I’m starting to wonder why I even bother leaving Tooting these days. My favourite burger joint is round the corner, there are at least three decent pubs within stumbling distance, there’s a wine bar, a sushi bar, plenty of nail bars, and more curry houses than I can shake a stick at. And now… now, it seems the cocktail crews are coming in droves – there are four cocktail bars at my last count and the best part is, one of them is literally at the end of my street! Brick & Liquor is all sorts of trendy with its exposed brick walls, moody lighting, copper cocktail shakers, and pretty glasses… but looks will only get you so far, someone bring me a cocktail, pronto, and let me judge it properly!
My cocktail choices are fairly predictable; a cosmo from the classics or something fun and fruity from the fancier selections will do me just fine so the Clover Club seemed like a safe place to start. This combination of vanilla-infused Beefeater gin, lemon juice, egg white, and their own homemade raspberry syrup was absolutely the kind of thing I order all the time, and that was even before I saw how it was presented… stencilling the Brick & Liquor logo onto a cocktail screams the kind of attention to detail I like in my bars. Cocktails are generally expensive and I, like most, want to know that they have made with care. They’ve proved this point.
I’ve noticed that many Londoners, both native and new, can be quite picky with their postcodes. North, south, east or west, no one seems shy about sharing why they think their part of this city is the best place to live and why it’s much, much better than yours. Personally, I’m fairly neutral on the whole matter; my flat criteria consists of spare room, decent sized kitchen, short distance to tube station and supermarket, not outrageously expensive, outdoor space optional. We happened to find a flat that ticks all those boxes and it happens to be in Tooting, that’s SW17, in case you didn’t know.
It’s not one of those swanky central postcodes or even one of the sought after SW ones (I’m looking at you Claphams) but it’s certainly got character and more recently has often been reported as quite ‘up and coming’. Or so people kept telling us when we moved here, I think they said it in Time Out which we all know is quite the authority on these matters. Yet I was still unphased by this ‘my suburb is better than yours’ malarky, frankly, our flat fits the bill and I’m not that worried about precisely where it is. But then we started thinking about moving and I thought, it’s more than not bad here, it’s actually pretty good, and getting better all the time.
My drinking habits have certainly changed over the years. Back when I was a bright, young thing recently let (legally) loose on the town, my drink of choice was vodka. That blissfully tasteless spirit was well masked by lemonade with a squeeze of lime, or red bull for the nights we were dancing well into the wee hours of the morning. Wine was strictly cheap, white and to be guzzled at BYOs and beer was always a last resort. By the start of my working woman days, I had graduated to ciders in the afternoon, cocktails in the evening, however the wine guzzling at BYOs was still very much a thing.
Now that I’m a fully fledged adult, quit your sniggering, my main alcoholic squeeze is wine. Though I’m not adult enough to ditch the cheap and white completely, I have expanded the range considerably and a glass of wine with my meal is now the norm. And just when I thought my drinking evolution was complete, I recently discovered a fondness for dark beers such as stouts and porters. My 19 year old self did not see this coming. But rest assured, younger me, they haven’t knocked wine off the top spot in my affections, though that love was tested a few times at The Selkirk’s Beer v Wine Supper Club.
I’m getting the feeling people here really like chicken; this is the conclusion I’ve come to after spotting the huge number of chicken joints around. Everywhere. There’s no shortage of the fast food giants like KFC, Nando’s, and of course the local secret shame, Chicken Cottage, but on top of that you have the smaller players like the Peri-Peri Chickens, or Lick’n Chick’ns of the world.
The one thing they have in common for me? I’m just not so sure I actually want to eat there. Don’t get me wrong, I am partial to a good old KFC Zinger Burger when the cravings call, but I think we all agree that Chicken Cottage is a 3am starting-to-sober-up thing, and Nando’s is just an overpriced version of that. But now, chicken seems to be trending upwards; the humble bird is getting high-brow.