Penny At The Old Vic

A new cafe at the historic theatre

Spend your time at the Penny, the brand new all-day cafe at The Old Vic theatre.

The venue’s Pit Bar has been transformed into “a place to engage with and experience new thoughts in food and art”.

Julian Porter, 25, and Lauren Johns, 27, the young team behind Milk in Balham, and Fields in Clapham Common, are the brains behind the new look.

The renovation is designed to create an environment in which non-theatre goers and theatre lovers alike can while away the hours, sheltered from the hustle and bustle of Waterloo and Southwark.

Inspiration for the name came from the Penny Lectures - a series of talks hosted in the halls of The Old Vic in 1882, designed to encourage new thinking and ideas among the people of London.

And it really is a place for all. During the day it is ideal for somewhere to meet, have good coffee or grab some brunch over a meeting, but later the stage is set for a perfect place to savour a glass of wine and enjoy some delicious food.

And on that note, Penny serves food and drink from local producers with simplicity and provenance at the heart of the offering. Speciality coffee from Workshop Coffee, Clerkenwell, is on offer alongside an all day menu flowing from breakfast into a relaxed evening service. Dishes range from morning pastries from Little Bread Peddler in Bermondsey, to ‘smashed avocado, Sussex ricotta, garden herbs on Brixton sourdough’ and ‘poached organic Oxfordshire eggs with herb salt.’ Seasonal salads and small plates include ‘beechwood smoked anchovies on toast, chilli salt’ and a selection of cured meats and cheeses from the British Isles served with acorn flour crisps. There is also an exciting selection of natural wines from biodynamic producers across the continent and craft beers from London and abroad. Fresh juices are available throughout the day and draw from seasonal fruit from New Covent Garden Market such as ‘blood orange, watermelon and wild ginger’.

Penny, which launched on September 1, complements a refurb of the front of house spaces to tie in with the launch of Matthew Warchus’ first season as Artistic Director.

This marks the beginning of a five-year plan to deliver the theatre for the future, which includes a full-scale restoration of the historic Grade II-listed building to start once funds permit.

Warchus’ predecessor Kevin Spacey worked tirelessly to save The Old Vic from imminent demise and built the foundations for a sustainable and secure future, while investing in emerging talent. Now that the baton has been passed, it is Warchus’ desire to prepare the venue for its new ambitions.

The Old Vic, a theatre that reaches out to other parts of the community, will be donating a penny for each item sold at Penny to a charity inspired by the themes of the show on the main stage at the time.

++ Penny’s opening hours are 8am–1am Monday–Wednesday and 8am–2am Thursday and Friday, Saturday 10am–2am. Visit at The Old Vic, The Cut, London SE1 8NB. For more, see www.oldvictheatre.com