Although you’ll find me propping up the bar in a seedy joint in Soho most weekends, the classy boozers of South London’s leafy suburbs have always had a special kind of allure for me. The Battersea Rise strip is full to bursting with bars that wouldn’t be out of place down a side street off Tottenham Court Road - except of course, with lower prices, more seats and far nicer loos. Rise 46 is the prime example of a lovely neighbourhood bar which punches well above its weight in terms of quality.
Forgoing the iconic curling font of the signage outside, you wouldn't be able to nestle down in a corner of Rise 46 without catching onto their 1920's prohibition inspirations. This bar hasn’t gone overboard with art deco fixtures, and it's all the better for it. Instead, subtle twenties style seeps into every corner of the two floors in the form of luxurious materials, delicate lighting and a heartening attention to detail. We were seated in a back room where low blue velvet stools and floral pillows welcomed our sinking selves, creating the kind of comfort that always demands an order of just one more drink.
The Atmosphere & Clientele:
Remarkably, this South London wasn’t full of the typical Friday night crowd, elbowing you at the bar and creating never ending queues at the loos. Rather, each room was populated by small groups and date night couples, all of whom were enjoying a quiet drink and soaking up the joys of being able to hear one another, without basically making out with their friends ear lobes. Even downstairs, where a duo were playing melodic and soulful sounds to the seated groups, the vibe remained at a slow-burning level of relaxed ease.
Heck, Rise 46 has effortlessly ticked all the boxes up until this point - but it is the drinks menu that really cranks things up a notch. Pick any drink off the Rise 46 menu and you’ll be catching a Northern line tube the wrong way for a while to come; while these guys may be mixing south of the river, they understand that the delicious drinks are all that really matter.
The weekly special with its refreshing use of ginger packed a real punch, while my Jumpin Jacks prohibition cocktail (served in a kitsch little Golden Syrup tin) perfectly trod the line between sweet and sour. The Tea Tray sharers were equally chintzy, and with their subtle infusions of herby teas, fine spirits and refreshing fruit, they were both completely delectable.
If you are looking for a new hangout, more sophisticated in style than the all-night rager, you need to get yourself down to Rise 46. The lovely bartenders make the best cocktail I have tasted in a while (and that is really saying something) with a smiling side of comfort and style. What more could you ask for from South London’s up and coming cocktail circuit than this fool-proof date-night deal-maker?