38 Clapham High Street, Clapham, London SW4 7UR
This is the first ever bar owned by the legendary music label, Hed Kandi (Ministry of Sound). Hed Kandi is famed for uplifting funky house, live instrumentals and summer nights in Ibiza. If you are a fan of the label or these three things then the thought of a Hed Kandi owned bar is something of a dream come true. So does it live up to its namesake? The bar itself is much smaller than I expected and from the outside looks like one of the many other small bars on Clapham High Street (which is a bit disappointing). The bar is quite narrow with the drinks bar flanking the left hand side. The ceiling is covered with white LED backed panels that are constantly changing colours and the house lights are down low. At the back is a small mezzanine level with seats and couches to chill with your cocktails. As a whole it is small, which is why this is most definitely a DJ bar rather than a club. While the decoration won't blow your mind, it does have a sexy, intimate feel, which fits with the Hed Kandi brand perfectly.
The drinks bar is white and glitzy and the main focal point of the whole place. The DJ booth is at the front of the mezzanine looking down over the main bar area. The music, as you would expect, was a brilliant mix of funky house and some club classics which you can't help but dance too. While there is no obvious dancefloor, everyone all over the bar was up and on their feet. If they do have a live saxophonist playing on some nights, as they do in Ibiza, it would be the perfect bar to let your hair down, forget your inhibitions and just dance! Also, I was very impressed with the drinks prices - cocktails are £6.50 (and very very strong!), Jager bombs and other "disco bombs" are £4 and bottles of wine start at £13.95. I think it's fantastic they haven't hiked up their prices simply because of the brand name; you therefore don't have to have a ridiculously expensive night here.
One point to look out for is the clientele - I fear that it will attract many West End try-hards and Hed Kandi is notoriously popular with San Antonio / Tenerife types too. It isn't a given that the bar will be filled with this sort of clientele and I hope the crowd is in fact in line with the other bars in Clapham, but I am sure people will definitely be attracted from far and wide to try out Hed Kandi's first attempt at a bar.
In conclusion, the bar itself is by no means mind-blowing to look at, is quite small bearing in mind it will be packed to the rafters on weekends and doesn't really have the Ibizan feel I was longing for, but, if you are a fan of Hed Kandi or funky house you will definitely have a fantastic night here. Clapham isn't known for its great DJ bars, where you can have a good old dance, and for me, this is now the best Clapham has to offer in this category. If you are indeed south of the river and you want to go out somewhere open till late where you can let your hair down, Hed Kandi bar should now be your first port of call. I will definitely be back (and hoping for a live saxophonist to be on the bill).