by Helen Verrel Contributor

London - Clapham


London - Clapham Photo:

Clapham is a quintessential haven for students. It is South of the river but rivals Camden and Primrose Hill for green open spaces, great restaurants and most important of all…nightlife. So if you are just about to embark on a new life studying in London, you could do worse than find yourself a nice little pad in this sought after area. ‘Claam’ as it is sometimes affectionately called, is chock-full of beautiful young things. So now you are one of them, go check it out.

There are so many bars in Clapham that you could try a new one out every night of the week for a month, and then still stumble across one you haven’t seen before. Healthy competition means that venues are upping the stakes in terms of design and customer service, and that’s never a bad thing. One of the newest on the scene is Lost Society on Wandsworth Road. With one of Clapham's only late licensed gardens it is understandably very popular in the summer. The Clapham North is always busy which speaks for itself. Sports fans will love the plasma screens. Award for coolest name goes to The Peoples Republic Bar & Kitchen. A relaxed and funky restaurant and bar that serves great comfort food and essential hangover cures. If you are out for a Saturday night, get your glad rags on and head for Revolution. They have over thirty types of vodka to choose from. Turn up early though because there will be queues. Mish Mash is a little more off the beaten path but is nestled in a very trendy area. Djs play a great mix of music and the bar only serves double measures, what more could you ask for.

The majority of bars in Clapham now open late and have their own dance floors so there are only a couple of night clubs. Of those on offer Infernos is enormous and boasts an original 70’s disco theme with flashing dance floor and glitter ball to boot.  It’s perfect for a boogie to some cheesy music. The Clapham Grand is an impressive space and is actually a converted Victorian theatre. It offers the usual assortment of club nights to suit the average student punter looking for some ‘Come on Eileen’.

Project Orange is an absolute gem and will be a firm favourite if you are into indie and alternative music. They regularly showcase new local bands and while it is a bit of a squeeze, you're bound to make some new mates. Smoke Rooms has an acoustic music session every Tuesday evening for the opportunity to chill out. If the allure of the clubbing side of The Clapham Grand doesn’t appeal, it also doubles up as a live music venue with a good assortment of bands and artists 2-3 evenings a week.

Try to avoid the chain bars that are right next to Clapham Junction train station on weeknights. They will undoubtedly be full of smug posh men in suits talking about their latest bonus. Also steer clear of Wessex House, it's opposite the station and is a tatty and overpriced club that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. If you are on a budget don’t stray into the Northcote stretch. It’s fabulous, but also millionaires row, and you might cry when they give you your drinks bill.

Unfortunately Clapham has fallen victim to the usual glut of high street fashion shops. The alternative is to look out for a boutique, but a price tag in one of those might give the average student a heart attack. One exception is Bullfrogs (9 The Pavement, SW4 0HY). This is clothes and shoes heaven for girls looking for something quirkier.

Helen Verrel


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