The Exhibit

Bars and pubs , Café bars Balham
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(41 user reviews)
213 Love It
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Venue says: "NYE Champagne and glitter party! £25 for entry and a glass of bubbles. £65 for a four-course meal. See more info on our website."

A large hub of entertainment in south London that is a bar, restaurant, cinema, gallery, live music and comedy club, and yoga studio rolled into one. The focus, though, is on the food and drink.

Expect an all day menu ranging from the 'full Exhibit' (avocado on toast, chorizo, tiger prawns, black beans and eggs) to buttermilk-fried chicken burgers, linguine vongole and pan-fried sea bass with garlic and coriander prawns, samphire and lemon. 

The drinks list is strong on cocktails, with elderflower martinis (gin, elderflower and cucumber) alongside a rum dog millionaire (rum, mango, lime, blackberry liqueur and ginger beer) and a watermelon cooler (tequila, watermelon, blueberries and lime). A short wine list and craft beers by the bottle and can also feature. 

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The Exhibit says
The Exhibit is an all-day drinking and eating hub based in south-west London with a revolving programme of events, as well as flexible spaces for hire. We have a boutique cinema, some beautiful areas and rooms for you to hire, a huge garden plus three floors of creativity for you to explore. For brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks.

We love to get involved, and host regular comedy nights and life-drawing classes, and have a DJ every Friday and Saturday where you can dance the night away! We have recently launched a new menu which includes vegan, veggie and classics, not to mention our desserts which we promise will be worth the extra calories! We also have a delicious selection of cocktails and craft beers which are served seven days a week.

What are you waiting for?

Offers to make your mouth water...

Free-flowing Fridays and Saturdays. Visit us for dinner and for just £15 have free-flowing wine during your meal. (Not at Christmas.)

Bottomless brunch - £20 for unlimited prosecco or bloody marys! Available Saturdays and Sundays.
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Venue name: The Exhibit
Contact:
Address: 12 Balham Station Rd
London
SW12 9SG
Transport: Tube: Balham
Do you own this business?

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:34
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|41
1 person listening
Jonathan G

The exhibit is the best bar, hands down. I live in the area, and frequent many bars regularly in the hope to find the next best thing. None have ever compared. Whether it's a chill movie night, a meet up with other young parents for lunch, a raving friday night, or a boozy brunch on the weekends, the exhibit literally caters for everyone.

David M

The cocktails are some of the best in town and love, love, love the outside space.

Elise B

I can find myself at The Exhibit for all different occasions: a quick coffee with a friend, a decent meal with my partner, a night out with friends and a breakfast with a bloody mary to recover! ;) It is spacious, but cosy and there's always a relaxed atmosphere. I keep on coming back!

Andre B

Great venue for functions, good food for any occasion and fantastic service.

Sharon C

We go more for the brunch than the pub, but the food is fantastic. The best chilaquiles I've had outside of NYC!

Florence M

Great for drinks and delicious food! Really friendly staff too. Private hire spaces and quirky cinema make the Exhibit the place to be in Balham!

Georgie
Tastemaker

I find myself a bit conflicted when it comes to The Exhibit. On the one hand i'm devastated by the referb - the removal of a proper dance floor (crowded as it may have been on a Saturday night, fun could always be guaranteed) has meant that the dancing you so desperately crave after several bevvies at the BBC or Hagen & Hyde can no longer be satisfied. While they move the tables and chairs aside for space to *kind of* dance around the bar area, it isn't quite the same as it once was. Earlier in the evenings the music is really loud so socialising inside isn't an option unless you're dining. It's kind of fenced itself off as an 'all night' venue and made it a last resort venue when the other places in Balham have kicked you out.


Restaurant wise: there are a few cracking dishes on their menu. The burgers pretty much always nail it - big, juicy and satisfying, and I still think very fondly of the Pollock, Langoustine and Potatas Bravas dish I enjoyed a few months ago. It was succulent and tender, sweet and tangy yet hearty and rich. If Deliveroo could bring that to my desk right now actually that'd be fab. The duck tacos are also a must-order from the starter section. A bit of a chinese meets mexican fusion, with jolts of tangy citrus and bold sweetness of hoisin. It hits a few key tastebuds that leave you very happy indeed.


