If you’re heading for a night out on the tiles in south London, chances are you’ll be travelling to the epicentre of activity, where all the best bars and clubs in south London congregate: Clapham.
Pah, who needs Brixton!? Who needs New Cross? All the real drinking and dancing is taking place in Clapham North, Clapham Common, Clapham South, and Clapham Junction. These four pillars of fun contain many delicious restaurants and a decent number of pubs for watching sport, but sometimes, just sometimes, the only thing on your mind is (happy hour?) cocktails, shots, loud music, and lots of lots of sexy single people.
Welcome to Clapham. Welcome to the best bars and clubs in south London.
By Christian Rose-Day
Tags: South London
The Jam Tree
Clapham / Bar / Cuisine: Gastro
The 3rd installment from the Jam Tree group, this bar is a bright, quirky space mixing styles from various retro decades. There is also a private dining space available with its own bar and ping pong table. A great new bar for anyone who enjoys the happy middle point between a thriving, lively bar and internationally varied food menu that's ideal for sharing.
The Lost Angel
Battersea / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: None
Is it a bar? Is it a restaurant? Is it a pub? Is it a club? Is it south London's answer to all three? We say YES. There's fine dining, cocktail classes, real ale, live music, DJs, comedy nights, film nights, fancy dress events, and an amazingly quirky beer garden (with own bar) for those fantastically flirtatious summer nights. If you've ever been to Lost Society - also part of the Lost family - you'll understand why nothing is ordinary at their bars. Hence you'll find squirrels in the walls, indoor phone boxes and a crowd of cocktail-guzzling revellers who can mainly be described as 'well up for it'. Music policy: rock, indie and dance. Best cocktail: Lost Sailor Berry.
Clapham / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Bar
There are very few bars & clubs in south London that provide such BIG name DJs in close quarters. This bar has welcomed DJs Norman Jay MBE, Judge Jules, Sister Bliss (Faithless), The Freestylers, Utah Saints, Leeroy Thornhill (The Prodigy) and Joey Negro, with future DJs to include Jamie Zabiela and DJ Fresh. Gigalum is a dance music bar and the alfresco terrace (as seen in all its glory above) provides a perfect sun trap for that young, naked flesh cometh the hour for a cool down. It's the Ibiza in south London. This bar is so entwined with the dance scene, they're giving tickets to Ministry of Sound away for free; find out more this way.
Clapham / Bar / Club /
As the biggest and cheesiest club in Clapham, if not the whole of south London, Infernos is not one we could ignore. It's brash, it's brazen, it's everything your mum and dad warned you about, which is exactly why you want a night out there even more. You know that boozy, dancey, shouty, sexy feeling you get when you and all your mates are on holiday somewhere hot? Well that's what Infernos is like, only without the clement weather. Lots of drinks deals, loads of classic tunage, tons of fancy dress, some gawd awful dance moves, and nobody leaves without snogging at least one random.
Bison & Bird
Clapham / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Eclectic
A large, open plan bar with small alfresco terrace on Clapham High Street, a few booths for cosy-up couples, and larger tables for big gatherings. There are two obvious reasons for visiting to this bar: the drinks special offers like 2-4-1 cocktails every day from 5-8pm and £3 mojitos all night on Thursdays; plus, the big plasma screen sport action. Despite its size, it does get packed on the weekends with a youngish crowd, perhaps drawn in by the commercial music policy of dance, pop and rock, or the chilled out vibe, or the good value bar food menu, or the occasional Sunday with live music. Overall, a Walkabout bar in everything but the name, really.
Clapham / Bar / Club /
They don't call it grand for no reason. This huge bar and nightclub opposite Clapham Junction station not only has one of the brightest, most colourful disco floors in the UK, but it also boasts the biggest sports screen in the UK (a whopping 15ft x 24ft). Throughout the week there's live bands, fight nights, and students nights. On Saturdays there's a double header of comedy showcasing London's best stand-up comedians, before the club becomes a heaving mass of sexy bodies for the Glamorous party until the earlier hours. Sunday is a day of worship and the hedonistic maelstrom that is The Church - with its singalongs, striptease and fancy dress shenanigans - is a thing to be praised.
Clapham / Bar / Club / Cuisine: Pan Asian
This opulent, Moroccan lounge bar has many functions throughout the evening. Arrive early and you might just be able to grab a table and tuck into the Pan Asian cuisine (made for sharing, so bring some friends, or make some when you get there). Then, as the hot young crowd files in, make use of the table service and grab a bottle of spirit, or a few exotic cocktails. They don't do Happy Hours here, they do 'Ecstatic' Hours, and there?s 2-4-1 deals every day except Saturday, plus a free bottle of Champagne if you make a booking for 20+ people. The electro house DJ sets create a party mood and the music goes late into the night. As if that's not enough, they also do cocktail masterclasses.
Powder Keg Diplomacy
Clapham / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
Hidden away on St John's Hill, far from the maddening crowds on Northcote Road and Clapham High Street, this secret time portal of a bar exudes a Dickensian spirit that plants its flag very firmly in the past; a flag that's resolutely British. Nearly everything on the food and drinks menus is British sourced which makes for an unusual array of cheek-blushing cocktails, girth stretching meals, and hand crafted ales. We recommend an early arrival for a cocktails in the bar (note: the peculiar decor), and under no circumstances should you leave without retiring to the rear quarters for a meal in the verdant green conservatory restaurant. Queen Victoria would've approved, and we do too.
The Artesian Well
Clapham / Bar / Club / Cuisine: Italian
New cocktails are being created every day, but some of the best you will ever taste have been around since the first golden age of the cocktail. Some you may know and some are hidden gems found only in our specially selected collection of Artesian Well cocktail drinks. How about a celebratory champagne cocktail such as a Bellini? Party with the perfect Mojito, make like a Manhattan socialite with a classy Cosmopolitan cocktail after a hard day?s work or enjoy a classic Long Island Ice Tea that certainly packs a punch.
Venn Street Records
Clapham / Bar / Cuisine: Pizza
Jet, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Maximo Park, Beastie Boys, Jamie Liddell, Fleet Foxes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Stevie Wonder, Bloc Party, Oasis; have we struck a chord yet? These artists are this bar's Top 10 and should give you an idea of what to expect. For anyone who prefers music memorabilia and a slice of retro in their nightlife sandwich (rather than cheese please), this bar offers a refreshing change to the homogeneous central London type bars so prevalent in Clapham. The al fresco area on the pedestrianised Venn Street, the 2-4-1 cocktails 5-7pm every day except Saturday, the unusual bottled beers, and the live music on Wednesday, Thursday and Sundays all scream: hangover cure at the ready!
Clapham / Bar /
Here's a little secret here: Infernos on Clapham High Street is the bar that heterosexual people visit to pick up and to have ever-so-slightly tacky fun. The Two Brewers gay bar, also on Clapham High Street, has exactly the same amount of tongue in cheek. Not all the gay fun in south London happens in Vauxhall. The sticky floors and cheap drinks provide the fuel for the unpretentious gay and heterosexual revellers to get their groove on. Cheesy classics in the front bar, and a schedule of drag, cabaret, karaoke, and serious dance music in the back section (until 4am at weekends). Just glam enough for the young crowd of blokes and ladies, gay and straight, to enjoy a night full of smiles.
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