We have been trying to get away from the normal pub grub you find everywhere, so give our food and menu another chance. We have a new chef now who started 2 months ago, his food is still different but amazing, we can't really do chips as our kitchen is relatively small and we don't want to be stunk out like a chip shop do we?
Balham Bowls Club
64 Clapham High Street, Clapham, London SW4 7UL
“"Dedicated to eating, drinking and less serious matters" Simplicity is key at 64th and Social. Ever wondered what the smallest kitchen in Clapham can produce? The best steaks south of the river. You won’t be disappointed along with award winning...” more...
20 reviews of Balham Bowls Club in English
Inside is also lovely, with comfortable homely feel and weird and wonderful things dotted around the place for you to look at...especially when your date isn't all that brill to look at :P
Great, great place! What can I say, if you read some of my other reviews then you’ll find out that I like anything vintage, bohemian, period, or shabby chic. Now this place is not all of those things but it is original, with a hint of vintage and above all, a really comfortable place to hang out with a large group of people!
A definite south london favourite of mine. Wish there were more quirky places like this around. Want to know where they source all the fixtures and fittings as I love the style here! I swear their sausage rolls have got smaller though!
Balham does a good line in cavernous drinking establishments (The Bedford, The Exhibit) but the bbc is the one with the most character.
A maze of rooms full of mis-matched furniture, strange decor and ornaments and knick-knacks, it's got a really laid-back vibe and seems to attract a real mix of people.
As you'd expect, there are plenty of beers and ciders to choose from. Wine is served in a glass or a carafe (no 'small' and 'large' here) and is drinkable and then forgetable.
The food is not really my bag. Right now it's a a relatively pretentious take on English grub (no chips, it's all posh mash and glazed vegetable) and its quite expensive, though those famous sausage rolls are still available. I tried the Sunday lunch last Summer out in the back beer garden, and it was pretty decent - huge portions and loads of gravy which is always a winner. But generally, I'd say come here for relaxed drinks, not good grub.
Nice to see this has had so many good reviews already. I walk past the BBC club most evenings after work, and was always surprised at how quiet it was despite a lush and cosy-looking interior, thought it may be a secret, members only gentlemen's style club.
So I was pleased to be invited to a friend's birthday bash over the weekend, where I discovered that it is in fact open to everyone, and incredibly popular but always so roomy due to 4+ large rooms, furnished with comfy sofas and huge dining tables.
There were three areas reserved for parties and still heaps of room left over for the passer-by. And despite the amount of space, it still manages to be very warm and cosy.
Drinks were reasonable. A large glass of wine is exactly that. A variety of bottled and draught beers (although nothing you haven't seen before). And yummmmy-yet-gluggable strawberry and lime cider.
Only cons: Toilets could do with occasional attendance, as far as I could tell there were only two ladies cubicles throughout the whole pub. And on that night one was - let's just say - a write-off, so a bit of a queue formed as the evening went on.
And as much as I love the unique decor, a feature that I wish more pubs employed, anyone noticed the spooky portrait of smiling child in the front room?? Don't look her in the eyyyyyyes!!!! hides
I liked it. Went on Saturday night, it was busy but not horribly packed. I only went to the bar once but got served pretty quickly despite the crowd, there were plenty of bar staff. As others have said, drinks selection isn't very interesting, but this seems more a place you'd go to have a good time with some mates and what you're drinking doesn't really matter.
Didn't try any food, the sausage rolls smelt lovely though. But be warned, my friend was not impressed to discover that they weren't still doing them at around midnight.
What an absolutely great place. So great I wish I could keep it quiet, but that’s the curse of working for a company like Qype.
Feeling like an old working men’s club (because that’s pretty much what it was), it has the shabby sofas, the wood panelling, the high celings and the peeling plaster that make you feel right at home straight away.
Plus it has two full size snooker tables, a great little beer garden out the back, a solid menu of sausage rolls, bangers and mash, pies etc and friendly staff.
Oh, and poker torunaments! It’s fast becoming my new home from home.
I love the Balham Bowls Club! It took me ages to find and then brave it, as from the outside it can look pretty non-descript. I’m so glad I did.
Not only do they have the most charming and efficient bar staff in London* but the atmosphere, the whole quirky, idiosyncratic feel of the place is just lovely. Not too pretentious but absolutely unique.
It feels cosy and welcoming, while being quite a spacious place. There are leather chairs, wooden pews and benches and all sorts of unexpected items of furniture, and a little bit of random bowls paraphernalia, tucked away here and there. It’s sensitively lit while not feeling gloomy and there’s something curiously intimate and romantic about the place.
The clientele seem on the whole pretty decent and inoffensive. You have to endure the odd Rah in collars and pashminas talking about what a, you know, like sariously orrrr-sum time they had in En-fair-Nose last night, but such is life.
