You may well have heard mixed reviews about Clapham. They probably involve questionable nights out at Infernos or complaints that the place is just “full of graduates”. Although both true, don’t let them put you off. Clapham is a wonderful place that takes up a chunk of South West – almost like a world of its own. There are plenty of reasons to pay a visit, even if you’re not a resident.
1. The Pavement, Old Town
This quaint little area is to the corner of the Common (nearest Clapham Common station) and consists of a charming row of cafes, restaurants and shops. Ones to keep on your radar include Tart, The Dairy (a lovely spot for al fresco dining) and Madeleine – a patisserie with mouth-watering window displays. On warm days, the Pavement is the perfect place to grab a table and watch the world go by.
2. There’s a public loo that’s now a restaurant
As you leave Clapham Common station you’re immediately met with Joe Public (serving up pizza slices) and WC – Wine and Charcuterie. Downstairs in the old public loo, they serve up a varied wine selection alongside boards of meat and cheese and other small plates. The atmosphere is intimate – yes, the old toilet tiles still remain, but they only add to the (seductive?) ambience of the dimly lit, underground restaurant. Who would have thought that a public bog would make the perfect spot for a first date? Saucy. They also run live music throughout the weekend and Monday evenings.
Check out other toilets that have been converted to restaurants and bars.
3. There are some bad ass brunch spots
Brunching was made to satisfy the South West Londoner, so, naturally, Clapham has some killer brunch spots. Brookwood is great if you don’t mind waiting a bit. No 32. is lovely for outside dining – and they do a mean avocado cheese toastie – but it can be a little on the pricey side. The Jam Tree do a fantastic bottomless boozy brunch every weekend – if you order an item on the menu you get endless Prosecco for an additional £17.50.
4. Clapham Picturehouse
This cinema not only (and very importantly) has a bar, but has an old-fashioned, arty vibe that makes for a more intimate screening than one at your average Cineworld. They play a mixture of popular blockbuster releases, as well as artier films. To see what’s on at the moment, check here.
76 Venn St, London SW4 0AT
5. There are some lovely bars to explore…
Our hot list includes Powder Keg (pictured above) on St John’s Hill, which combines the best of the British and Victorian influences, resulting in its beautifully quirky designs. You can dine, drink and order cocktails from the Victorian-clad barmen. Another one to try is restaurant-come-nightclub, Fu Manchu, which is beneath the railway arches near Clapham High Street. It offers delicious cocktails as well as a great selection of dim sum. With the Fever app, you can also get Prosecco for 4 for only £15 here.
147 St John’s Hill SW11 1TQ
6. And some lovely beer gardens
Near Clapham North station you have both the Falcon and the Landor, which have spacious pub gardens out that back, which are ideal for big groups. Towards Clapham South, there’s the ever-popular Gigalum (the smaller garden is known to get extremely busy) and the Windmill, which is bang on the common.
7. Venn Street
Venn Street is not only home to Clapham Picturehouse, but also flaunts a line up of great restaurants. Gastro, Argan and Honest Burger all help bring the pedestrianised street to life on beautiful summer evenings, as dining tables sprawl out onto the pavement. Every Saturday, a medium sized food market pulls up, serving plenty of fresh produce as well as a variety of tasty goods, such as hemp brownies, freshly baked bread and mushroom pate. Tasting is highly welcomed.
8. The Common
Of course, we can’t talk about Clapham without mentioning its large bit of green space. With plenty of spacious fields and long open paths, this place is amazing for picnicking, running around, getting involved in organised team sports or simply chilling in the sun. It’s also home to festivals such as SW4 and frequent events; Campo Viejo, for instance, opened up a floating pop up bar on the pond this summer. Shame it couldn’t stay permanently!
The Moscow State Circus are also currently performing on Clapham Common. Tickets are only £14 – you can book them here.