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Scott Wishart

Craft beer, brutalist buildings and Um Bungo cocktails: it's the best bits of Croydon

Written by
Time Out London contributor

Croydon is great. No honestly, there’s loads of good stuff. Seriously

What’s the vibe?

A disgruntled, much-mocked borough that’s now kicking back against the haters, Croydon offers both concrete cityscape and leafy suburbia (in some parts, at least), with more than its fair share of both parks and modernist buildings. For green spaces, head to the top of Addington Hills, where you can survey south London in all its splendour. And for fans of brutalism it doesn’t get much better than No 1 Croydon, aka the ‘Threepenny Bit Building’, which greets you on your arrival at East Croydon station.

And where should I eat?

While the area may be the victim of a plague of chain restaurants, chicken shops and sub-standard Chinese buffets, there are some gems to be found in the South Croydon ‘restaurant district’, perhaps most notably the superb Albert’s Table on South End. It’s the kind of perfect modern British restaurant all towns wish they had, and may well signal the beginnings of gentrification in Croydon...


Gentrification? Then there must be craft beer here!

What would a London borough be without its own craft brewery? The Cronx Brewery (Vulcan Way) opened in 2012 in New Addington, and regularly hosts open days where you can sample the hyper-local IPAs and porters.

If it’s got craft beer, it must have pop-ups, right?

Reportedly there’s a Boxpark on the cards, but don’t get too hung up on that: Croydon is home to a bold new breed of drinking experience. Street Cocktails is strictly at the suck-it-and-see end of the contemporary mixology spectrum. Recently hosting a pop-up at Croydon on the Beach in Ruskin Square, these guys concoct wacky beverages from cornershop staples like Um Bongo and Supermalt.

Ewan Munro

So, what about a good pub?

Wander down the backstreets and you’ll stumble across some proper local boozers. Two worth mentioning are The Dog & Bull (Surrey Street Market) and The Oval Tavern (Oval Road), five minutes from East Croydon station and the pub used in ‘Peep Show’.

Any culture around?

There’s the adorably tiny David Lean Cinema on Katharine Street, and Fairfield Halls. Back in the day you could have seen The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk perform here; now it’s more of a ‘David Hasselhoff: the Musical’ kind of place. Praise be, then, for the recently opened Matthew’s Yard, off Surrey Street. It’s an exhibition space, theatre venue, café and studio space. Yeah, culture. Croydon-haters, take that! 

By Ellen Godwin, who is looking forward to being crowned Queen of the Cronx now that this article is out. 

Fancy a change of scene? Take a look at the best bits of Chiswick.

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