Brixton: pubs and bars reviews
We reckon that Brixton's got the finest selection of bars and pubs to be found in London. There's a hugely diverse range of places on offer, each with their own unique vibe - here's our carefully researched ratings!
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The ANGEL 354 Coldharbour Lane SW9
When this pub closed in 2006 it looked like it would be lost for ever, as the premises remained empty for several years. We even consigned it to our Lost Pubs of Brixton section. Happily, rumours of its death were greatly exaggerated, with the pub reopening in May 2009, resplendent in a new paint job and a stylish refurb. Update Sept 2012: It's closed.
» Feature. Lost pubs of Brixton: The Angel
020 7274 3653
BAZE II BAZE 10-12 Tunstall Road SW9
Now a Subway sandwich bar.
THE BEEHIVE 407 Brixton Rd SW9
Garishly lit Wetherspoons pub with hyperactive ashtray cleaners, security cameras tracking your every sip and hideous fake decor - but it's mighty cheap with decent food, a mixed crowd and late licence.
020 7738 3643
BRADY'S/RAILWAY (closed) Atlantic Rd SW9
Brady's remains closed as a regular pub and only those with long memories can recall the utterly mad nights of hardcore drinking and debauchery that used to go on there. This was one pub where the new Brixton trendies would never set foot in! Note: Squatters were evicted in August 2002.
» History of Bradys Bar
» Lost pubs and bars of Brixton
BRIXTON BAR & GRILL 15 Atlantic Rd SW9
Formerly 'Panagea' and then 'Taco Joes' before that, these fast-changing premises under Brixton railway station have now resurfaced as a 'style bar' with - it has to be said - something of a cold, unappealingly vibe about the place. The staff are friendly though and it's seconds from the tube.
0207 737 6777
BRIXTONIAN HAVANA CLUB Beehive Place SW9
CLOSED: An essential Brixton stop-off, the Brixtonian serves up a huge range of top rums and awesome cocktails (including the infamous 'Brixton Riot'). It's a very stylish bar but weekends can get way too packed and the prices can bite your wallet.
020 7924 9262
BABALOU The Crypt St Matthews Church SW2
Formerly the Bug Bar, the venue has turned into a bar/restaurant/club. The bar serves up excellent cocktails/bar snacks and the club keeps rocking till 5am on Saturdays. Check out their website for listings and see our review of their restaurant.
020 7738 3366
CANTERBURY ARMS 8, Canterbury Cres SW9
Lesser known Irish pub, with a dazzling new colour scheme replacing the legendary floral 1970s wallpaper. Occasionally
puts on some excellent late-licence gigs in a largish events room. Also frequented by coppers from nearby police station.
020 7274 1711
CROWN & ANCHOR 246 Brixton Road, SW9
A proper old-school, friendly, family run boozer, that's worth a visit alone on the fact that it has the honour of being Britain's first Rock and Roll club. See pub feature.
020 7737 7915
DOGSTAR 389 Coldharbour Lane, SW9
(Formerly The Atlantic). After an excruciating period where it became the downmarket joint of choice for prowling, pill-popping, lager lads on the pull, a change of management in 2005 briefly transformed the pub into an up and coming venue. After another slide downhill, an expensive and attractive refit in early 2007 saw the interior being given an attractive 'boudoir' look have has improved things considerably.
In fact, we've grown to like it so much, we host occasional Offline club nights there.
Admission is free weekdays (open till 2am) although it costs on weekends (4am close). Expect a thorough but friendly frisking on your way on.
020 7733 7515
DUKE OF EDINBURGH 204, Ferndale Rd SW9
A little off the beaten track, this pub rewards with an immense garden with a barbecue lending it a mini-festival atmosphere at times. A recently less-than-successful modernisation and several management changes has spoilt the atmosphere a bit, with the pub falling out of favour with Brixton regulars.
0207 326 0301
THE EFFRA 38a Kellett Rd SW2
A winning combination of great Guinness, a friendly mixed crowd and superb live jazz on weekdays and Sundays make this a highly recommended Brixton pub.
