The Calf information

The Calf offers a choice of beers, wines and spirits. Food served at the bar is modern and international. The Calf also caters for vegetarians.

Ranked #257 of 2091 pubs & bars in London

Is this venue information incorrect? Help us get it right!

improve this listing

Do you work at The Calf?

Claim your free listing to take control. Add offers, images, event info and more for free!

claim here

show more

What did you think of The Calf?

your rating

The Calf reviews

By Andrew M.

The Calf is much better than the cow? No seriously The Calf is good but they should change its name to moo cow.

By T.

I wouldn't recommend The Calf. The staff are very rude and we had to wait 55 minutes for our microwaved food!

By Chris B.

This pub has suffered since it relaunched a while back with the usual issues of being understaffed and struggling to find staff who will graft for minimum wage. However as a neighbour I've persevered and found myself pleasantly surprised. The Manager is always honest and apologetic concerning the restrictions of the trade and the rest of the team has settled in nicely and genuinely tries to serve you as fast as possible. Please give the pub another go and I'm sure that you'll be surprised!

By Sarah M.

Waited over 2 hours for Sunday lunch today and when I asked the staff how long it was going to be they were very rude - would not recommend this pub...

By James M.

As a barman working in the same chain of pubs I thought the service would be on a par with ours, sadly it isn't. Went in for Sunday lunch today and the food was terrible. The £14 roast beef came with 2 small, cremated pieces of beef and a few, presumably day old, potatoes. The curly haired blonde a manager was rude and only interested in serving the male customers. Overalls a very poor experience, I wouldn't pay £5 let alone £14. Shame really

By Simon M.

Oh dear...this used to be a decent pub with decent enough pub grub. Very very poor Sunday roast. Pub was near empty, roast was dismal given the price and there's much much better fayre to be had in the many pubs nearby (which were all very busy). One bartender on shift who had no idea how to pull a pint - not his fault as he should have been told what to do. There's a sign up saying it's under new management - clearly the new team need to go visit the other pubs, bars and eateries in the area to get a sense of what's needed. Seriously poor - so bad in fact we came home and cooked our own roast. This place could (and should) be a busy, well staffed pub with good food - as are most of the other pubs around the Old Town, Common and High Street. Avoid.....

By Simon S.

I'm glad other people here are in agreement over the rude staff. I don't think I have ever taken a pint back in my life, but ordered one from here which tasted very off so decided to do so. When I took it back to the barmaid she said it "looked" fine to her before taking it outside to the manager who was smoking, who then drank some of it and said it was fine. Hardly a customer is always right sort of establishment. It's fair to say I have never been back.

By Jason R.

I'm surprised you had a poor night. It's my local and usually really good so must have been an off night for the chefs. Your Sunday must have been good for you to go back, so don't let Tuesday put you off.

By Lucy C.

I went to the Calf last night with my boyfriend for dinner having spent a sunday afternoon drinking in there before. The place was about half full, and most of those in there didn't appear to be eating. We ordered food from a very grumpy barman who informed us that our pies would be about 30 mins. 50 minutes later we had to ask where they were. There was a lot of rushing about and microwave action going on in the kitchen and then suddenly our food appeared! It wasn't great. I'm sure you can imagine what microwaved pie and mash tastes like! We complained but the response was that the chef is normally very quick, not that we'll be going back to find out!

By Geoff B.

I have visited the Calf on a number of occasions with my girlfriend during the last few months usually on a Friday. There are some great beers on tap such as Leffe, also a good selection of wines. The atmosphere is genteel bohemian. The staff are friendly and efficient. Later in the evening some vinyl is usually spun-last time it was relaxed house. The Tapas is great if you're feeling peckish.Geoff01

By S.

I was hugely disappointed after arranging to meet 9 friends at The Calf for Sunday lunch. Though there was a wide selection of beers and wine, when it came to the food, 5 of our 9 meals were cold, and when we returned the meals, we were greeted with hostility. The meals were brought back STILL cold, and no the majority of the staff are grumpy and arrogant! The Calf management were not interested in our constructive criticism either!

By B.

I booked a get-together at The Calf for my friends and was pleasantly surprised. I have known The Calf for a few years and stopped going a while ago, but I think it has certainly changed and will be going back for food (which was great, despite a 40 minute wait) and drinks.

I would recommend The Calf to anybody passing who wants a cosy, relaxed but trendy atmosphere.

By H.

The calf has great wines, great food, friendly bar staff and a friendly chef. The furniture needs a good clean though, our hands stuck to the table. There are also dirty toilets.

The thing that really drags The Calf down in my opinion is the manageress who is rude and obnoxious.

