Usually i recommend two venues each for drinks, eats and ‘with a twist’, but when talking about the place i call home, i had to take the liberty of throwing in a few bonus suggestions for this post.
This pub is the kind of place i’d expect to find out in the country. With chesterfields wherever you look, an open fire and the most delicious comfort food, this is a winter’s evening dream come true.
They are completely dog friendly and even have a jar of biscuits on the bar, which you can freely take from to really make you four-legged friend feel like part of the outing.
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Hagen & Hyde
This place is definitely a triple threat, great food, reasonably priced drinks and even a dance floor.
If you’re in the mood for a more lively evening to go along with your drinks, then Hagen will help you out, whether it’s their weekly pub quiz, DJs, live music or banter with the bar staff, there’s always something to keep you entertained.
Everywhere, but upstairs dining area
If you’re looking for somewhere quieter, with more of a wine bar feel, then look no further. They offer a range of food options and I can personally recommend the truffle mac ‘n cheese pot, accompanied by a glass of the house red.
If you’re looking to widen your palate, they also run wine tasting sessions, so you’ll be able to tell your Chablis from your Chardonnay in no time.
Lost & found
This bar has the best cocktails in Balham and with a 241 happy hour everyday between 5pm and 9pm, there’s no reason not to call my bluff.
Open til midnight Monday – Thursday and until 1am Friday and Saturday, this is the one place in Balham guaranteed to be open until their very last minute, no matter how many people are in the bar, so there’s always time for a nightcap.
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For the best brunch in town (daily from 8am-3.30pm), you HAVE to visit Brother Marcus! With a menu that features the latest seasonal offerings and an array of whimsical names for it dishes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re not a fan of brunch, they also open late Weds-Saturday (6pm-11pm) offering ‘loaded buns’ and a range of cocktails and other alcoholic beverages keep you going through the evening.
And if food and drink don’t entice you, then they also have a lovely garden and some very friendly and attractive staff.
Access all areas
Steak, steak and more steak (plus a couple of salad options for the veggies). At this newly opened Balham staple, the steaks are served to your liking and at a price that won’t make you baulk.
With steaks priced between £12 (Bavette) and £14 (Picanha), you’ll need to add your own sides, but you can easily get a meal with side and a drink for under £20.
If you’re looking for something a little different, then Tagine has got you covered. This is the perfect place to order as many different things on the menu as you like and the share them with your dining partner.
They don’t sell alcohol, so you have the chance to save a little money by bringing your own, but you will need to pay a small corkage fee for the privilege.
If you’re steering clear of alcohol, they also offer a range of Shisha flavours, which can be enjoyed on their outside terrace area.
The Paddyfield has been in Balham for as long as i can remember and it’s testament to its food and service that it is routinely packed to the rafters, without even the need for its own website.
One of my favourite things about The Paddyfield is that no matter what i order, i always seem to end up with something else. This isn’t due to lack of attention to detail, but more the helpful suggestions of the staff, who are happy to recommend an alternative dish in an attempt to encourage you expand your horizons.
Another BYOB (plus corkage), so make sure you stock up before you sit down. A word of warning, they are cash only, so remember to visit the cash point in advance, but no problem if you forget, there are four within a one minute walk.
With a twist
Whether you’re in the mood for drinks, comedy (every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday), dancing (swing, salsa, tango), exercise (zumba and pole dancing) or theatre, the Bedford has it all.
Although it wouldn’t be my top choice of venue for food (there’s definitely better in offer around Balham), when it comes to wanting an evening’s entertainment, you won’t find better.
Balham Bowls Club
Part of the same chain as Hagen and Hyde and with the same quirky style, Balham Bowls Club provides a slightly more cultured offering.
Despite all the activities on offer, if you just fancy a quiet drink, there are always board games to keep you enteratained and the foods not half bad either.