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Clapham area guide

Discover the best restaurants, pubs, bars and things to do in SW4

Clapham has had a bit of a resurgence in popularity in the last couple of decades. Gentrification projects in the '80s made the area a desirable place to live, and restaurants, bars and pubs started blossoming near Clapham Common. A night out in Clapham tends to be more relaxed than in other parts of London, but the bars and pubs still make sure a good party is easy to find. Clapham restaurants are perfect for everything from lazy brunches to large dinners for rowdy revellers. If that's not enough, there are plenty of things to do nearby, including club nights, concerts and a bit of theatre. Should all that be a bit too much, you can always lounge around on Clapham Common.

What are your favourite Clapham haunts? Let us know in the comments.

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Dairy

Recycled furniture, workshop light fittings, a bar serving craft beers: it might look like another beer and burger joint, or maybe a New York Italian ‘small plates’ place, but the Dairy doesn’t churn out a formula. Seasonal British ingredients are treated with a level of finesse that would be the envy of many Japanese restaurants. You realise this from the very start. A robata grill is used not just for grilling meats, but for smoking the butter (using applewood chips). A pat of this butter is served on a big beach pebble, with some of the Dairy’s wholesome own-made bread. This sort of attention to detail permeates the kitchen’s menu. Beautifully crafted rustic plates are used to present simple dishes such as a warm salad of new potatoes, sorrel leaves and a generous amount of fresh truffle, grated at the table. A fillet of mackerel is charred on the grill then placed on fennel, with its complementary hint of anise flavour; the plate decorated with a smear of cucumber and a fresh dill frond. Beef short rib is slow cooked for 24 hours before being served with grilled spring onions and bone marrow.This is fancy cooking: not what you expect in a neighbourhood restaurant. Chef Robin Gill and his wife Sarah used to work at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. They’ve also acquired plenty of experience at several other high-end restaurants in London and elsewhere. They both hail from Dublin, but are now Brixton locals, and, with their colleagues, have created this food-led, but very app

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Venn Street Records

Close to Clapham Common, next to the Picturehouse and set slightly back from the chavalcade of chain bars on the High Street, is a new vinyl-clad venue on Venn Street (hence the name). The site that formerly housed Gilt has been remodelled into a rock and roll drinker bedecked in bare brick with splashes of neon, its walls adorned with retro album covers, flyers, music memorabilia and other bits of pop paraphernalia. Even the gents toilets have been given a musical makeover with bawdy album covers featuring boobs and babes and ranging from Burt Bacharach to Bolero and Boy George. Spread over two levels, its leather couches and velvet stools are usually filled with a typically comfortable-looking and not overly rock 'n' roll Clapham crowd. The whole place feels a little too designed and deliberate, like an English rugby player with a tattoo, and needs some serious scruffing-up. But while it lacks the authentic down and dirty vibe of, say, a Dalston dive bar, the drinks more than delivered. Cocktails cover twists on some classics and tongue-in-cheek kitsch with options including the AC/Daiquiri, the Pina Colada and the Raisins ‘n’ Apricots made with apricot-infused Woodford Reserve bourbon and Pedro Ximenez sherry. It's good to see a broader view of beers too with Brewdog’s Punk IPA and 77Lager available alongside Estaminet, a crisp pilsner from Belgium, and a kriek (cherry) beer. There are no eating options as yet but food, according to the staff, will be served from late Mar

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Brickwood

This café, just over the road from Clapham Common tube, is one of the new wave of Antipodean-style cafés that make much of their brunch menu (served  here until 3pm), and their coffee - all the equipment and beans here are tip-top. The two-floor interior’s fashionably rough and ready, and there’s a yard at the back with outside seating ­– not catching on the sun on our midday visit, but this didn’t deter hardier diners.  The dishes are attractively presented with smears of colour and pretty leaf garnishes and sprouts, but at heart, this is simple food based around baking, hot grilled sandwiches and fry-ups. The eggs were perfectly poached, the fried bits perfectly fried. And the flavours worked, even odd combos such as beetroot, corn fritters and halloumi, and an extra of smashed avocado. On both of our visits months apart, the service was amateurish. Waits were long, orders forgotten, coffee clumsily made, and – on one visit - the meal bill given as a verbal total, rather than itemised so that it could be checked. Be warned too that with add-on prices for many ‘extras’, the bill can come to more than you might expect.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Shopping

Venn Street Market

Venn Street was pedestrianised by Lambeth Council in 2012 in a conscious effort to gentrify this corner of Clapham, and the weekly market is now open every Saturday 10am-4pm. Traders include Perry Court Farm for fresh produce, Dorset-based Portland Scallop Co. for fish and shellfish caught by day boats, and Une Normande à Londres for French cheeses and charcuterie. There are also several places to choose from for brunch, lunch or a drink and a snack. Venn Street makes an admirable effort to engage with the local community by supporting school events and projects.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Attractions

Clapham Common

Clapham Common provides an oasis of peace amid the busy traffic of south west London, with Holy Trinity Church, which dates from 1776, at its perimeter. A number of cafés, sporting facilities, two playgrounds and a skate park make the common a lively recreational facility for locals. Originally built in 1890, Clapham Common’s bandstand is the largest in London. After falling into disrepair in the 1960s, the bandstand was restored and reopened and now hosts a variety of open-air concerts during the summer months.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Eating out in Clapham

Restaurants

Clapham's best restaurants

Clapham is home to many great restaurants that provide exceptional food at more-than-reasonable prices

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Restaurants

Cheap eats in Clapham

Clapham may look too presentable to be hiding bargains, but even those on a budget can eat their fill

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See more restaurants in Clapham

Bars and pubs in Clapham

Bars and pubs

WC - Wine & Charcuterie

The picket fence goes up by 6pm, partioning off a little patch of ground next to Clapham Common’s tube station. The folding tables then fill up in minutes with glass-clinking sybarites, attracting the stares of zipped-up commuters. A former public toilet, integral to the Tube station but derelict for years, has reopened as a wine bar, and transformed its tiny outside space into a new drinking terrace. The ‘WC’ sign on the Tube station building now refers to Wine & Charcuterie, the winning bid out of 450 applicants to redevelop this unusual subterranean and above ground space. 