By M.

We have been to The Calf on a few occasions now and I have to say that since the pub has undergone a change of management, you will find that The Calf is now on the up.

I disagree with the comments about the bar staff. They are hard working individuals who happen to enjoy the atmosphere they create behind the bar. I think they are good fun to watch, and you do get served even on a Saturday night when it is 5 people deep at the bar, and judging by the amount of people at The Calf it cant be that bad.

Food is very good although I agree that the portions need to be bigger, but hey, give them a chance to come good on that as well. It takes time to build a reputation back up!

By J.

If you’re in Clapham and want to eat, eat somewhere other than The Calf. In fact, drink somewhere else as well. I have lived in London for 6 years now and I would have to say, without a doubt The Calf is the worst pub in London in my opinion.

The staff were not only rude but plain incompetent - possibly due to the fact that they appeared to be pissed and under the illusion that they were charming.

The foodat The Calf? Well, I ordered a meat platter to share and after 45 minutes of waiting (2 reminders) I received 2 slices of processed chicken roll, ham roll, beefy-ish roll, a sliced baguette and a blob of the cheapest pâté the size of a football, all for 9 quid. Bargain! The local supermarket must be doing well out of these guys though. To reiterate, The Calf is the worst place to eat in London.

By Kris E.

With youth on its side, The Calf is a playful pub for games and giggles.

The Venue
Hauling yourself off the main drag of Clapham High Street may not feel worth it when bars there abound. Taking that attitude, it must be assumed The Calf has escaped you, as it merits going a little further afield. Still only five or so minutes from Clapham Common tube, the short trot ends comfortably – in giant, brown leather sofas and deep, cosy armchairs. The curtained-off sections keep going and going with plenty of tables for all, and after opening out in a raised back room, there is yet more space to come in the games area at the end.

The pub is warmly decorated but youthful, its yellow bricks, ceiling fans, tinted skylights and cream coloured rafters make it light and airy to match the spacious, breezy atmosphere. Local artwork available for purchase blends in, and yet constantly updates the walls.

The Atmosphere
Plimsoll-wearing happy people and mixed parties with youngsters fill this venue all week long. Despite its acreage, it is tough to imagine it empty as big kids mucking around have more than enough personality to fill it. Board games, a weekly quiz, darts and pool top the gaming bill. A favourite is the balance-the-coin-on-the-floating-lemon challenge that can win you a drink.

The staff won’t spoil the fun and yet don’t particularly join in. Unfazed, the bartenders methodically work through the throng. Speed is not top priority but it’s all done right. You wait your turn. You mind your manners. Everything just moves along.

The Food
Given the beast of its namesake, patrons would be forgiven for expecting The Calf’s menu to be cow centric. It’s not, and has a superb variety on offer, snacks including duck quesadilla, halloumi stuffed baked red peppers, and sticky pork ribs to name the most enticing. What the beef brigade will be pleased to see is that a decent list of handmade burgers features. For a double meat whammy with impressive freshness, the towering chorizo, avocado and salsa beef burger (£8.50 for 8oz and £9.50 for 10oz) will challenge even the most dedicated of carnivores, the vintage cheddar and bacon equally taking its toll. The centrality of the grill, located next to the bar, and a high burger turnover does not lend itself to the subtleties of doneness - be aware they could arrive overcooked.

For those less bothered by the bovine theme, there’s plenty more to satisfy. The warm goat cheese salad with beetroot, sugar snap peas, spring onions and gem lettuce (£6.25) is clean, balanced and perfectly dressed. How The Calf sells a single dessert after all that is unfathomable, but the ‘little bit of each’ selection (£4.95) is a genius sharing idea for just a taste of something sweet.

The Drink
Fun and fruity can best summarise the bar offerings, and come winter or summer there’s something to suit. The smooth Saam Pinotage (£3.60 for 175ml) has dark berry and plum flavours with hints of vanilla to lighten it up. When the nights draw in though, there are punchier reds. With lime and melon, the Chilean Palena Sauvignon Blanc (£10.50) holds its own on the tropical side.

If beer is more your thing then they offer the strawberry beer Fruli (£3.80). The bottles hover around the £3.50 mark and there are more strawberries, as the pub stocks Brothers Strawberry. If you know what you’re doing with ciders then the Brothers Festival Strength 7% has a sparkly kick quite beyond any other pear cider there is.

The Last Word
A pleasant detour from the chain bar dominated centre of Clapham, The Calf and its upbeat lot are a great way to squander away a silly afternoon. This place is for big kids looking to get rid of their excess energy.

Find a pub or bar