Campfire in Kings Cross: Two Tribes deliver everything you’ve been missing with a night of beer, BBQ and live music
Arriving at the inconspicuous entrance to Campfire, which is tucked away round the back of some warehouses in the industrial bowels of Kings Cross, feels a little bit like walking into a back-alley ambush in a Guy Ritchie movie. But after following some promisingly heavy-looking crates into what we hope is Two Tribes Brewery – some of us will brave anything for the prospect of being fed – it’s hard to believe their bright and buzzing new outdoor venue could have been so well camouflaged. It’s more than just the sight of beer on tap, the smell of the barbecue and the boom of the bass that strikes you upon entrance: this outdoor firepit and taproom is also a burning beacon of hope after four months spent socialising with the cat. There’s even something quite therapeutic about seeing the sign still in construction, as if its completion is some kind of symbolic ritual and not just a product of the mad rush before the launch.
Two Tribes founder and chief Justin Deighton has always been passionate about creating not just a product but a culture, and it is this ethos which laid the foundations for the Beer + Music + Art brand. He first conceived of Campfire in 2019 after hosting an open-air event inspired by pagan fire festivals, the success of which drove him to provide a more permanent performance platform for the UK’s best live fire chefs and top musical talent. In-house pit residents From the Ashes BBQ take up a regular spot over the coals from Thursday to Saturday, while an impressive roster of guest chefs, beginning with Adam Handling, will be invited to take over every Monday to Wednesday alongside a changing line-up of music acts. Tonight’s soundtrack comes from DJ Peter Herbert, who helps fuel the atmosphere with bars of Fleetwood Mac and the kind of ambient beats that animate a space without intruding. The eclectic, almost trippy artwork lining the converted freight containers also make for fun decoration – well matched by the vibrant labels of the beers, which mesmerise with their psychedelic design.
The drinks themselves, a selection of signature and exclusive brews, are the colour of liquid gold, seeming to draw in the last dregs of sunlight. Thai cooking-inspired Metroland World Tour is a real smooth treat, brewed with oats for a soft mouthfeel, while the Folk New Zealand Pale Ale leaves a satisfying citrus finish. Our personal favourite, though, is the New Romantic Pineapple and Coconut Berliner Weisse, layered with tropical fruit and likened to the beery equivalent of a piña colada – but without any of the sickly sweetness. If you’re looking for something light, The Metroland Session IPA and Dream Factory Pale Ale would also make easy drinking on an al fresco afternoon.
As testament, our glasses are drained all too easily, so it’s lucky that there’s also enough hearty food on hand to soak up your pint. From the Ashes seems a particularly fitting name in the current climate, and the team certainly produce a barbecue banquet worth rising out of the lockdown for. This is primal food reimagined: in an ingenious twist, the smoked pork shoulder is served up in a sugar-coated doughnut with BBQ sauce, chilli jam and a sprinkle of crackling, with an earthy mushroom alternative for the vegetarians. Then follows a round of flatbreads straight from the oven, carrying that irresistible char and topped with tender chicken (or feta) and red onions alongside humous, peppers and a fresh tabbouleh. We also sample a veggie course in the form of two crunchy tostadas – the first is a sweet mash of butternut squash, burnt oil, goat’s cheese, pomegranate molasses and pine nuts, and the second combines aubergine, salsa pico de gallo and roasted cherry tomatoes. While vegans can certainly be catered to, our final course is a celebration of quality meat: succulent smoked and grilled pork belly is served up with BBQ sauce and pickles, alongside Argentinian-style sausages with fresh chimichurri.
If you’re looking for a way to ease back into the social scene, Campfire is certainly a worthy initiation. Two Tribes’ al fresco venue delivers all the things you miss about of your favourite pubs and clubs without being cramped or rowdy, and there’s a reassuring focus on safety here, with the tables adequately distanced, a sanitiser stationed on every table and masks worn by all the staff. The grill is hot, the beer is cold and the vibe is perfectly chilled.
Photos: Azhul Mohamed
Campfire is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 10pm and Saturday from 12pm to 10pm. For further information or to book, visit the Two Tribes website here.