The music they play is just fantastic and most importantly, it is background music! It doesn’t attempt to be heard over/drown out the pleasant sound of a good pub; it just complements the atmosphere when things are quiet. Kudos my friends. Well done!
They don’t have a vast selection of drinks on draft but I admire that. I know people have different tastes but, on the whole, if you have one standard and one premium continental lager, a cider, stout, bitter and one “other” (Hoegaarden if my memory serves me correctly?) then you’ve pretty much catered for any one (other than those who won’t be happy anywhere) And the wine list is pretty good.
The BBC keeps a very good Tim Taylor’s Landlord, of which I am a fan. And frankly there is little point in living in SW12/17 unless you like Tim Taylor’s Landlord and is nigh on the only beer not brewed by Youngs that you can get.
I don’t like the food.
“No!” I hear you gasp!
“Is it because it’s a little bit pretentious and over priced but if you were being fair you’d be forced to admit that it’s actually very imaginative and interesting and People like that kind of stuff?”
Yes. Yes that’s exactly it. It’s just so fussy and noncy and would really make me excited if I saw it in a restaurant. But not in a pub please?
Basically, as I’ve said before and I shall say again, life is too short to poach quail eggs.
How ever, I shall let this flaw pass, docking but one star for the fact that one can’t get a sandwich, because in every other way the place just rocks. (And the food is actually really interesting! But don’t tell anyone I said that.)
I think I’ve covered everything. Apart from the massive rooms with pool and snooker tables (for members only. Membership is about a quid I think. And there’s no need to pay in advance) front and back beer “gardens” (which shan’t win awards but they are, like the rest of the pub, comfortable and quirky), and did I mention that the staff are charming? I think they also do book clubs and chess clubs and fight clubs (from which I’m now, presumably, banned), something to cater for everyone! Think of it like the Bedford but shrunk down to a sensible size, but where everything is nice rather than horrible.
*This may be an exaggeration, but not much of one…
Balham Bowls Club feels so close to being a very cool local pub, but fails on one major area….
It stocks a terrible selection of beers. From memory, the only decent thing they serve is Guinness, with the rest being some fairly average lagers. More importantly - it doesn’t have a single ale behind the bar - local or otherwise.
The result is that this feels like a (bad) brewery pub masquerading as a trendy independent.
Balham Bowls Club remains to many as a favourite secret bar, the club is yet to hit the mainstream 'grubby but trendy’ bars - thank goodness. Based in the old lawn bowling club, much of the decor remains - ignore the “members only” & “guests sign in” signs, though you can become a member for £10 which gives you access to use one of the two full size snooker tables (very rare in pubs in London) it’s free to play on a Monday, £5 per hour the rest of the week.
A visit to the Bowls club isn’t complete without tasting one of the homemade sausage rolls (75p a pop) these become a required addition to any round.
One of my favourite pubs in London.
I went here for my birthday this year as I’d heard good things about it. From the outside it looks like a house andon the inside it’s like an old man’s working mens club yet full of trendy indy kids. I really liked it in here, it’s spacious so good for big groups though you might not find seats straight away. There are also two massive pool tables in the back room. The bar is pretty small but you get served quickly.
They don’t play music which I found quite weird but there is such a good buzzy atmosphere it doesn’t really matter. It shuts at normal pub closing time but you can nip next door to be@1 for a few late night cocktails until 1pm if you want to carry on!
This is an old working man’s pub which has been redone and turned into a classic example of old meets new.
The interior has all the signs of it’s former glory, and outside there is room to relax in the summer months. My one quibble is the cost of the drinks, about 3.60 for a pint. I mean even in balham that’s a lot. I haven’t tried the food, but will update this if I do.
Also, even though it’s no longer a working man’s place, you still feel slightly unwelcome at times, because it still kinda feels like one. Anyway, make your own minds up, but remember, there’s a lot of pubs around here, so places have got to keep their standards up.
This place is a bit crazy. I went there once after a couple of glasses of wine and got VERY freaked out by the weirdy portraits of Victorian Children adorning the walls. It felt a bit I’d stumbled upon a massive get together in someone’s Gran’s house with a pool table thrown in. There is so much random membrobelia on the walls and quite a musty smell in the air but this place really pulls in the crowds. It was certainly packed when we were there and you can definitely sense it was once a bowls club. From the outside the place looks really quaint and very enticing - definitely worth a visit.
Quite a unique place, but all the better for it. Totally unmatched, old and worn furniture (seemingly what was left over from when it was an actual Bowling Club), but somehow it works and makes for an incredibly relaxed and comfortable place to have a drink.
They also do something they call “international tapas” and some bar food, but I haven’t tried that yet so can’t comment. Noticed that they just opened one of the additional rooms as well, with a couple of pool tables in it, which appear to be in regular use already.
And finally - free Wifi! Can’t argue with that..
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