The Best Cocktail Bars in Balham, London

Photo of Anouszka Tate
9 February 2017

Cheaper than Clapham but more central than Tooting, Balham is the place all young London professionals want to live. As well as boasting a SW postcode, easy access to the Northern line and the cheapest council tax in the country, Balham has an abundance of bars. After a long day climbing the corporate ladder, career-driven colleagues need a place to catch up over cocktails.

Hagen and Hyde

Pub, British, $$$
For a sociable night out in Balham, head to Hagen and Hyde. With quizzes each Monday, Motown and soul DJs on a Friday, and an eclectic mix of live music every Saturday and second Sunday of the month, the pub is Balham’s entertainment hub. If you’re not too busy getting swept up in the lively atmosphere try The Hagen, a sweet mix of Chambord & Cointreau with cranberry, or the vodka and Cointreau based Hyde.

Firefly Bar & Thai Kitchen

Bar, Thai, Asian, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
Just a stone’s throw from the station, Firefly is one of Balham’s best kept secrets. Loved just as much for its Thai kitchen and screening of live sports as it is its cocktails, this is a neighbourhood bar with big character. The useful addition of illustrations on the menu mean you know exactly what you’re going to get when you decide to be brave and pick a cocktail you’ve never heard of. The drawings will prove that the SoCo-based Louisiana Jam Jar is indeed served in a mason jar, and let you know that the Buried Alive – a Firefly institution – is a raspberry vodka concoction served in a tall tumbler.

Lost & Found

Bar, Cocktail Bar, British, $$$
Balham's Lost & Found Bar
Balham's Lost & Found Bar | Courtesy of Lost & Found
Just like your typical Londoner, Lost & Found embodies the varying moods and cosmopolitan vibes of the capital city. With a chilled atmosphere during the week, this bar has quickly become the post-work venue of choice for young professionals living in the sought after SW postcode. An intriguing mix of chartreuse and tobacco infused syrup, the Daddy’s Hip Flask is the most unusual cocktail on the menu. However, the bar staff is more than happy to go off menu, so tear off your tie, tantalise your taste buds and let your imagination run wild.

The Exhibit

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Contemporary, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
Balham's The Exhibit
Balham's The Exhibit | © Susan Simonsen Photography
Boasting a boutique cinema, numerous events spaces and a huge garden, The Exhibit is much more than a cocktail bar. As you’d expect from such a creative hub, their cocktail menu is anything but ordinary. A combination of fresh fruits, rich chocolate and a dash of double cream topped with a meringue, The Black Forest Gateaux will quench your thirst and satiate your appetite. Alternatively, embrace being in Balham with the eponymous Balham Julep – a spicy, herby, minty cocktail for the whiskey lover.

The Avalon

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Named after the mythical island at the heart of the legend of King Arthur, The Avalon is just as majestic as its namesake. Away from the heart of the smoky city, a more luxurious way of life is encouraged here. Sit outside sipping on classic cocktails, surrounded by elegant trees and soft lighting. Traditional tipples like martinis, mojitos and bellinis taste particularly good as the sun sets on southwest London.

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