It did not start well. Keen but avoiding over-eager we turned up at Venn Street Records at 5.20 on a wet Sunday afternoon. The doors were open and someone was at home, but they asked us to come back in 20 minutes, they were running late. 25 minutes later and they still needed another 10. I am not sure what for because as far as I could tell the main staff activity seemed to be smoking, but what do I know? I am sure they were just getting things right!
So when we finally got our foot through the door at 6.10, we quickly grabbed menus with only 50 minutes of happy hour left to enjoy, two-for-one on most cocktails, priced at £7 on average. We also tried a number of different seats as we were hoping to hold a conversation and the speakers were, for a small bar, everywhere. Torn between high stools and tables centre stage or leather banquettes around the walls and across the elevated section of the back wall, we instead settled on rather comfortable high seats at the bar - there were only three allowing free passage for others to get their drinks - and asked our server for the night Aaron to mix us up a surprise. This was always going to be difficult to get right as my friend has a much sweeter tooth than I do. The Strawberry Mule was nice, a lot of vanilla in there, and when I was overheard saying it was a little too sweet it was whisked away and sharpened up. I am not sure what they did but I happily knocked back the rest.
Grab yourself a delicious cocktail and party the night away at Venn Street Records in Clapham.
Obviously not the only ones who were waiting for the doors to open, the bar filled up with alarming speed yet managed to avoid feeling crowded. A buzzing mixture of Clapham's young things arrived either in groups or couples. However, with the noise level it is not the ideal place for an in-depth catch up or to stare lovingly into your partners eyes; more one for a fun night out which I strongly suspect would end in some impromptu dancing around tables sort of night. If you feel like braving the outside for what is left of the summer, there is plenty of seating in the newly pedestrianlised Venn Street which is fast becomming Clapham's party piazza and it is a great people watching spot too.
Venn Street Records takes party and group bookings so get yourself a little spot in this hip new bar.
We leapt into action as happy hour drew to a close, this time going for a Stairs Julep, Muddled Green apple and Pear puree turned over crushed ice with fresh mint and a large measure of Honeyed Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey€. This was much more my scene with a delicious combination of sharp apple and smoky whisky.
With happy hour over I thought we were about finished€¦but not quite. My friend had her eye on the Sour Records so I manfully ordered a Venn Street Manhattan to keep her company. At only £7 for cocktails there was no need to look for cheaper options but a range of interesting, unusual bottled beers all under £4 flew past us over the evening. A glass of wine also comes in at less than £5 but it would be a waste not to try something more adventurous. This final round of drinks was absolutely delicious, definitely the best of the night, and they are not stingy on the alcohol here with free pouring measures. I cannot wait for the kitchen to re-open because with cocktails this good, accompanying food is a must-have.
A Clapham bar for music lovers, cocktail queens and those who like the good times.
You will not find hidden doors, extravagant smoking teapots or red lips and tea dresses here. You will find bare brick walls, leather banquettes, stacks of vinyl, neon lights spelling out the bar name - in case you forget where you are - and friendly staff. And despite never normally noticing the music I interrupted my friend several times throughout the evening to say I LOVE this song€ and bop along on my seat for a minute. We just missed the regular Sunday live music and with a big band pitching up in October I will definitely be back.
Thumbs up to the guys at Venn Street Records; I can only hope more bars will follow in their footsteps down to the South West to get it back on the London cocktail bar map.