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15/01/22


The Best Pubs in Clapham

by Georgie Darling

Not all pubs are created equally. And, in a neighbourhood as densely populated with drinking spots as Clapham is, it’s almost an act of public service to prudently work through all of them to discover the very best.

So that’s exactly what we’ve done – and now we’re here to formally confirm something South Londoners have been saying for years: Clapham is a true haven for all kinds of pub-based occasions.

Drinks served with hefty, comforting roast dinners? We’ve got ‘em. Pints with a side of raucous pub quiz? Done and dusted. Leafy gardens, signature cocktails and open mic nights? Clapham’s got them all. 

Meet you at the bar.

The Old Tavern

pubs in clapham

Quintessential Clapham with a slight detour to Mexico, The Old Tavern might just be the only pub known more for its Mexican street food than it is for its pints. Sure, there are 20 different beers for you to choose between here, but the real decision maker is whether to order the perfectly-spicy chicken wings or a pulled pork burrito. 

Spoiler: the correct answer is “both”, and you’ll want at least one of the aforementioned beers to wash it down with. Welcoming fairy lights and a random assortment of colourful chairs make The Old Tavern feel a little more like a catch up at a friend’s house rather than a classic pub. If your friend was secretly a genius Mexican chef with a penchant for spice, that is. 

Details: 29 North St, London SW4 0HJ

The Duke of Edinburgh

best clapham pubs

The Duke of Edinburgh pub: a much more exciting, alcohol-infused version of The Duke of Edinburgh you may have unwittingly suffered through during your school days – with just as much stamina recommended. This one comes with the same outdoors appeal, except it’s in the form of a huge, leafy garden – one of the largest in London, in fact – complete with endless rows of benches, gazebos and twinkly lights above.

Inside are loungable sofas, a perpetually-busy pool table and, crucially, White Men Can’t Jerk: the jerk chicken accompaniment you didn’t previously recognise as the missing piece in the beer drinking puzzle. The Duke of Edinburgh might look unassuming from the outside, but that’s all part of the charm. Local breweries come on an ever-changing basis but you’ll always find firm favourites like Brixton Brewery and Hackney’s 5 Points Brewing Co.

Details: 204 Ferndale Rd, London SW9 8AG

The Railway Tavern

best clapham pubs

With a craft beer selection so varied it verges on chaotic, The Railway Tavern is somewhere you’ll go to branch out from your usual. We’re talking ales infused with not one but seven different types of coffee – something that sounds like it really shouldn’t work but, somehow, does – while the food stays a little more traditional with fried chicken, burgers and classic pub grub on the menu.

Statement artwork, wrap-around windows and an overall quirky vintage feel make this Clapham pub feel suitably heartwarming year round. Conveniently, it’s located a literal stone’s throw from Clapham North overground station, which might make your commute a little more bearable.

Details: 18 Clapham High St, London SW4 7UR

The King & Co

You’ll struggle to find a more wholesome Sunday afternoon atmosphere in Clapham than at King & Co. Roasts come laden high with a heap of sizzling, tender meat and a brushing of rosemary, served by someone so friendly you’d genuinely wonder whether they’re an old friend of your mum’s.

Beer comes in the form of 18 kegs and six cask lines but, in honesty, comes (a close) second to the food. See, the rest of the week is in the hands of their regularly rotating kitchen residency. They were one of the first pubs to bus in pop ups like this, and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Fowl Mouths and The Cheese Truck have all passed through here.

It’s less of a ‘big night out’ pub and more of a ‘catch up on a cosy, possibly hungover, weekend’ pub. Visit on a Monday for a quiz that includes the lesser-spotted mystery voices round. READ MORE

Details: 100 Clapham Park Rd, London SW4 7BZ

The Old Bank

This place used to be a bank. Then, it was converted into a pub called The Bank. Now, it’s been renamed The Old Bank. And those original arched windows, lofty ceilings and pearly chandeliers definitely make this more of a gastro spot than an old-school boozer.

