in SE4/23/13 and worse still points further east there is not exactly much competition in the area, so make sure you check it out.
Beertastingmonkey - 24 Mar 2006 11:36
I agree with Charlotte. This is also my favourite place in Brockley. I think the criticism below is very harsh.

The atmosphere is really laid back and friendly. The selection of beers is good - the strawberry/raspberry one is partic interesting.

Used to go exclusively to Mr Lawrence's and Moonbow Jake's but am now a definite Jam fan.

Quick question though - if anybody has tried the food at Jam Circus, is it any good? With Mr Lawrence's having stopped serving food, was wondering whether it'd be worth trying Jam Circus instead?

Cheers.
ProEvoBoy - 16 Mar 2006 14:32
I moved to Crofton Park a few months ago and live five minutes' walk away from the Jam Circus. It's not yet my local, but then I've barely unpacked! The waiting service was a little slow and the waitress did seem a little clueless, but the food was excellent. The price was very reasonable too. I was there last Wednesday and on Saturday, early evening and can recommend their steaks!
FoodSpy - 15 Mar 2006 20:16
I've been popping in and out over the last 6 months with the beau and think the anonymous comment made is a bit unfair and sounds suspiciously vicious. Maybe even personal.

Its my very favourite place in the area, just what is needed.Always thought the staff were the making of the place as they would go all out to make us comfortable. After we witnessed the owner or new manager literally screaming at the barmaid last week I am surprised how they managed to keep such good staff.

Keep it up guys. Nice food, nice drinks, nice music nice staff. What more could I want.


charlottep - 15 Mar 2006 13:58
This place was great when it opened...unfortunately they have recently taken to hiring some totally useless barmaids. They can't even familiarise themselves with their wine list (a whole 10!), can't rememeber what you ordered (let alone who ordered it), their basic menu boasts aiming to serve your food within 15 mins but these days it will easily take 40-90 mins. When you complain you don't even get an apology.

I was in there this evening which went a little something like this...barmaid had no idea what wine we were ordering, told us 20 mins after ordering food that they were out of some of the orders, food took best part of an hour to arrive, come closing time everyone was told to f*ck off out!

Either Andrew hires some decent staff or this place will not last...
anonymous - 8 Mar 2006 23:57
last night i went there and went through 2 bottles of the house red - it was lovely and very fairly priced.
the comment by BLK
and according to your profile
Age: 151 sex: ?
its clear that you just want to try to spoil a really, really interesting place [ a little jealous are you?]
with amazing design, wide drink selection and good vibe.

anyway if you're local and remember what was there - you cannot be thankful enough for this place. a strong recommend.

abbieM - 6 Dec 2005 13:29
A cracking bar, Crofton Park has been waiting for a place like this since Mr Lawrence opened, but didn't quite succeed, not in my eyes anyway. A good range of strong and varied beers & lagers available. Friendly staff makes this place is a personal favourite of mine especially as seeing as the Brockley Jack needs an overhaul yet again. Definitely worth a visit.
lagerdrinker - 11 Nov 2005 10:24
It's a dam fine bar.
The staff are friendly and the decor contemporary. The food is very good and on Sundays they do a fine Roast lunch(with a veggie option). The wines I have tried (which is most of them) are of a high standard and the whites are properly chilled ( a bugbear of mine).
The music is varied so its a bit pot luck with that I'm afraid but at least its not 4-on-the-floor day and night. During the day its a nice place to have a coffee and read a book, something that I have taken to when working from home.
Robert_the_barfly - 22 Sep 2005 14:24
Worst house red I've ever tasted. Buy a spirit and mixer (e.g. vodka and pineapple juice )and they charge you 2.20 for the spirit and 2.00 for the juice which comes out of a carton. Very odd decor. I won't be going back
bik - 6 Sep 2005 21:15
popped into this place last night cos some of my friends dare to live in the area! They have a decent array of strong/mentallist lagers on tap - budwar,grolsch, leffe, hoogarden and wife-beater. Plus there's Carling for the lightweights. Didn't try the food but it looked ok. They played the whole Sissor Sisters album whilst we were there which wasn't very modern. I was more impressed by The Simpsons wallpaper they had in the toilets. If i had the misfortune of living locally i'd probably visit Jam Circus regularly.
anonymous - 1 Sep 2005 12:46
Went in for the first time the other night. Not a bad place. Good range of beers, friendly staff, and we weren't rushed outta there at 11 on the dot. Which is always nice.

Brockley / Crofton Park is crying out for some decent bars. And this fits the bill. Not an out and out boozer like the Brockley Jack. And not as cappucino-lite as Moonbow Jakes.

I'll be back...
bobzilla - 26 Aug 2005 17:17
New pub opposite Croften Park rail station, looks set to open soon. We wait with interest...
hetta - 15 Jul 2005 19:18

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