Head south-west and check out Brixton’s older, greener cousin.
Why go there?
Because it’s lovely and leafy without being too plummy yummy mummy. There are delis and coffee shops for urbanites, and loads of places to walk and chill out.
Great! So where should I go first?
Streatham is long – the high street alone stretches nearly two miles – so starting with a caffeine fix might not be a bad idea. Perfect Blend (Streatleigh Parade) is a coffee shop by day that turns into a wine bar at night. Boyce Da Roca (Leigham Hall Parade) is worth a pitstop, serving sourdough toasties, homemade soup and fresh juices, while Brooks & Gao (Streatham High Road) does cronuts and salted caramel brownies.
And what should I eat?
Pizza. Whether you check out the Wiliamsburg-y vibes of Bravi Ragazzi (Sunnyhill Road) or the more Italian homestyle Addommè (Sternhold Avenue), SW16 has got oven-baked, molten-hot, cheesy gooeyness pretty much sewn up.
I’m thirsty. Where can I get a drink?
Pratts & Payne (Streatham High Road) is named after two of the area’s biggest institutions: Pratts, the former department store, and Cynthia Payne, a local ‘entrepreneur’ who was sentenced to 18 months in jail in 1980 for running a brothel. It serves fine ales and has a big garden for the summer, and board games for when the weather’s a bit naff, or you’re bored of being spanked by vicars in big nappies.
I’m satisfied. Where I can go to walk it off?
Head to The Rookery on Streatham Common, a landscape garden with an ornamental pond and herbaceous beds. It’s so relaxingly un-urban that you’ll forget what an angry bus driver even sounds like.
Where can I head for some retail therapy?
The Indigo Tree (High Parade) for crafts, gifts and cards or Bayshi (Streatham High Road), which is a small boutique selling stylish bags.
Anything else to see?
Oh yes! Streatham has its own ice hockey legends, the (somewhat dubiously named) Streatham Redskins, one of the oldest teams in Britain, who play at Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre. Elsewhere, the Tate Library is lovely if you’ve got a spare afternoon, or you could mooch around St Leonard’s Church (all of the above on Streatham High Road) or visit Streatham Green.
Party until the early hours (well, the late evening) at Hideaway Jazz Cafe, which has a brilliantly relaxed, friendly vibe and some seriously good music.
By Chris Mandle, who knows what a ‘party planner’ does
Fancy a change of scene? Here’s the best bits of Putney.