A little bit of Craft & Courage
Updated: Jun 5
Say hi to Mark and Ela, the couple behind Craft & Courage on Westow Hill.
Craft & Courage has been part of the Crystal Palace high street scene since 2017. Opening their first bottle shop Craft Tooting in Tooting's Broadway Market in 2016, as a career change for Mark, who previously worked in film and chance to rebalance family life for both.
One year later, on the look out for bigger premises, they expanded to Crystal Palace. One visit was enough to fall in love with SE19 and its exciting array of indie options.
First came another off-licence bottle shop (Craft Palace), followed by a local move over the road for an onsite serving licence and extensive renovations to create a shop, cosy taproom, a sun-trap garden on Westow Hill.
What's in a name?
Craft, of course, stands for the huge variety of craft beer, a long-standing passion for Mark and the prompt for his career change from filming and editing.
Courage is liquid confidence ‘Dutch Courage’ bringing us to C&C’s second passion: craft gin. They stock over 50 varieties in the bar.
This includes their popular bespoke ‘Antenna Gin’ launched in 2019, available in blue and pink, and now produced on-site in their own summer house distillery in Crystal Palace.
The recipe for Antenna pink is based on a family liqueur recipe passed down from Ela's family in Poland.
If you've ever wondered what a small batch gin distillery looks like...
The magic happens right here, in these gleaming metal stills in SE19.
What to expect when you visit...
You can definitely expect a warm welcome from knowledgeable and easygoing staff, a great variety of beers, including vegan and gluten-free options, the gins, a selection of wines and a batch of chilled alcohol-free beers for dry drinkers in the house.
Something for everyone and dog-friendly too. The taproom has a relaxed shabby chic vibe, booth-seating, retro gaming and a collection of curios dotted around; many collected from Crystal Palace’s wide range of antiques and vintage shops. Also, some of Mark's photography adorns the walls, with a nod to life behind the camera.
Craft & Courage has kept it local with partnerships with SE19 businesses on food. Mediterranea teamed-up during tricky lockdown times with an ample supply of focaccia for taproom customers. A supplier from Crystal Palace Park Market kindly obliged with ’substantial’ scotch eggs (remember them?) and now Craft & Courage has a cool ongoing collab with Yard Sale Pizza: drink-in + order-in one of those splendidly huge pizzas to share and make an evening of it.
You can also catch up with the Craft & Courage team outdoors with kegs and a hand-picked selection of supplies at Crystal Palace Park Market each Sunday, for al fresco purchases and sipping while you explore the stalls and street-food traders.
Craft & Courage is committed to supporting a rotation of local brewers with cans, bottles and draught, with a core of regular favourites. South London has such a huge range of local breweries and microbreweries, so there are always plenty of local options to try and explore. Check out C&C on Instagram for the latest ranges and new additions on the shelves.
Mark and Ela want to thank their loyal team for their support and adaptability during lockdowns and willingness to show-up and offer takeouts, growler refills, prep the UberEats home-delivery packs (which are still available), provide seated service, drinks under the awning in the back garden, bookings, check-ins or whatever the ever-changing lockdown rulebook decreed at the time.
As time goes by
This in turn helped them gain a whole new group of locally-based customers, who happily, have stayed committed to the charms of Craft & Courage and keep coming back for more.
Both sing the praises of Crystal Palace for its community spirit, the park, cool places and sheer volume of independent businesses. There really is nowhere quite like it. And they thank the community for all the love and support shown through thick and thin since they arrived in Palace.
As Mark says “It blew my mind when I first visited Crystal Palace five years ago. And it still does!”
Thanks to the whole team at Craft & Courage, 28 Westow Hill, SE19 1RX