The sun is getting braver this month, and so are we. It’s time to don the shades and go alfresco for lunch. From Source in Battersea to The Leather Bottle in Earlsfield, there’s no shortage of pubs and cafes with lovely outdoor dining areas in south west London. Here’s The Resident’s top alfresco spots…
Words: Madeleine Howell
1 The Ivy Cafe, Wimbledon
The garden terrace at the rear of The Ivy Café in SW19 is a magical, intimate oasis. Sip on a dreamy English spritz with Earl Grey gin, lemon and orange sacchurum, Prosecco and soda, or indulge in its glorious breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea and à la carte offerings. And that’s not to mention the flawless desserts.
75 High Street SW19 5EQ; 020 3096 9333; theivycafewimbledon.com
2 The Avalon, Clapham South
The Avalon’s summer garden may take you by surprise. There’s a giant feasting table, oak barrels, and a stiking living wall planted with lily-turf, ferns and ivy. You can even relax on bean bags and sheep skins. It’s all too easy to forget you’re in London, and the days can slip by rather easily…
16 Balham Hill SW12 9EB; 020 8675 8613; theavalonlondon.com
3 The Alexandra, Wimbledon
There’s nothing like a rooftop terrace for soaking up the sun and catching up. If it gets a little chilly as the evening progresses, hot water bottles and blankets are on hand, so you can focus on enjoying the traditional menu of fish and chips or socialise over a sharing board. There’s also DJs at the weekend if you’re after a more lively atmosphere come sundown.
33 Wimbledon Hill Road SW19 7NE; 020 8947 7691; alexandrawimbledon.com
4 Brew, Putney
All-day breakfast, wood fired pizzas after 5pm, an outdoor cinema on Wednesday nights and a top notch wine list – Brew in Putney is a spring summer go-to. As the fourth Brew café in South West London, the Putney location was the first to open in the evenings and has a lovely outdoor terrace area currently sheltered by a retractable roof. There’s a heating system to keep you warm while it’s still chilly, so sit outside for an early morning juice, a late Bloody Mary-fuelled brunch, afternoon coffee and cake, or an evening of wine and pizza.
162-164 Lower Richmond Road SW15 1LY; 020 8789 8287; brew-cafe.com
5 The Duke’s Head, Putney
The Duke’s Head is a Young’s pub famous for its prime location for the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race. Indulge in a Sunday roast after a leisurely walk along the Thames Path, or enjoy a craft ale outside the Victorian Grade II listed building as you watch the world go by on a balmy evening.
8 Lower Richmond Road SW15 1JN; 020 8788 2552; dukesheadputney.com
6 St Clement’s, Parsons Green
In the pretty environs of Parsons Green, opposite the fresh flowers and veg of Bayley & Sage, you can sample a healthy brunch on the pretty decking of St Clement’s, which has just launched a spring menu. We recommend the pea, leek and chard fritters with perfectly poached eggs, followed by the indulgent blood orange cake.
201 New King’s Road; SW6 4SR; 020 7998 8919; stclementscafe.co.uk
7 The Leather Bottle, Earlsfield
A pub rich with history, The Leather Bottle began life as an inn and hostelry, with a blacksmith attached to the side of the building. Complete with an all-day barbecue, the infamous back garden is a popular summertime haunt complete with real log fires.
538 Garratt Lane SW17 0NY; 020 8946 2309; leatherbottlepub.co.uk
8 Maison St Cassien, Wimbledon Village
Maison St Cassien offers a flavour of the Mediterranean and is Wimbledon Village’s go-to spot, frequented by tennis stars such as Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova. As soon as the sun comes out, it’s the perfect place to relax and watch the world go by, whether you’re enjoying the varied menu of vine leaves, lamb kofta and feta, or just pausing for a cappuccino and a croissant.
71 High Street, Wimbledon SW19 5EE; 020 8944 1200; maisonstcassien.co.uk
9 The Castle, Tooting
Established back in 1832, The Castle in Tooting is a cavernous pub with a generous outdoor space to match. There’s plenty of seating, in both heated cabins and in the open air, so even on the hottest, busiest days of the year you’re sure to find a spot for your crew as you soak it up.
38 Tooting High Street SW17 0RG; 020 8672 7018; castletooting.com
10 Hand in Hand, Wimbledon Common
If it can claim Wimbledon Common as its own, then the Hand in Hand wins the prize for the best beer garden – but that might be cheating. Still, its very own courtyard is also an excellent al fresco space. With low 19th century ceilings and a cottage-like feel, you could be deep in the countryside as you tuck into a plentiful portion and a pint.
6 Crooked Billet, Wimbledon Common SW19 4RQ; 020 8946 5720; youngs.co.uk
11 The Althorp, Wandsworth
The Althorp is a family-friendly pub overlooking the grassy green meadows of Wandsworth Common. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a pub lunch or roast in the sunshine after an amble along the picturesque boutiques of Bellevue Road. There’s live music every other Friday and a selection of London beers including lager and wheat from Meantime Brewing.
20 Bellevue Road; SW17 7EB; 0208 767 9677; thealthorp.co.uk
12 The Ship, Wandsworth
Riverside hangout The Ship in Wandsworth is an alfresco institution. Also available for private hire, it has a buzzing atmosphere that lends itself well to sampling beers from Sambrooks, Camden Town and Meantime breweries. They do a great Bloody Mary too, and combined with a blast of fresh air and a rib-eye steak, it’s the perfect hangover cure.
41 Jews Row SW18 1TB; 020 8870 9667; theship.co.uk
13 Minnow, Clapham
The new all-day eaterie Minnow on Clapham Common has a pretty walled courtyard at the back. The menu concentrates on modern European fare with stand-out dishes including char-grilled baby octopus with sour green mango, and charred lamb rump with chickpeas and harissa yoghurt. Created by Head Chef Jake Boyce, who previously headed up Jason Atherton’s Social Wine and Tapas, the dishes are accomplished and full of flavour.
21 The Pavement, Clapham Common SW4 OHY; minnowclapham.co.uk
14 Gigalum, Clapham
For more of an Ibiza-style club vibe, head to Gigalum near Clapham South Tube station, overlooking the common. In the week, go for a drink or a romantic dinner for two. On the weekend, gather the troops and prepare to dance the night away to an uplifting house music set. Strawberry daiquiri, anyone?
7-8 Cavendish Road SW4 9DW; 020 8772 0303; gigalum.com