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Bobbin

In a quiet residential street not far from Clapham Common, Bobbin is an appealing neighbourhood gastropub. It has a changing rota of proper ales (perhaps St Austell Tribute or something from Sambrooks), good wines by the glass, a cosy front room, and an airy conservatory at the rear. The menu’s the main focus, with typical gastropub dishes done well. Our ribeye steak (£17.50) was well-hung, tender and grilled correctly rare as requested; the chips were of the chunky, skin-on type, and the salsa verde added kick.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Craft Beer Company

It’s a joy to find a proper neighbourhood pub that serves a brilliant range of beers from small producers. Hand-crafted cask ales, guest kegs, and of course an array of exotic bottles. Not that you’d need recourse to the fridge when there are around 30 beers on tap, ranging from an easy-drinking house pale ale, through aromatic weiss beer, to sour, Belgian-style gueuze, all sold by the half or pint. This pub is beer-spotters’ heaven, the brews carefully curated by enthusiastic staff who treat the establishment as if it’s their own, despite it being the fourth in a small London chain (there’s a fifth in Brighton too).

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

King & Co

Craft brews, draft ales and real ciders, plus pop-up kitchen residencies by street food vans. This is the sort of pub we’d like to see in every neighbourhood.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

No 32 The Old Town

High summer on Clapham Common, and everyone and everything is out – the sun, the bare legs, the six-packs (both kinds). But when the bevvies are finished it’s time to head to the pub. Every year Clapham’s bars face onslaughts as sunburned and inebriated groups descend on them like Visigoths on Rome. This was a new experience for No 32, which opened days before the hottest weekend of the year so far. Yet the staff coped well, smiling and keeping pace with the orders in a packed bar.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The Rookery

The busy A24 runs along the western edge of Clapham Common. A few alfresco bars and a growing number of sheesha joints cluster at the southern end, but the Rookery sits in the middle – and is a class apart. Inside, it’s decorated in the current metropolitan look of bare brick with artsy industrial details. But this is more than somewhere to sip a flat white, savour a glass of Meantime Pale Ale or nurse a cocktail glass; it’s also great for dining. 

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Venn Street Records

Close to Clapham Common, next to the Picturehouse and set slightly back from the chavalcade of chain bars on the High Street, is a new vinyl-clad venue on Venn Street (hence the name). The site that formerly housed Gilt has been remodelled into a rock and roll drinker bedecked in bare brick with splashes of neon, its walls adorned with retro album covers, flyers, music memorabilia and other bits of pop paraphernalia.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Restaurants

Bodean's

Walking into Bodean’s is an invitation to have a good time. Decked out with Americana – from beer trays and antler lamps on the walls, to flatscreen TVs showing baseball or the NFL – the Clapham branch of this mini-chain has gone the whole hog on its rib-shack theme, with country and western music and chummy staff to boot. Much of the restaurant consists of leather booths, encouraging a relaxed, family-style approach to dining. 

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Comments

5 comments
Jane G
Jane G

Thursday 9 October - One night only! - book tickets on 020 7498 4699

DYLAN THOMAS: RETURN JOURNEY

From the Poetry and Prose of Dylan Thomas

Devised and performed by Bob Kingdom

Original direction by Anthony Hopkins

Over 80,000 people around the world have enjoyed this critically acclaimed production.

"A thrilling lyrical journey" - The Guardian

http://www.omnibus-clapham.org/

Asia S
Asia S

The Moscow State Circus returns to the UK after its summer break with its latest & greatest production to date, set in the mystical centre of Moscow’s cultural & artistic quarter ‘PARK GORKOGO’ (Gorky Park) is the perfect seasonal back drop for what is undoubtedly the greatest & most famous circus on earth.


To buy 2 full price adult tickets for the price of 1 call the on site box office on 0203 375 3970 and qoute the promo code JUGGLER.


helen o
helen o

Clapham is one of the nicest places to live in London, although I am aware that it has a reputation for middle class 'posiness' and yummy mummysm and thus there has been a backlash against it, largely also because of its sprawling nature and history of being South London's original gentrification epicentre and its manic Friday/Saturday nightlife and tawdry bars. This was where the waves of gentrification originally spread out from in the 1980s to engulf Balham in the noughties and more recently neighbouring Brixton and East Dulwich and Peckham further away.  Historically Clapham was a the place to go for a night out by younger South Londoners and still remains so even though cultural visitors from north of the river will opt for Brixton Village or Peckham these days. Clapham's central attraction is its Common. 

ClaphamTaxi
ClaphamTaxi

I am new in Clapham and i was searching for the best restaurants and bars in clapham, suddenly i saw this post and i found this list quite informative, tonight i am going to "Trinity" with my friend.

Fabiana
Fabiana

My fevourite place is called Via Caracciolo Pizzeria in Lavander Hill. They just opened two weeks ago and pizza it's just the one that you would eat in Naples. And homemade Tiramisù it's just like heaven!!!!!! Definitively 100% reccomend!!!