020 7274 4180
THE ELM PARK TAVERN 376 Elm Park, Streatham SW2 2UB
The Tavern is a delightfully no-nonsense, old-school boozer off Brixton Hill, untouched by the slightest whiff of gentrification. Or paint, for that matter. Shabby outside, but comfortable and welcoming inside, the Thursday night pub quizzes are always worth a visit.
FRIDGE BAR 1 Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill
Right next door to the Fridge, this is a small and friendly joint with
a busy street level bar and a delightfully sleazy dark dancefloor downstairs. Friday - Sunday is R'n'B, Soul classics, Hip Hop and Drum'n'Bass. For hard core clubbers, there's 'After Parties' on Saturday and Sunday morning, running from 5.30am through to about 11am. Check out Monday (reggae dub) and Tuesdays (live bands). Admission is free weekdays (open till 2am, 4am weekends).
020 7326 5100
SOUTHSIDE (formerly GEORGE IV) Brixton Hill SW9
Once a popular old-school dance club, the George IV has now morphed into 'Southside' an airy style bar with a big outdoor bit at the front, with regular summer barbeques.
GREEN MAN Loughborough Junction SW9
Closed after escalating problems with drug dealers. Now a Lambeth council office with flats above.
See Lost pubs: Green Man.
THE GROSVENOR 17, Sidney Street, SW9 0TP
Fabulous old school boozer with two bars and a pool table in the front, with a large function room at the back enjoying a growing reputation for putting on interesting rock, reggae and punk acts. Home of the Offline Club faves, The No Frills Band, you can sometimes find acoustic acts playing in the front room in the week and there's also scrabble nights and other interesting attractions.
HARMONY (formerly MINGLES) 82, Railton Rd SE24
Open Fri/ Sat only (but till 3.30am) Harmony is a modern brick pub (rebuilt after the 1981 riot) with a small dancefloor and a (rarely open) backyard/garden. Friday is usually packed out. The music is mainly lovers rock and dancehall reggae, with a bit of ragga and soul here and there. Can have a terrific atmosphere if you're a reggae fan and is well off the Time Out tourist map. (Review: Paul Bakalite)
HAMILTON ARMS 128 Railton Rd SE24 CLOSED
ARCHIVE REVIEW 2004: Undecorated since the Year Dot, this last vestige of old skool, pre-gentrification, pre-rave Brixton serves up exemplary Guinness accompanied by an old geezer on the decks knocking out a Studio One soundtrack. All but empty before ten, 'flexible' open hours bestow a return to nights of a slow descent into drunkenness with conversation and pool the only entertainment. Lovely!
See: Lost pubs of brixton: Hamilton Arms
HIVE 11-13, Brixton Station Road
Formerly the long serving Jacaranda Gardens restaurant, this two story corner shop has been swished up and serves pancakes, waffles and sandwiches in the day and cocktails and meals in the evening.
The cocktail list is impressive but real aleheads and bulk lager buyers will be disappointed.
020 274 8383
HOPE AND ANCHOR 123, Acre Lane SW2
Friendly pub with big garden and particularly welcoming to families
with kids. One of the best places to catch a full, traditional Sunday
dinner in Brixton (although sadly not too many veggie choices).
020 7274 1787
HOOTANANNY Tulse Hill SW2
Since September 2007, this large corner pub (formerly known as the George Canning and then the Hobgoblin) at the top of Effra Rd has been rebranded as a Scottish theme pub. Despite its awful name, the owners rapidly expanded from the Och! Hoots Mon! theme, and now put on a wide range of good live entertainment - "candlelit acoustic Celtic folk" (you what?!) on Mon-Thurs, Ska on Fridays, jazz/blues/soul/funk (Saturdays) and salsa (Sundays). There's also Thai & English food. We've had some fantastic nights there recently. Recommended.
» Farewell to the Hobgoblin
See: Hobgoblin: 'Then and Now'
020 773 77273
JUICE BAR 407 Coldharbour Lane SW9
We can't keep up with this place which seems to change its name every few months or so. Originally a juice bar, then a furniture store, then back to a juice bar again and now it's a strange bar/second hand clothes combo. Or it might have changed again. To be honest, we can't be arsed keeping up with the place.