When it comes to events at The Exhibit, there are plenty to choose from. Last night I went to the Gallery (on their top floor - this place is a creative tardis filled with rooms you'd never think existed) and spent 2 hours enjoying the bi monthly life drawing class run by Dan Whiteson who is a wonderful artist and a fantastic teacher. The 2 hours were spent experimenting with different techniques and approaches to life drawing, drawing on emotions, movement, light and music (the soundtrack to the night was incredible!) and by the end of the 2 hours we all had a selection of interesting images we had drawn of the beautiful (and brave) life model. You can drink throughout if you fancy, and I can tell you now, 2 hours of mindless creativity with a glass of red is better than any therapy you could ever want, and for only £7 including all your materials it's an absolute must do. 


So while I am sad that The Exhibit is no longer the place to go for a boogie on a weekend, it still has so many other brilliant qualities and things to enjoy there, there really is something for everyone.

Livvi AT
Tastemaker

The Exhibit used to be a Balham stronghold; cool bartenders, reasonably priced delicious cocktails, great music, (live and playlists) and an aquarium. What more could you want?

Well, those behind the Exhibit seem to think a lot more. Last year, it was completely refurbished and with the removal of the old sofas and wooden bar, along went the vibe and essence of the place. Don’t get me wrong, the Exhibit now looks super slick. Black and white tiles, edgey lights, a square central bar, but it has now become another typical bar  and I long for the grimy Exhibit of days gone by.

Some say that its inclusion of a boozy brunch has saved those prosecco and bacon craving Balhamites. But the brunch, when nestled just around the corner from proper brunch powerhouses such as M1lk and Brickwood, is a tad disappointing. The staff were clueless and most of the dishes were not on the menu (who knows they may be the better ones), but the ones we ordered unfortunately fell short of the breakfast bar. The Chilaquiles with spicy tomato salsa, avocado, sour cream and cheese (though the last three ingredients were so non-existent, that I am surprised they can add them to the menu) were initially tasty, but on further munching, were overwhelmed with spice and heat which became a bit dull and instead of being light and crispy, were soggy and doughy in the middle. The French toast croissant served with poached pear and Chantilly cream is a really innovative idea, and one I think if tailored with, could be a winner, but in fact the dish was just a bit bland.

The burgers are still as good as ever; juicy, satisfying and with creative toppings and the cinema on the top floor shows retro films in a cool location, however I can’t help but feel that the Exhibit has sold out. Its bouncers now randomly select over-21 nights, are rude to locals who have been coming for years and the food and atmosphere is somewhat lacklustre. A real shame. 

Lise M
Tastemaker

As I was looking for a nice place to brunch in South West London where I’ve just moved, I’ve randomly found The Exhibit. I was quite surprise as it’s not only a restaurant but also an independent cinema and a party venue.

I’ve been caught by their weekend bottomless brunch offer…yes…bottomless meaning unlimited bubbles or Bloody Mary’s! The food is delicious and freshly made. I highly recommend their eggs benedict which are amazing and very well seasoned. 

The staff was very friendly and accommodating. As they were fully booked for brunch, they gently found a place for us - and make sure that my friend’s diet requirement was well executed by the Kitchen. 

Overall, it’s a cool spot with a great atmosphere where to brunch. I’m definitely going back for lunch or dinner - or even for a movie. 

grant c

Not been to this neck of the woods since I left three years ago and this week, when friends suggested we meet at The Exhibit I can't say I was that chuffed to return. From memory, which admitted is a bit hazy The Exhibit was a music cheese fest with copious drink offers.


Well I did go, on the promise that there have been a few changes......and what changes!!  The Exhibit is fantastic, the vibe is very current, with great staff who welcomed me like a long lost friend (of course I didn't know any of them!). Not intending to eat much we ordered a couple of the small (tapas style) dishes just to snack on. A few hours in and we had pretty much gone through the menu! The food had a very eclectic mix of flavors which went down surprisingly well with the excellent cocktails.  The place has a great contemporary feel and for a Thursday night it was buzzing with activity, with a play list that made me wish it had been the weekend!  

My move away from South London for North was partly driven by finding places like The Exhibit, it seems I left too soon!