As a Fullers pub, there’s plenty on draught (including a couple of cask ales), but The Old Bank also serves cocktails great and small. The food’s served in a way almost too artistic for a pub, with an all-day breakfast menu (try the smoked salmon Royale) and a range of wholesome, hearty and homecooked-levels-of-comforting dinner choices.

Details: 31-37 Northcote Rd, London SW11 1NJ

The Abbeville

The Abbeville effortlessly fulfils all of your classic pub requirements. In the colder months, it’s warming and cosy with a roaring fire and a rich, heavy, ever-so-slightly-oversized menu. In the summer months, it’s the perfect spot for grabbing a cold beer or cider and pulling up a chair just outside. 

It’s a fusion of eclectic photos on the walls, patterned velvet booths tucked away throughout the pub’s nooks and crannies, and a village-like atmosphere with its own collection of regulars. Visit on Monday for the Pint and a Pie deal: arguably something that’ll actually make you look forward to the worst day of the week. The desserts here are pretty special, too. 

Details: 67-69 Abbeville Rd, London SW4 9JW

The Windmill

You’ll come to The Windmill for the revered roast dinners, many of which claim to serve multiple people. You can decide whether or not to see that as a challenge. You’ll come back to The Windmill for Max the Bernese pub dog.

Steaks are sourced from Ginger Pig butchers on Abbeville Road and the brunch menu is pretty spectacular, too. And, if you step outside, you’ll be treated with not only a large and well-stocked pub garden, but also The Burger Shack. It’s one of the few pubs where you might spend more on food than drinks.

Details: Clapham Common South Side, London SW4 9DE

The Clapham North

Clapham North does a little of everything and it does it all very well. Brunch, of the civilised or bottomless type, Sunday roasts, complete with veggie and vegan options, and a pub quiz that’s arguably the most famous in the area. Warning: it can get loud in here, but the Yorkshire puddings come with such sustenance (and sheer size) that you’ll power through, even if you were only here 12 hours ago. 

A large selection of low and no alcohol beers makes Clapham North just as great for those not drinking. It’s also, unsurprisingly, only a stone’s throw from Clapham North station, making it a little easier to convince any friends travelling from outside the neighbourhood.

Details: 409 Clapham Rd, London SW9 9BT

The Falcon

The Falcon’s the sort of place where you’ll find yourself doing rounds of familiar “hellos” throughout the huge beer garden. A failsafe spot for the summer months when no one in the group was organised enough to book a table, The Falcon is a Clapham North saviour with an endless number of tables. The limited edition beers and large nachos might just be the best (unofficial) pairing on the menu.

Details: 33 Bedford Rd, London SW4 7SQ

The Four Thieves

Four Thieves activity bars

The Four Thieves covers all of the ‘pub’ basics like craft beer brewed on-site and 250 variations of G&T while throwing its arms out to cater for literally all other tastes at the same time. A huge retro games arcade, swing dance nights, a live music schedule and VR booths? Check, check, check. And more.

The Four Thieves is less of a traditional pub and more a palace of entertainment. We could go on about the Victorian style Music Hall, the famous Sunday roast, the pints (yep) of sausage rolls or the pizzeria, but we’d be here all day. Better just to wander down with zero expectations and expect literally anything and everything – in the best way possible. It’s the opposite of going for a quick pint. READ MORE

Details: 51 Lavender Gardens, London SW11 1DJ

Hope & Anchor

You know you’re in London when the pub has its own private Tiki huts. Set on the Clapham – Brixton border, Hope & Anchor is a blur of fairy lights, open mic nights and general party vibes. It’s also probably the only place where you’ll find a vibrantly coloured disused vehicle alongside a romantic, floral-framed pergola and 20+ TV screens all within a few steps. 

You could drink beer here (most of which comes from smaller local breweries) but you’ll have more fun taking a stab at the varied wine and cocktail menus. Visit on a Friday or Saturday night when you’re trying to convince your friends to go out, while fooling them into thinking you’re just going for a quick pint.

Details: 123 Acre Ln, Brixton Hill, London SW2 5UA

 

Main image: The Abbeville/Johnny Stephens Photography


Love a good pub? Take a look at our top picks of pubs with open fires




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