A wavering palm tree is not what you’d expect to see across the road from Clapham Common but at least it means you won’t miss Gigalum – one of the livelier bars on this strip.
A short stroll from Clapham South tube will take you to this small but action-packed bar, opposite the sprawling Clapham Common. It may not exactly deliver the tropical paradise alluded to by a towering palm tree and sunny patio garden out front, but it appears to have nailed a formula approved by the happy punters that flock here.
Floor-to-ceiling windows, pale floorboards, fresh flowers and touches of a vibrant pine-green paint against stark white walls give a light and airy feel to the interior. A long dark green bar flanks one wall, while low cream leather sofas and stools offer a prime lounging area opposite. The rest of the seating is made up of high booths and dark-wood dining tables scattered at the front.
Gigalum is essentially a long, narrow room partitioned with pillars and mirrors, but it manages to create quite a buzz for a small space. Sunday is definitely the night to be seen here. At a time when most venues in nearby Clapham and Battersea are winding down at the end of the weekend, Gigalum attracts a loud, up-for-it crowd until 11pm.
You can expect a chipper mob enjoying house DJ sets on Fridays and Saturdays, while it’s common for after-work drinkers to fill it out during the week. In the early evenings, music is played at conversation-friendly levels until the party atmosphere descends. Gigalum aims to create a glamorous, Ibiza-style ambience; however, some of the sexiness tends to fade late on busy weekends when the floors get sticky, the clientele gets slurry, and the glasses pile up.
A small menu is dished up lunchtime every day until 3pm and evenings from around 5pm (or all day on weekends), with a £9.50 roast on Sundays and brunch menu available on weekends.
There is nothing spectacular on offer, mostly burgers and Mediterranean snacks, and the prices are quite high (£9-£10) for the quality of food you get. The mixed platter (a selection of cheese, meats, calamari, dips, bread and olives) at £15 is nothing special but is good for sharing and satisfying your hunger before a night out.
The drink offering definitely trumps the food with a large choice. There’s a decent selection of beer, both draught and bottled, with some more unique brews thrown in. Tap beers range from £3.10-£3.90 with a choice of Amstel, Kronenbourg, Heineken, Sagres, Theakstone Bitter and Edelweiss Weissbier. Bottled beers start from £3.20 and standout choices include Asahi, Leffe, Vedett and Floris passion fruit beer.
There is a huge choice of spirits (17 vodkas, 9 gins and 15 rums) and a tempting cocktail menu mixing old favourites (Bloody Mary, Martini and Pina Colada) with tantalising originals like Sampa (rum and Italian liqueur mixed with lime, vanilla and Coca Cola) and a vanilla-infused strawberry daiquiri – all around the £7-£8 mark.
The Last Word
Actions speak louder than words and although the food and decor at Gigalum isn’t perfect, obviously it's doing something right as you can’t argue with the crowds that regularly converge here.