Lucy Self heads to Clapham to sink some cocktails at newbie No.32 – and finds a spot that’s hot as long as you stick to the drinks list…
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Some bars are just supposed to be about the wet stuff and that’s okay with us. Which is why, despite some pretty average food, we’d still recommend No.32 to anyone asking for a drinking destination overlooking Clapham Common. This newish bar (it opened mid June) sits on the former site of The Frog and Forget-Me-Not and (according to our companion who is a Balham resident and was familiar with No 32’s former incarnation) “doesn’t look much different.”
But if the crowd clustered around the bar and packed out tables are anything to go by, this is no bad thing – with the kids of Clapham out in force on a balmy Thursday evening. Speaking of, there’s also a pretty al fresco area on the second floor – decked out with the things all London terraces do to attract summer drinkers: plenty of planting, fairy lights and rows of seating to maximise space (and let’s hope heaters for the winter).
Downstairs the interior is divided into the front bar area, with tea-lit tables around for cocktail drinkers/casual diners; then booths and high tables in the rear dining area with open kitchen.
Interior touches – filament lighting, candles, artfully mis-matched furniture and the impressive oak and zinc bar – all create a pleasing (if slightly predictable) place to spend an evening in.
That is, as long as you stick to liquid. We sampled a selection of small plates and the best thing we can say is that the cocktail sausages at least summoned fond memories of childhood parties.
But no matter. Grab a drink here before dinner in one of Clapham’s other eateries (The Dairy is top of our list) or come after when you can get really stuck in to the excellent cocktail list. Both the Elderflower and Earl Grey Fizz and Tequila Old Fashioned were expertly-blended takes on classics, but our favourite was the more traditional Martini No32. Apparently it’s a house recipe with 11 different ingredients but to us it just tasted like perfection.
No 32 The Old Town, 32 The Pavement, London, SW4 0JE
For more information visit no32theoldtown.co.uk