When the sun shines, there’s only one thing to do – don the shades and go dine alfresco. From Battersea to Balham and Wimbledon to Wandsworth, there’s no shortage of pubs and restaurants 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
4 601 Queen’s Rd, Wimbledon
The new 601 Queen’s Rd, part of the Darwin & Wallace collection that also includes Nº29 Power Station West in Battersea and Nº32 The Old Town in Clapham, is a contemporary neighbourhood bar in Centre Court Shopping Centre. The venue has a cool, circular bar serving a good selection of wines, from Italian prosecco to deep reds and crisp whites, as well as plenty of craft, draft and bottled beers, and homemade lemonade. On a nice day, get yourself out on the roof terrace to soak up the sun.
4 Queen’s Road, Wimbledon SW19 8YE; 601queensrd.co.uk
5 Megan’s at the Power Station, Battersea
There’s no stopping Megan. The small, dog-friendly, neighbourhood restaurants in Chelsea/Fulham, Parsons Green, Balham and Clapham has added Battersea to its growing list of south London locations – and this one has a lovely outdoor terrace by the river and bi-folding doors so that, even when you’re inside, you’re outside. Megan’s is open all day offering home-cooked food, organic coffee, juices and weekend bottomless brunches.
27 Circus West Village, Battersea SW11 8NN; megans.co.uk
6 Cinnamon Kitchen, Battersea
Cinnamon Kitchen is bringing fire and spice to Battersea Power Station with minimalist industrial décor and a large outdoor terrace with sweeping views of the Thames. The restaurant serves contemporary Indian dishes, many unique to Battersea, like the Clove smoked Lamb Rump with Fennel and nutmeg sauce. Enjoy imaginative cocktails by award-winning mixologist Tony Conigliaro like The Coconut Kir and Assam Manhattan, and bar bites inspired by the dishes found on the Mumbai Jaipur Pink City Express train route.
Circus West Village, 2 Arches Lane SW11 8AB; cinnamon-kitchen.com
7 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
8 No 29 Power Station West, Battersea
No 29 Power Station West, part of the neighbourhood bar group, Darwin & Wallace, has a lovely riverside terrace with a pergola decorated with lush greenery. Dine on seasonal, locally sourced food, craft beers including Five Points Pale and cocktails including house favourites Pear Bellini and Passionfruit Caipirinha. Breakfast and brunch favourites include sourdough bruschetta with roast tomatoes, spinach, avocado and crispy bacon, or ricotta pancakes with seasonal fruit.
29 Circus West, Battersea Power Station SW8 4NN; no29powerstationwest.co.uk
9 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
10 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
11 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
12 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 alfresco space. The pub that dates back to 1835 but had a glorious refurb in spring 2019, serving upmarket pub food from braised beef cheek to sharing pies. Dogs are more than welcome.
6 Crooked Billet, Wimbledon Common SW19 4RQ; 020 8946 5720; thehandinhandwimbledon.co.uk
13 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; 020 8767 9677; thealthorp.co.uk
London Stock, the smart Ram Quarter restaurant that champions British produce and innovative cooking, has a lovely alfresco dining space in a peaceful courtyard. They also have a cracking Sunday roast menu featuring starters like French onion soup and venison tartare, with mains of roast sirloin of beef and pan-fried gilt-head bream.
2 Bubbling Well Square, Ram Quarter SW18 1UQ; londonstockrestaurant.co.uk
15 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
16 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
17 The Perky Nel, Clapham
The Perky Nel has just opened its doors in March 2019. Perking up Cavendish Parade, the new drinking and dining spot from the Livelyhood group (The Clapham North, The Regent and The Old Frizzle) has taken over from Gigalum. Out front, the large west-facing terrace remains, but is now festooned with pretty lights and plants. Expect pub classics but with added consideration, from gluten-free burgers to vegan-friendly dishes, small plates and specials. Brunch is available from opening until 3pm on weekdays and from midday at weekends (with an option for bottomless bubbles), and come Sunday it’s time for a roast. There’s a kids menu too, and the venue is dog friendly.
7-8 Cavendish Parade, Clapham SW4 9DW; theperkynel.co.uk
18 Waterside, Fulham
The Waterside in Fulham, recently refurbed, is a grand, three-story pub located in Imperial Wharf with elegant dining, opulent interiors and great views. It also has an expansive Thames-side terrace with plenty of seating, a light, airy conservatory opening onto the river and great views, making The Waterside is a summer essential or anything from brunch to cocktails and even a sunny Sunday roast.
The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf SW6 2SU; watersideimperialwharf.co.uk