Located at 208 Tower Bridge Road, the Bump Caves is a dive bar and distillery from Charlie McVeigh, founder of Draft House.
Opened to the public on July 10th 2014, The Bump Caves surrounds itself with flavour, aroma, sound, texture and vision; tantalizing all of the senses.
The Bump Chemist, Distiller and Rectifier Max Chater, distils his own spirits for the Bump Caves using the rotary evaporator and also has plans to create syrups, vermouths, liquors and infusions. Leading proponent of The Beer & the Bump (contrasting beer and spirit pairings), Max combines outrageous flavours matching house-distilled and rectified spirits (Bumps) to Charlie’s constantly changing and intense beer list.
The bar is inspired by a late 1960’s psychedelic approach, taking its lead from the ‘Happening’, an underground party which was an enticing experience. Other influences include Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, hallucinogenic drugs, light shows, freedom, loud music and the destruction of 1950’s morality.
Mansfield acted as the main contractor on the project, providing a successful development. LBF Architects and Studio Frith both contributed to the design concept and whole interior of the bar, producing excellent finishes.
Stepping into the Bump Caves, there is a stairwell straight ahead dressed in bespoke Americana-kitsch wallpaper, designed by Studio Frith. Along the stairwell there is a seductively lit caged vault complete with vintage beer barrels and kegs to offer a taste of what is ahead.
Once you reach the end of the staircase there are two Caves to the right with neon signage above, stating ‘North’ and ‘South’ which can be hired out for special occasions and private parties. Painted in a sumptuous copper paint the caves are complete with back lit LEDs behind the seating, creating a sultry ambience. The colour and mood within the caves alter gradually throughout the night.
The main bar is accompanied by light boxes along the side and rear walls which provide the underground bar with a sense of day light during the early evening. The rest of the bar is finished with vintage and industrial lighting sourced from Chantelle Lighting.
The Rotary Evaporator, a machine utilised for distilling the Bump Caves own Gins and Malts in addition to infusing spirits, is only usually found in a laboratory and was specially sourced. The ‘Rota Vap’ is on show in a half caged open display, in constant use so that guests can observe the process whilst enjoying a beverage.
The front of the venue integrates a bespoke ‘BUMP’ sign designed by Studio Frith, manufactured by Identity Signs. When leaving the bar as guests reach the top of the stairwell they are presented with a flashing neon sign reading ‘Exile/Exit’. The use of the term ‘exile’ at the end of a dimly lit passage delivers a sense of playful gloom upon exiting, giving a final dramatic punch to the senses.
The bar is open Wednesday and Thursday 5pm-1am and Friday to Saturday 5pm-2am.