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CocoonSync London Renter’s Guide: The best student bars in Clapham

Leafy, green and beautiful, south London’s Clapham has always been the original village-within-the-city. Over the past few decades, however, it’s developed a buzzing nightlife scene and is home to some of the best bars and restaurants in London. With that long-awaited trip to the pub coming ever closer, it’s time to start getting excited! If you’re a Clapham local or thinking about moving to Clapham, you’ll want to reacquaint yourself with the area’s bars.

We know, we know - Clapham is not exactly synonymous with a cheap night out but the ever-growing selection of pubs and clubs is making room for some rather affordable little gems that we think you should know about. So we’ve gone to the enormous trouble of compiling a guide to the best cheap bars in Clapham for students and spendthrifts alike!

What are bars in Clapham like?

You’ll find all manner of watering holes dotted across Clapham’s friendly streets, from craft beer breweries to music-lover meccas. Although this neighbourhood is not short on swanky places with suitably swish price tags, there are plenty of casual, easygoing spots that serve a well-priced cocktail and host a tempting happy hour!

Venn Street Records

Venn Street Records has a cool, retro vibe and is decked out like an old-school vinyl shop. Rather than rare classics, you can get ‘7-inch single’ shooters and signature cocktails. They also make their own pizzas in house and as well as a nice, long happy hour, there’s also a pizza hour, which is as great as it sounds.

Three Little Birds

This Clapham Junction spot serves Caribbean food at very reasonable prices as well as some lip-smackingly tasty cocktails which, during Happy Hour, are all £6. We love this sunny place for an early evening snack and a tipple: treat yourself to some Honey Jerk Chicken wings and a Dark and Stormy rum cocktail and you’ll get what we mean.

Tequila Mockingbird

You can’t go wrong with a night at Tequila Mockingbird (that pun, we can’t get over it!) Their Clapham location is spread over two floors with a basement specifically designed for dancing the night away. There’s 2-4-1 happy hour cocktails and £3 beers, the neon is bright and flashy and the wallpaper has palm trees on it - what more could you want?


This unique Clapham Junction spot has a rather innovative drinks policy. It’s called PYO - pour your own - and basically means you serve your own wine and beer. With 48 wines and 16 beers on tap, this local favourite is one of the most laid-back bars around, although its sophisticated decor may have you thinking otherwise. A chandelier dominates the interior, hung from a beautiful skylight, and the outside patio has a distinctly retro vibe. You can also tuck in to food all day every day with highlights including their scrumptious Spanish-style croquettes.

Northcote Records

Sister venue to Venn Street Records and Old Street Records, this Northcote Road spot follows the same winning formula as its siblings: live music, cocktails, beer and pizza. It’s buzzing pretty much every night of the week and was one of the original affordable, easygoing bars in Clapham. Exposed brick walls strewn with records and gig posters, leather banquettes and low lighting set the scene for the loud, house party-style events that kick off on weekends.

Be at One

B@1 may have locations all across London but there’s a reason they managed to expand so far and so quickly: the bars are really awesome. There’s a distinctly mainstream vibe to the place but this only adds to the loveable charm. Think Phil Collins on the speakers, classic cocktails (Sex on the Beach, anyone?) and bartenders that look like they should work in Hollister and probably did at one point. But then there’s the 2-4-1 cocktails at Happy Hour and the vibe that dares you to take yourself seriously and laughs at you when you do…

The Clapham Grand

This institution is the original Clapham party spot. Hosting all manner of events from stand-up comedy to bingo, it’s most known for its live music and all-night party vibe. The Grand is located in a Victorian-era building right at the heart of Clapham and is beloved by South London locals, mostly because entry is free and it’s open until 3am most weekends. Happy Hour is every day until 8pm and features £5 cocktails and beers for £3!

The Schoolhouse

Have you ever wanted to revisit your school days? At the Schoolhouse, you can! Located in St. John’s Hill, this gastropub brings back all the best bits of school and none of the lines or hideous uniforms. Think science project-style drinks and posh school dinners, pub quizzes and bartenders dressed like teachers. It’s a great spot for an inexpensive night out or afternoon sesh with your (school)mates.

Clapham residents, rejoice! We’ve lined up the best cheap bars in the neighbourhood so you can make your joyful return to London’s nightlife without having to break the bank in the process.

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