Great venue, I'll be back.

Kirsty S
tastemaker

So this review is for the Movie Quiz, Dinner Menu and Cocktails.


The movie is dull and unimaginative, the organisers took it upon themselves to plug their Tarantino NYE party which destroyed the quiz and atmosphere, I wouldn't go again it isn't interactive or fun!


The cocktail menu is very expensive with no happy hour incentives. The service highlights a lack of care. I ordered a drink and when it was brought over to me , the staff took it upon themselves to substitute ingredients without asking me and after I had already paid. Needless to say, the drink was not that nice !


The food is actually nice and on tastecard which makes it a nice option. The burgers look impressive, I opted for a few tapas dishes. The dishes could be more descriptive so we actually know what we are getting. It is quite a unique fusion of British/Spanish/Caribbean. The jerk mutton is lovely and not too spicy, I enjoyed the goats cheese fritter and the calamari too!


I've said in past reviews this is more of an event space rather than a place you can go and socialise after work or on a dinner date etc. Some nice things but they really need to sort their drinks menu out. The pricing is top end for the area with not much attention to detail and no happy hours.

TamsinJo
Tastemaker

Rolled into the Exhibit on Halloween, after who knows how many episodes of saying to myself, must check that place out soon. Im so bored of saying that, I finally bit the bullet and took myself in to see what it's like.


It's really geared around being more of an 'event venue' I do like the central bar, but the whole feel of the place is a bit odd. The outside drinking terraces look fun, but to be fair, the whole place seemed a bit over-hyped and expensive for what it actually was.


Decor isn't really my thing, the update it has recently had seems a bit forced and I just didn't really get it. I am yet to try the food, but frankly would rather eat somewhere I feel has a better atmosphere. Eclectic mix of people - and very much an option for venue hire - but for casual drinking, give it a miss.

Jeanmarie R

I love The Exhibits mix of areas and events. You can pop in for a quick cocktail, meet up with friends after work, watch a film or have a full on night out. Oh and the staff are great!!!

Ashley B

Amazing venue. great party areas for special occasions. Staff are super friendly and food and cocktails are top notch!

Angela D

Great venue and amazing food which changes with excellent seasonal produce, and known farmers that produce the meat.

Silvia Y

Excellent ambiance, very good food at a fair price. Nice place to be with friends.

John C

Amazing place, can't wait to get back there, have recommended to so many friends

KirstyAnne87
Tastemaker

I'm not a fan of the refurbishments that were made to the exhibit. On a quiet weekday night, it is night to sit around the bar old school, Tom Cruise cocktail style and enjoy a few drinks.


The food is now tapas style and a quirky variety of British, Spanish and Caribbean which I don't really 'get'. Some of the food is nice but more often it has been given much attention to - it will come out cold, or wrong.


There is no happy hour at the Exhibit and considering a range of bars in the area that have a happy hour, I'm not sure how long they can keep that up!


It has clearly turned into an events space, and oh by the way we have a bar venue. If you have specifically booked for an event, I'm sure you will have fun but just to pop down on a night out, there are better bars around the area where you can waste your money for double the alcohol. 


Brunch looks lovely with the open area and fun outside garden.

Paul L

Great place, cant recommend highly enough! Private rooms are huge and with private bars in them plus the cinema is ace!

Chris D

The Exhibit is fantastic. A determined, driven transformation over the last few months, the owners behind this project have turned this venue into something that has allurement and attractiveness. Excellent up and coming area with the aberrant shadows of the passers-by meeting and mingling with one another to try the marvellous drinks on offer. True to word, an aspiring and intelligent kitchen that produces top quality varying menu's for the growing urbane community. Expressive and passionate venue, love it.

Toby W

Some fantastic creative food and drink concepts.... Espresso Martinis served with Smores and the Black Forrest Gateux cocktail served with meringue is simply to die for. The Tapas selection is well varied and made by some extremely talented chefs in the kitchen.

Adie G

Beautiful Food, Amazing Atmosphere, Great Staff........Enough said really.....Cute garden & Roof Terrace too!

Anthony D

Even though it's probably best known for being a bar, the food is incredible and their cinema it's the best place in London to watch a movie. Loads going on all of the time and super friendly staff.