We all know that you’re never far from a great drinking hole in Clapham, but on one street in particular you’ll find a great spot offering one of the best daily Happy Hour deals in SW4. We decided to find out why Venn St. Records can’t keep ‘em away.
The Venue and Atmosphere
One of a family of bars that offers live music, cocktails, pizzas and good times just around the corner from the Common, Venn St. Records is a side-street gem. The outdoor patio seating is ideal for when the weather is treating us right, and obviously packed once the sun has his hat on. The bar itself is cool, with retro style neon lighting, shelves of old records, and tables for resting and dining at which overlook the dance-floor. There are quirks throughout the venue, but it’s subtle, cool and muso-casual. Descend to the ladies toilets and you’ll find yourself faced with a door to the “sex dungeon” which I can only imagine is set as a trap for those who may have enjoyed one too many upstairs.
There is a weekly open mic night which draws out the best of South London’s lesser known talent (with the lure of a free drink to performers), as well as nights dedicated to contemporary and acoustic covers from a few regulars. As it was at the weekend when my pal and I visited to take advantage of the 2-4-1 deal across all cocktails until 8pm.
While pizza is served from Sunday-Wednesday, our Saturday visit was purely for the consumption of cocktails. Here, we had purpose.With the happy hour providing two of the same drink for the price of one, my friend and I started on a ‘Raspberry Collins’, with Bombay Sapphire shaken up with fresh lemon juice, raspberry puree, raspberry syrup and topped with soda. This very tall pink drink was refreshing and summer-ed, with an enjoyably fruity base. A complete contrast to the 'Banoffee Sazerac' which was potently made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon and stirred with caramel syrup, peychaud bitters and poured over an absinthe rinse and atomised banana liqueur. It was served short, with a slice of dried banana - a very pretty, smooth and indulgent number that we had to pace ourselves with - this drink isn’t for those who aren’t fond of the strong taste of alcohol, while it is 100% for anyone who enjoys a banana pudding.
For our next round we tried the in-house take on a Pisco Sour which happens to be their signature drink, the ‘Sour Records’. This frothy-topped drink was shaken up hard with Giffard Pistachio syrup and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, fresh lemon juice and egg white. This was strong with a bitterness that made me suck cheeks and shake my face to restore feeling, and again contrasted heavily to the drink that came next; ‘The Lemon Sherbert’, served in a martini glass with Eristoff vodka, fresh lemon juice and Giffard limoncello. The perfect cocktail equivalent to my favourite boiled sweet, this went down a lot smoother than the previous drink but still had a sharpness to make the mouth water.
We left as the crowd who were planning to settle in for what could be a raucous night began to arrive. With the promise of great cocktails and a party vibe into the early hours, there seems little reason to venture anywhere other than Venn St. Records if you’re looking for a fun night out down south.