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SE1, March Tate Modern yet, Globe Theatre only just up and running, no new development, no regeneration, Borough Market just a pale shadow of its current vibrant self, gangs of feral hoodies (o.k., not really), the whole Southwark/ Bankside area a very different, and much less appealing place than today. So why on earth did we choose "one of the most obscure, derelict streets in London" (thanks, Matthew Fort!) to open what we hoped would be a good take on an authentic tapas bar? Well, we liked the pub - over a hundred years of trading as "The Hop Pole" and a really convivial, laid-back feel that a well-worn old building just has, and we liked what we figured might happen in the area. Almost 12 years later, the hunches seem to have paid off.

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