Sophisticated yet relaxed, The Bank offers a perfect balance between a friendly local and a classy gastro pub. It’s no surprise that this south west venue draws a young professional crowd every night of the week.
Despite being surrounded by several watering holes which are packed with people on any given night, this venue manages to hold its own. With gastro-style meals and bar snacks, loud music and competent, friendly staff, it’s clear why this modern pub is always buzzing. The floor is packed with seats, from basic dark-wood dining tables and high benches to vintage red-leather lounges, however, it avoids feeling crammed, even on a busy night. The décor is eclectic and antique, with more than 10 clocks of all sizes and colours hanging on one area of the main wall, and about a dozen framed photographs hanging on another section of the wall. The menus, which are covered with pictures of bank notes, are the only way this pub’s name links to its interior.
The Bank is a popular spot for groups of young professionals, who swing by for a wind-down drink and some bar snacks or a meal after work. The clientele are merry, yet sophisticated, while loud, modern music and dim lighting create an ambience that fits perfectly with this trendy part of Clapham Junction.
The food offerings are extensive and varied, catering for all occasions and appetites. Bar snacks are priced around £4.95, with mini burgers, cocktail sausages, chilli popcorn and tasty chargrilled pita bread with olives, hummus and tzatiki among the options. An all-day brunch menu with all the usual egg-based suspects, including a full English breakfast, is available from £6.75. But if it’s a traditional dinner you’re after the chard, aged feta and pine nut pastries with a cracked wheat salad (£8.50) is recommended. Accompanied by crunchy pine nuts and chard, which is part of the spinach family, the feta is wrapped in a filo pastry that is thin and crispy with the nutty, cheesy flavours soaking through. The salty, nutty flavours of the cracked wheat salad match the parcels, while the pomegranates in the salad add a subtle sweetness. At £10.50, the pork and Ibérico chorizo skewers are a bit of a let-down. The chorizo is mildly spiced and flavoursome, but the pork is rather dry and tough. However, the chickpea, tomato and roast pepper stew which accompanied the dish is much more satisfying.
There is no shortage of variety at The Bank’s bar, with a wide selection of wines, beers and even cocktails. The extensive, reasonably priced wine list begins with the house white, a smooth, fruity South African chenin blanc, and the house red, a merlot from the same South African winery (each priced at £14.50 per bottle/£5.20 for 250ml/£3.65 for 175ml). The Bank also offers wines from Argentina, Spain, France and Australia, with the most expensive red bottle being a Spanish rioja for £19.95, with a French Burgundy as the priciest white at £22 per bottle. Four rose varieties from France, Italy and USA, priced between £15.95 and £25 per bottle, also feature, while the choice of sparkling wine and champagne is unusually long, priced between £19.95 and £125 for the high-end Dom Perignon.
The Last Word
The Bank is a relaxed pub where friendly staff dish up much more than your average pub grub. This is the sort of place that will have you coming back again and again.