Are you visiting London just for a week? Staying with a friend for a month? Or just a casual Londoner looking forward to spending a break from your everyday habitat at Croydon? If you are having doubts about your plans when spending your night out in Croydon either because it is a not very well known area for you or because you’ve already been disappointed more than once or simply because…all venues are so scattered across Croydon that making a decision is hard, here is my attempt to ease your pain. Try reading about my night trip around the streets of Croydon and even I you don’t spot a must see venue you’ll have at least ruled out some options.
Destination 1: Anabella’s Kitchen
A few days ago I managed to persuade a colleague of mine to spend his evening with me trying out new experiences at some Croydon’s restaurants and clubs. Of course first of all comes dinner, no one is foolish enough to start trying out London bars without having eaten well. In return for my friend’s acceptance for this peculiar journey I had to at least let him pick the food and that is how we headed to Anabella’s Kitchen – for no particular reason, it turns out he just liked the name. My first impression of the restaurant was very nice – friendly service, warm and welcoming atmosphere, from the first visit this place looks like the one you loved having lunch at with your dearest friends at the neighborhood. Continuing with our orders things are still going well – no delays of food or drinks. The food menu is very authentic, with Mediterranean dishes (nicely cooked fresh seafood, grilled meats and more), we very much enjoyed the lamb cutlets. The drink menu is also very satisfying – a wide variety of wines and cocktails. What is more, the portions you get are pleasingly big and come at a reasonable price too. Anabella’s Kitchen is not a five star treat for your night – rather a newly opened little diner – but that’s not what everybody looks for – the place is chill, somewhat intimate and clearly created and managed with care; if I get the chance I would come back without giving it a thought.
Destination 2: The Oval Tavern
After a relaxed dinner it is best to hit a pub and start with drinks before you’ve eaten too much and decided to go home and sleep soundly. So our next stop was The Oval Tavern. I confess, it was my choice and again the reason had nothing to do with reviews or recommendations, I simply leaned towards this option because I am a fan of the ‘Scandal’ TV Show – if you cannot visit the oval office itself, go to the Oval Tavern in Croydon, right? Now, I know many of you are not fans of pubs with their urine odors and tables covered with cheap beer but our aim was to find one which stands out from the crowd. And I might say we succeeded. The Oval Tavern is a local favorite and on top of that it boosts a reputation which attracts many visitors even out of Croydon. I can see why that is. We truly loved the atmosphere, makes you want to stay for a sleepover – yes, it is that cosy, lively and has a quirky feeling around it sending you back to your high school or college years. The music is great, a perfect match to the pub’s interior; the staff are friendly and welcoming and the drinks are more than enjoyable. One of The Oval Tavern’s best features is the beer garden – everybody loves it and another is reportedly the food menu. I say reportedly because I had no more space to try it out but from what I heard it’s one of the main things attracting visitors.
Take a look at the food menu yourself: Menu
Another are the weekly events at The Oval Tavern. Every Monday the pub hosts a friendly darts league, on Tuesdays there’s the blues jam (very valued night at the venue), on Wednesdays the event is called Aunty Wendy’s pub quiz – would like to try this ; every Thursday there is an acoustic night; on Friday nights different DJs play their music at the pub; the following Saturdays are remembered with the ‘Storytime with Jenny Lockyer’ and live bands later on while Sundays are the nights for jazz lovers.
The Oval Tavern was a great addition to our journey – a cute pub with an owner who personally takes care of the visitors’ enjoyable stays and a perfect place for making your regular.
Destination 3: Shooshh Nightclub
We had to leave the tavern at some point…We had planned an evening worth writing many things about, giving up on it and harboring at the pub was no option for our wild plans. After a few beers we finally got around to paying and picked a relatively close by club – the Shooshh Nightclub. This venue opened its doors not very long ago and as such I decided it deserves the attention and checking it out would be a right move. The place turned out to be quite acceptable, not what you usually get in a nightclub, cared for, with efficient staff, nice drinks, cool music for everyone’s taste and comfortable seating. I must say we enjoyed ourselves despite the few groups of students drunk enough to be eager for a fight with anyone, after all it wasn’t anything excessive. Also, the prices at this club were very affordable and given the fact that it was actually a nice place for the night I guess you wouldn’t seek anything more. However, I cannot help mentioning that it wasn’t what we were looking for – acceptable is not what makes your night unforgettable and if that’s what you’re trying to find, I’d advise you to leave Shooshh out of the top of your list…Other than these high expectations, the nightclub is perfectly suitable for a casual night over drinks while dancing to cool music.
Although our night could have been a tad wilder, I consider this journey trough Croydon’s miracles successful. Londoners and tourists are well aware of the chance of being utterly disappointed when trying out a new venue and what I can surely state is that the above mentioned places will help you avoid such incidents. Check them out yourself and see whether I am telling the truth, if I’m not – then help the next hesitant tourist and write your own opinion of these Croydon’s heroes.