THE JUNCTION Loughborough Junc/Coldharbour Lane SW9
THE LANDOR 70, Landor Rd SW9
Situated on Landor road over the railway from the Duke of Edinburgh
on the cusp of Cla'am. This is one of the last unfussy pubs around,
despite a curious refurbishment which stuck boats and similar daft trinkets
on the ceiling. There's a big beer garden, plenty of pool tables and
even a theatre upstairs. It's a great place for a relaxing drink with
a friendly crowd.
020 7274 4386
LIVING 443 Coldharbour La SW9
Currently closed - see Living Bar/Coach and Horses feature.
020 7326 4040
MANGO LANDING 40 St Matthews Road SW2 1NL9
Formerly an old fashioned boozer, Mango Landing was fashioned into the vodka 'Babushka Bar' in the late 1990s, closed, squatted and turned into a jumping venue before its current owners gave the place a hose-down and reopened the place as a smart pub. Serving beer, wine, cocktails, herbal teas and coffee, there's resident DJs, outdoor areas and good food but - feck! - getting a drink can take a ruddy eternity at times.
020 7737 3044
MARQUIS OF LORNE 36 49a Dalyell Road, SW9 9SA
Sporting an immaculate and beautifully preserved exterior, this quiet pub deserves to be much better known.
020 7274 1638.
» Marquis of Lorne photo feature
MONTEGO INN 36 Brixton Water Lane, SW2
Opposite the Hobgoblin, this friendly wine bar is renown for its excellent Jamaican food.
Mucky Duck 201 Coldharbour La SW9
Formerly a traditional, old-skool boozer, it tried to reinvent itself as the Mucky Duck, before closing forever. It was squatted for a while but has remained empty for the last two years (Apr 2007)
See: The Crown/Mucky Duck : lost pubs of Brixton
The PLUG 90, Stockwell Rd, SW9 9JQ
CLOSED - see photos
020 7274 3879
PLAN B 418 Brixton Road SW9
This stylish 300 capacity bar/club is squeezed into the site of the old Wimpey bar. The narrow entrance opens up into a large dance floor, with a long bar stretching along the back wall. There's a good sound system, cocktails and food and unlike many bars, they serve pints after 11pm too. Opening Times: Sun-Thurs noon-2am/ Fri-Sat noon -4am (Bar Food: Sun-Thurs noon-3pm, 6-10pm, Fri-Sat 6-10pm
08701 165 421
PRINCE ALBERT 418 Coldharbour La SW9
Unquestionably, the finest pub in Brixton! Attracting a mixed and very friendly crowd, the Albert enjoys a fierce loyalty from its patrons who enjoy the cheap beer, extended hours, extremely eclectic music selection and the legacy of its legendary landlady, Pat Burke (who sadly passed away in May, 2002). Located next door to the 414 Club, this is the best place for a pre-club drink or just a pub night out. We recommend it. Look out for their poetry slamdowns and, of course, our massive free Offine club nights where we've put on great acts like John Hegley, Shazia Mirza and Ella Edmondson.
Check out our interactive 360 degree panorama!
See: Prince Albert: 'Then and Now'
020 7274 3771
PRINCE OF WALES/DEX 469, Coldharbour Lane SW9
This landmark pub's brief spell as an upmarket restaurant/bar called 'Harlem Soul Food' met with disaster and disinterest. After a lengthy reconstruction job, it's now been rebranded as The Prince & Dex Club.
The downstairs pub has a late licence while the exquisitely restored upstairs 'Dex Club' is a members only affair and well worth a visit. There's also a 'boutique' hotel on the top floor. In the boozer, there's free wi-fi with any bar purchase, making it a good place for daytime meetings. We wouldn't advise waving your expensive laptops on the corner outside the pub, though.
See: Prince of Wales: 'Then and Now'
020 7501 9061
THE QUEEN 45 Bellefields Road SW9 CLOSED
The Queen's 'jazz' opening hours made the place a firm favourite with Brixton's nocturnal, hard drinking cognoscenti, but a change of ownership has transformed the once shambolic boozer into a modern, clean and well presented drinking house that is unlikely to find favour with its old crowd. The fine Victorian bulding was demolished in 2006.
