Streatham may not be known for its happening bar scene but after years of regeneration it is starting to attract some decent new party spots. Step forward, The Hamlet.
The Hamlet is a fantastical venue that plays on the cool decorative flourishes of kitsch bars in Shoreditch, just without any of the attitude. The exterior doesn’t look like anything special – a simple wooden frontage with a few tables for smokers or alfresco drinkers. It’s inside where the magic really happens.
Divided across a restaurant and bar area, the space is stunning: a granny’s living room, were your granny the Mad Hatter. There’s fancy floral wallpaper, and chandelier-style lighting hangs low over the space. The seating is a mix of simple wooden tables and chairs and luxurious funky leather sofas in pinks, reds and browns. In the restaurant area the stripped-back wooden tables have been stained to read strange messages: everything from ‘The Hamlet’ through to ‘Love Never Dies’. It’s ostentatious and deliciously over the top.
The Hamlet wouldn’t look out of place in one of London’s cutting edge party spots, but placed as it is in Streatham the crowd is more laid-back. The jeans aren’t as tight as they may have been and the haircuts aren’t as crazy. This is a place the mainly local crowd has latched onto, as a dearth of quality bars in the area finally looks to be ending. The staff are also a lot less pompous than you get in places like Shoreditch. On Fridays and Saturdays the place turns clubby with dance tunes, while on Sundays it morphs into a piano bar.
The restaurant serves up well priced food that’s just fancy enough. Mains barely nudge above £10 a portion and include dishes like prawn pasta with chilli and garlic, steak and chips and mini crab cakes. They also offer breakfast at the weekend from 10am and a Sunday Roast.
There’s a simple drink menu on offer at The Hamlet. Wine covers simple if unimaginative bottles of mainly Italian and French whites and reds, starting at just £14.50. They also offer draught beer in the form of Moretti, Heineken and Asahi and they do a handful of cocktails for around £7.50 a drink covering classics like the white Russian. If you’re a purist then the Chocolate Martini (£8.50) may not impress, as the alcohol flavour is hidden by sickly creaminess that’s more milkshake than martini; but hey, it is damn tasty.
The Last Word
Streatham has a great gastro pub. It has a great boozer. And now Streatham has a great DJ bar. Can it be that this previously unforgotten and neglected area of south London is finally putting itself on the map for the right reasons? It would indeed appear so.