Bikes and Pizza

The former site of the French Cafe on Ritherdon Road is going to become a new branch of The Dynamo – a pizza restaurant and cycling shop. No firm dates on when it will be opening yet. Please let us know if you hear anything.

More details from London Eating. Thanks to Lee Christensen for the tip.

Theatre N16 Seeking New Home

Theatre N16 have been based upstairs at the Bedford for the last couple of years. But now they are looking for somewhere new to live as the new owners of the Bedford are looking to redevelop the space.

Given that they were in Stock Newington before coming to Balham (the clue is in their name) I expect it’s unlikely that they will stay in the area. Which is a shame – they have been a great addition to Balham’s cultural scene.

They’ll be leaving in December. More details in The Stage.

Nostalgia – Goblins

Has anyone been around long enough to remember Goblins?

It was a bar on Bedford Hill. At number 90 – where Krua, the Thai restaurant is now. It was probably best known for being a place where… well, how can I put it? A place where you could often get a drink long after no legal avenue was available to you. This was in the days before all-day licensing. Back then, most pubs closed at 11pm every night.

After Goblins closed, the site became a series of restaurants. I remember Sadya being a particular favourite – it was an Indian.

And now the site is a Thai restaurant. I’ve only been there once, but I thought it was pretty good.

Were you ever involved in a Goblins lock-in? Do you remember any of the other restaurants that have been on that site?

Simmons Bar Coming Soon

The space at 5 Fernlea Road hasn’t had a particularly successful history. Over the last ten or so years, it has been home to a series of unsuccessful bars. The Adventure Bar, the Three Monkeys and, most recently, the Graffiti Bar have all tried and failed to build a business on that site.

I’m not sure what it is that stops bars being successful there. But having The Bedford right opposite you surely can’t help.

But there are always more people willing to try to run a successful bar and over the weekend a poster appeared in the window saying that the venue would be re-opening as a Simmon’s Bar next week. And there’s an hour of complimentary drinks (from 8-9pm) for anyone there on their opening night, Thursday 5th October.

Perhaps this will be the one that makes a success of the site.

Queuing for Milk

Why do people queue for brunch at Milk?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think the brunch at Milk is great. I certainly don’t subscribe to Melissa Kite’s “left-wing breakfast” nonsense. But every weekend there are huge queues outside.

Surely no brunch is worth queuing for. Or is this some Balhamite social custom that I’m unaware of?

French Cafe Closes

Another sad entry in the “use it or lose it” files. The French Cafe on Ritherdon Road has closed down.

I didn’t go there as often as I should have, but every time I was there I had a great time.

As always, please let us know if you find out what’s going to take its place.

Nostalgia – The Balham Tandoori

Does anyone else remember the Balham Tandoori?

It was on the site of what is now The Balham Lounge. It was the only Indian restaurant I’ve ever come across that was run by a West Indian.

He was a lovely old chap though. Whenever we went in we would be the only people in there. He’d greet us like old friends and ask us if we wanted our usual. He would then bring us something completely random from the menu.

Thinking about it, it’s pretty clear why it closed down!

Coffee Update

There are three types of shop that Balhamites just can’t get enough of – hairdressers, estate agents and coffee shops.

Recently, Lavish Habit closed down and turned into Esquires Coffee. But that, of course, didn’t alter the number of coffee shops in the area (which remained static at 784). But this week the covers came off the building work on the site of the old casino on the high street. And it was revealed as a…

Costa Coffee!

Not sure when it will be opening. But it will be Balham’s 785th coffee shop. I can’t put it better than Aaron Bonner did:

Balham House – Blink and You Miss It

The Balham Arms (a rather nice pub) closed down earlier this year and a couple of months later it re-opened as Balham House. I believe it was more of a restaurant than a pub, but I can’t be sure because, before I managed to get there to try it out, it closed down.

Apparently, they sold all their gear in a sale.

The site still stands empty. Let us know if you hear what’s going to happen to it.

Welcome to

A new site that aims to have its finger on the pulse of what’s going on in SW12. Restaurants, pubs, shops, festivals, markets. What’s opening? What’s closing down? We aim to cover it all.

If you know of changes in Balham that we haven’t covered, then please let us know.