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The Bedford (Bar)

Picture of The Bedford in Balham, London

77 Bedford Hill, Balham, London, SW12 9HD
Cuisine: [Other/Unclassified]
Tel: 020 8682 8940 | Email to The Bedford | Transport: Balham | Write review

The Bedford Review

If you ask for an apple you get something spherical in shape, either green or red in colour and sweet in taste. If you ask for a car you get something that gets you from A to B, If you ask for a window you get something you can see through, keeps the cold out and the warm in. But if you ask for a pub what do you get?

I was thinking about this question a lot before my housemate and I headed to The Bedford. When I go to a pub, first and foremost I want a drink. If I’m hungry I expect stodgy pub grub that’s probably been cooked in the microwave. I expect banter with my mates, some small talk with the bar staff and a skip home after one too many.

Considering we live about five minutes away from this place and we walk past it on the way to and from work, we have never taken full advantage of The Bedford. It’s hardly difficult to miss the domineering pub that stands proud on the corner opposite Balham tube but we did miss it and we had been missing out.

A pub is a pub, we thought, ‘a building with a licensed bar where alcoholic drinks may be bought and drunk’ (thanks Collins). We’ll go in, have some dinner, wine and a gossip then walk home. It’s a Tuesday after all – no skipping on a school night. The next day I’ll write a review about how The Bedford has tired bar staff serving microwaved food and warm beer etc etc.

How wrong I was!

The Bedford is HUGE! With seven (yes, seven!) bars sprawled over three floors it’s quite easy to get lost and end up in the wrong place at the right time. One minute you’re eating dinner (I’ll come to that later), the next you’re climbing the ‘Hall of Fame’ stairs peppered with photos of all the famous comedy acts that have once performed there, and sometimes still do.

Up some stairs, down some stairs, and always the brunt of the ‘latecomer’ jokes at the famous comedy night. This is what the Bedford is famed for, open since the 1830’s, comedy has always been an integral part of the pub with the likes of Catherine Tate, Harry Hill, Lee Evans, Al Murray and Rob Brydon having all earned their Bedford stripes.

I was shocked to find a full room of punters enjoying ‘Newcomer night’. I was even more shocked to find my eyes full of tears after laughing so hard and these aren’t even the top dogs. We’ll be back on Friday to see what they’ve got to offer. I dare them to make me laugh harder.

Like Alice in Wonderland following the White Rabbit, I followed the sound of music to the Shakesperian Globe Theatre, a huge circular room with upstairs and downstairs seating, which again we found bursting at the seams. Do these people know it’s Tuesday?! The place is heaving like most other pubs do on a Friday. It was a Blues night and the band on stage was great. My flatmate and I discussed the lead singer in depth; a voice to fall in love with, his face not so much. You can’t have it all. If only we had been a couple of years earlier we could have witnessed the likes of Paolo Nutini, KT Tunstall and James Morrison gracing the stage.

Take a wrong turn and it’s easy to end up in a room full of swingers. Not a partner-swapping sex session, a room full of dancers getting together for a massive three hour dance fest. Starting with a lesson, they then just let loose and dance the night away. If said school night wasn’t looming over me I would have been up there until I was asked to leave. After five minutes, knowing my two left feet.

Thankfully I made all the right turns after dinner; you’ll never see me leaving dinner to go anywhere. Pub grub it is, microwaved it certainly isn’t. And I got proof… well, the chef is in an open kitchen so you can see what he’s up to not that I was staring but my burger was grilled, my massive thick-cut chips were fried and my salad carefully picked from the veggie plot next to the kitchen. OK, I went too far.

There really is something for everyone at The Bedford: comedy, dancing, drinking, live music, eating, sports on huge projector screens….it’s got everything but the veggie plot.

On our skip home (who cares if it’s a school night – The Bedford kept us entertained for hours, it would’ve been rude not to sip on something whilst we took it all in) we discussed that pub question again. The thing is, The Bedford isn’t like a pub, it’s an entertainment centre, the amount of money we spend on Sky every month is ridiculous, if we just walk five minutes down the road we can see it all live and up front.

We also discussed how Tuesdays are the new Fridays. Skip anyone?
...read more

Customer Reviews for The Bedford

Average (based on 3 votes): 3 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of The Bedford.

“The Bedford provides a consistently good night out. A fact that is evidenced by the large catchment area that it draws its crowd from. Recently visited again for the Banana Cabaret on a Friday eve for my 30th Birthday. Comics were excellent and the Monkeyfunk D.J.s afterwards provided ample entertainment for an up for it crowd. Negative points well if you have to, rather grubby toilets and Bar prices that go up after 11pm. Overall a great night out in South London. Oh almost forgot I love their chunky chips ENJOY !!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
aviduser [chris Parkinson], London (11 years 10 months 6 days ago)

“cracking venue, cracking dj''s - we want more of these pllaces in balham!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Tania, london (12 years 2 months 24 days ago)

“The "Slingshot" flavoured Vodka was deliciously dangerous. Great time had by all”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
S Bond, [ Unknown ] (13 years 3 months 17 days ago)

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Additional Information

The Bedford Food & Drinks

Events and other great things going on at The Bedford

Mondays - Live Music, Line Dancing
Tuesdays - Live Music, Jive Dancing, Comedy
Wednesdays - Live Music, Pub Quiz, Salsa Dancing
Thursdays - Live Music, Pole Dancing
Fridays & Saturdays - Banana Cabaret, DJ's
Sundays - Live Music, Magicians with Lunch!
Thursday April 5th - Livestlye Charity Night feat - Lucie Silvas, Foy Vance and much more.

Updated 13/03/2007

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Venue ID: 714

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Loved

"I love pizza and this is the best pizza I've ever eaten. Their flavor is special. italian food quite tasty but I have to wait a long time to be served. I have received apologies from the staff and desserts..." Which venue is this?

Hated

"Paid £50 deposit for table near screens to watch two games of rugby, paid additional £25 for cold bucket of beers upon arrival. Arrived, asked about the beers, admin mix up apparently and they thought..." Which venue is this?

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