Critics' choice

As busy and prominent as any local can be, this corner pub in Balham attracts all-comers, who sit and commune in a nondescript interior or at outdoor tables by busy traffic. No, that doesn’t sound attractive, but the Bedford succeeds because they’ve found the knack of making people feel comfortable.

After all the developments in pub culture over the last decade, mates, dates and strangers still make that easy text-message invitation of an afternoon: ‘Bedford?’

By then, the place is pretty full, and the day’s suggestions of steak sandwiches and pies wiped from the board behind the bar, but the likes of Timothy Taylor Landlord, O’Hanlon’s Yellowhammer and Sharp’s Doom Bar should still be on, and roughly ten wines should still be available.

The calendar takes in cabaret, comedy, music, dance classes, quiz nights… It’s still all happening at the Bedford.

Venue name: Bedford
Address: 77 Bedford Hill
SW12 9HD
Opening hours: Open 3pm-midnight Mon-Thur; 2pm-2am Fri; 11am-2am Sat; noon-midnight Sun. Food served 6.30-10pm Mon-Fri; noon-9.30pm Sat, Sun
Transport: Tube: Balham tube/rail

Average User Rating

1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 1 star:1
1 person listening
Pieter G

I visited here with my girlfriend on New Year's Eve to attend the comedy club we had heard so much about. A word of warning, The Bedford proclaims to be a comedy club and a specialist in this area - in reality they don't care about their customers at all, you are a walking wallet they want to exploit for the most money. Before the last act had even left the stage on New Year's Eve the bouncers were already out stalking each table you had paid more than good money for and shouting on you that it has to be moved. Why you're thinking? Because they want to clear it as soon as they can so they can host a 'disco' in the area for all of the drunk punters from the main pub to encourage as much alcohol to be consumed as possible with little regard for their 'comedy' night or those who have paid money to see it. The last act was walking off the stage when the bouncers emerged, my girlfriend was in the toilet at the time having made a dash as the last act finished. I was told directly by the nearest bouncer to get off my table as he was clearing it away, no manners here. I did so standing there in amazement as he did the same to everyone else in attendance no matter if they were just finishing their drink or not. He then came to the chair I had moved out of his way with my girlfriend's coat on it. Shouting that I had to move the coat "now", I dared suggest that if he gave me a couple of minutes my girlfriend would be back from the toilet and we could check it in. A reasonable request not delivered aggressively or drunkenly as we had been out for dinner before and shared one bottle of wine that night. He responded by grabbing my arm, forcing it behind my back and marching me out to where all of his other bouncers were stood outside in an act of physical violence I've not experience before by people professing to be 'security'. Whilst doing this he felt the need to tell me that he "knew exactly what I was - trouble", he was "the authority around here and made the rules" and finally that "nothing you say goes because you're drunk and I know the police". In others words a complete abuse of power by a man who doesn't understand that customer service and help is in his job description. To say I'm disgusted is an understatement, I had to call my girlfriend at 11pm to say I had been kicked-out an hour before New Years Eve, and that she needed to get her coat from the chair - he he given up on it by then funnily enough. If you want to be treatment with contempt and like an animal by bouncers thirsty for a fight go to The Bedford, if not go to somewhere else that has more respect for the customers that keep their establishment going.