Lost pubs of brixton: The Queen
REST IS NOISE 442 Brixton Rd SW9 8BH
Formerly Ivan's retreat (May 2008-September 2009), The Goose (2005-Apr 2008) and before that the Flourmill and Firkin, this pub closed in Jan 2011. See our feature about The Rest Is Noise in our Lost Pubs of Brixton section.
RITZY BAR 1 Brixton Oval SW2
This downstairs bar serves up a reasonable selection of beers for cinema goers, but the split level upstairs bar is the place to go with good beer, food and coffee. There's often DJs and live music events with a late licence some nights. Best of all, you can play table football there!
The Ritzy also hosted our monthly OFFLINE club night before we were forced to move to bigger premises.
020 7733 1336
SATAY BAR 447 Coldharbour La SW9
Busy, mixed, stylish restaurant/bar serving up tasty East Asian cuisine and excellent cocktails. Can get a little too trendy for some, but on a good night, it's one of the best hangouts in Brixton.
020 7326 5001
66 ATLANTIC 66 Atlantic Road SW9 (not yet reviewed)
Living proof of the gentrification of the former 'Frontline', this stylish new bar/restaurant is open for breakfast, brunch, dinner and cocktails. Open Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am- 10.30pm.
020 7326 4920
SW9 BAR CAFE 11 Dorrell Pl, opp Brixton tube
Chilled out, busy and buzzy small cafe/bar that's great for a pre-club drink or post pub quaff on weekends. Serves up one of the best veggie breakfasts in Brixton! (Open 9am - 11pm, 9am - 1am Fri/Sat)
020 7738 3166
THE TELEGRAPH 228, Brixton Hill SW2
Closed since Feb 2010 and now a Pentecostal church, so unlikely to come back. Archive review (May 2009)For decades, walking into this bar was like stepping into an old episode of 'Minder', but a swanky 'terracotta-tastic' refurbishment in May 2002 improved things, with one urban75 poster describing the front room as being 'Heidi-log-cabin-meets-Get-Carter-lounge-style.' Another refurbishment in 2007 has garnered a less enthusiastic response - "utterly souless - they've totally ripped the heart out of the place and a lot of the time it's shut."
0208 678 0666
TONGUE & GROOVE 50 Atlantic Rd SW9
UPDATE NOV 09: Closed in 2007 because of drug dealing, the place is now a pawnbrokers.
Archive review (2005): Stylish cocktail bar with comfy, soft leather seating and a big leather bed by the door.The beers are ruddy expensive, and an uptight door policy - and the new clientele - haven't been agreeing with our tastes recently. Open 7-3am Wed-Sun.
020 7274 8600
TRINITY 45 Trinity Sq SW9
Quiet, friendly traditional pub in a very pleasant square, sporting a fine selection of real ales with a small beer garden. A favourite with local Town Hall workers, it's certainly one of Brixton's mellower boozers, although it can get a tad 'rugger shirt' on weekends.
020 7274 4544
VISITS TAPAS BAR
Coldharbour Lane, SW9
Branded a crack house by the police and closed down in early Feb 2003.
WHITE HORSE 94 Brixton Hill SW2
With the pool table giving way to more seating space, the White Horse is a great midweek chilled out venue, with d'n'b, techno and house taking over on weekends. The pub serves a mixture of reasonably-priced Mexican and Italian food wup to 10pm - and check out their excellent all-day Sunday Roast too! Open until midnight Sunday - Thursday and 2am Friday - Saturday.
020 8678 6666
WINDMILL 22, Blenheim Gardens, Brixton Hill SW2
Putting on live music every night of the week, the Windmill has rightfully earned a reputation as the place to see upcoming bands, and if you're lucky you might come across a well established band playing a low key gig. Scruffy and tatty at the edges - like all good music venues should be - the Windmill has put on some of the most famous British bands at some point in their career and is always worth a visit.
» See: People's Republic of Disco
020 8671 0700
Z BAR 30 Acre Lane SW2
Small and friendly bar on Acre Lane serving up cocktails, music and
food with a soul/r'n'b vibe. Open till midnight, 7 days a week.
020 7501 9001
» Lost bars and pubs of Brixton
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