With cosy pubs, gorgeous stretches of greenery and a cracking nightlife scene, you’re spoilt for choice in SW4. Clapham’s impressive range of bars and restaurants make the area a popular choice for both locals and visitors, plus you can quickly get a ride to the popular surrounding neighbourhoods of Brixton or Balham.
If you’re looking for a daytime bite to eat or require a caffeine boost, try Black Lab Coffee House on Clapham Common. This independent multi-roaster coffee shop not only delivers the best coffee in town, but it’s also the perfect spot for foodies, with a menu that offers a whole range of mouthwatering sweet and savoury dishes. This charming little café will please even the fussiest of eaters from chicken or halloumi schnitzel to peanut butter blondies.
Clapham’s restaurant scene is remarkable and perhaps somewhat underrated. With plenty of options for everyone, from casual eateries like Baristo, a tapas restaurant that aims to bring a piece of Spain to South London, to the elegant Michelin Star restaurant Trinity.
The popular area has an impressive reputation when it comes to nightlife. With atmospheric pubs like the Prince of Wales and a collection of energetic bars to choose from, Clapham is a great location if you’re looking to have some fun after-hours. On the search for a party bar? Aquum is an excellent vibe with DJ’s playing the ultimate party anthems till 2am every weekend.
Where to drink
Right bang, smack in the centre of SW4 is Clapham Common. 220 acres of unspoilt green land with no less than three separate water features. Unsurprisingly, come summertime, it’s the central focus of the area. And as we all know, no London common worth its salt comes without at least one great pub on it. Large enough to house both a bar and a gastropub style restaurant, The Windmill may be one of many in the area but it’s the only pub that sits directly on the common. Meaning you can stroll in from a lazy day on the grass to have a pint in your hands in a matter of moments. It’s practically like being in the countryside.
Clapham Common South Side, SW4 9DE
No.32 The Old Town
Fresh, breezy and utterly compelling. Since it opened in 2014, No.32 has served as a bar, a restaurant, a great place for brunch and an all round winning place to hang out. Clapham is lucky to have a few places which boast outdoor seating but not many do so with the Mediterranean panache of No.32. Pop by for a coffee or a cocktail and you’ll not find a more pleasant place to socialise than their terrace. But far from resting on their considerable laurels, these guys have gone all guns blazing indoors as well. Creating a warm and inviting decor that has a bit of that Soho House boho chic about it.
32 The Pavement, SW4 0JE
Venn St Records
When it really gets going the main drag in Clapham can be just that – a bit of a drag. Too many people, not enough room. Which is why it’s important to know your way around some it’s less obvious streets. Venn St is one such alcove. And its eponymous bar, a hidden treasure of the highest order. Unsurprisingly this place comes with music at its heart. Rock, Indie, Soul, they play it all in here. And like any good rock ’n’ roll bar, their staff have got the attitude to go with it. Come by for happy hour, to grab one of their great pizzas or even for live music. It’s all good. A fantastic spot away from all the hubbub of Clapham High St.
78 Venn Street, SW4 0BD
Where to eat
Talk about creative. The Dairy is a restaurant on the rise. Since opening in the most non-descript fashion, the menu here has been causing a stir with everyone that’s been by. Set in beautiful Clapham Old Town, this place has all the cut and muster of a michelin starred, haute cuisine mecca of food. And yet it does it with such graceful reserve you almost don’t want to tell anyone about it. Lucky we’re such gossips really. Inside is a careful mish-mash of styles. Retaining the quaint but modern feel of the area and never letting on that the food is going to be quite so extraordinary. For the truly adventurous try the very reasonably priced tasting menu.
46-48 Clapham High Street SW4 7UR
Any gastropub that puts as much effort into its drinks as it does its excellent food menu is alright by us. The Rookery, while looking a lot like a pub (and still welcoming in drinkers), reserves its most cosy corners for diners. The food is unfussy and engaging – with the menu holding no real surprises. And yet, the Rookery maintains its popularity by creating a warm and buzzy environment for all kinds of visitors. Make sure you get a great beer or wine to pair with your food as there are plenty available. It’s rural and rustic and does it without surrendering any of the suburban glam you’d expect from a Clapham Common eatery.
69 Clapham Common South Side, SW4 9DA
|Experience the flavours of the Amalfi Coast when dining at Sorella. Choose from an all-Italian wine list while you indulge in a selection of small plates, whether it’s some truffle arancini or prosciutto antipasti, make sure you leave some room to treat yourself to their dark chocolate and amaretto Tiramisu for dessert.
148 Clapham Manor St SW4 6BX
What to do
What better place to stretch your legs than south London’s most famous park? Clapham Common stretches from Clapham Junction (which is actually in Battersea) right down to Clapham South. Which is a whole lot further than you might imagine. There’s ample space to walk, run, cycle or just sunbathe (provided the weather’s up to it), and many of the locals do just that. But above all it’s the serene beauty of Clapham Common and its neighbouring buildings that make it stand out. Just be wary, on a hot day, this place can get busy. Although if you choose your spot wisely you should be fine.
Windmill Dr, SW4 9DE
Venn St Market
Cheese, pate, artisan bread, scallops. These are not the fare of your average London market. But then were you really expecting a ‘traditional market’ in such a frightfully comfortable part of the city? Operating primarily as a farmer’s market, Venn St is a terrific trade point for people to get their produce direct from the source. Honestly, if you like food, be prepared to spend a small fortune. Because once you’ve started shopping at Venn St, it can be very difficult to stop. The market runs every Saturday from 10am til 4pm but we’d advise getting down early so as not to miss out.
Venn St, SW4 0AT
Clapham has enjoyed something of a colourful past with cinemas. Venture by the big Sainsbury’s on Clapham Common and you’ll be staring at the site of its very first cinema, The Globe which opened in 1910 to seat just 130 people. It closed five years later and was followed by four more failed ventures around the borough. Today, like the proverbial phoenix, we’re blessed with the Clapham Picturehouse. Small, independent and completely unique, this little local gem shows all sort of films all year round. From proper Indies through to cash-guzzling blockbusters, they don’t discriminate. This has to be one of our favourite places to catch a flick in London.
76 Venn St, SW4 0AT