We have been lucky enough to enjoy cocktails from Funkidory at Cocktails In The City for the last couple of years courtesy of their partnership with Glenmorangie Whisky and so were delighted to hear about their latest opening Mama Funki in Camberwell.
A husband and wife partnership, Sergio and Anna represent all that is great about a neighbourhood bar, great drinks, friendly service and showcasing the best of the local community.
We caught up with Sergio to find out more…
Can you give us a quick history of the bar
Funkidory is five years this October. We started the business with me behind the bar and Anna on the floor.
We focussed on building up a team, then the pandemic came and we changed the business to a retail business selling pre-bottled cocktails, spirits, natural wines and vinyl which is what we are known for now.
We recently had a baby and were then invited to open a second site Mama Funki in Camberwell which we couldn’t refuse.
Being invited to open a bar sounds pretty great, how did that come about?
Funkidory is based in Peckham and we had a close personal relationship with the owners of Forza Win, a restaurant that was operating nearby in the Bussey Building.
They have taken on a new site in Camberwell, at the launch they showed us the downstairs space, it used to be a bar so all the infrastructure was there and it felt too good an opportunity to miss and so Mama Funki is now open. They are separate businesses with different entrances but in the same building.
How do the bars compare to each other?
Funkidory is street level, smaller and brighter than Mama Funki which is a large basement bar. Both venues have a similar musical style of hip-hop, funk and soul and the drinks list has the same ethos but it will take time for us to understand our regulars and which drinks work.
We’ve launched an opening menu but it will evolve as we get feedback from the people that visit, we’ve been through that process at Funkidory and we know our customers well.
Can you tell us about the drinks program?
As a neighbourhood bar we like to collaborate with local producers. At Funkidory we have Kanpai Sake from the local Sake brewery, a Peckham-based Mead and lots of our own infusion.
Although we sell a lot of classics, people seem to go for the signature serves that we’ve created which I would describe as quite experimental.
Our current best seller is Rye Lane with Rye Whiskey, Amber Vermouth, Fennel Seed Syrup, Olive brine and served with a big olive.
I think people trust us and we love this one. We vet every cocktail before it goes on the list and consider them as a team so we have a variety of palettes involved.
We change the list once a year, I’m not a fan of changing constantly, I don’t mind evolving the drink. Rye Lane was off menu, it was a verbal sell but the locals loved it and asked it to go on the menu.
Can you recommend a great drink to make at home?
Our Holy Negroni is a really popular low abv variation on the S’bagliato which is similar to a Negroni.
25ml Campari, 25ml Sweet Vermouth, topped up with a sharp effervescent Kombucha, we use JARR raspberry Kombucha, and I would encourage you to try some variations. Garnish with a long zest of lemon with the oils on top.
You simply build in the glass which would ideally be chilled, and build it over a full glass of ice.
Low abv, full of flavour.
What makes a great neighbourhood bar for you?
It’s important to make people feel comfortable, although we were proud of our cocktails we don’t insist on people buying cocktails, it’s whatever they want.
It’s about creating relationships and just being friendly. The drinks need to be tasty and interesting but you have to be service focused, we are not invasive but we are available and on-hand throughout if you want to engage, learn more about the drinks or just chat.
Yes, we want the drinks to speak for themselves but I think it is the total service that is important.
Although the pandemic was hard for everyone, it helped us to get to know people who lived locally that had been commuting to work previously and by adapting our business with the vinyl shop, takeaway cocktails and natural wines we got to know the people in our neighbourhood.
As former residents of Peckham, we can attest that the drinks and service you receive at Funkidory are second-to-none.
A passionate team who care about service and their drinks we with Funkidory and Mama Funki the very best moving forwards.