If you’re on your way for a night out at the o2 Brixton Academy, there’s a wide selection of bars and pubs to choose from for that all-essential pre-gig drink.
But which is the best? And which is the closest?
After extensive road testing, we can reveal our drinker’s guide to the best and nearest places to grab a drink before a night at the Academy, starting with the bars closest to the venue.
VERY CLOSE INDEED
Plan B - 130 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
418 Brixton Road London, SW9 7AY
020 7733 0926
Situated mere metres from the Academy, Plan B is more of a nightclub than a bar, but it often opens early for the pre/post gig drinking crowd. The venue usually puts on DJs playing similar stuff to what’s on at the Academy, and there’s a great in-house sound system. There’s loads of room inside too, although beers can be pricey and there’s no food.
Beehive - 190 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
407-409 Brixton Rd, Brixton, London, SW9 7DG
This Wetherspoons pub can get rammed before a big gig, so expect lengthy queues and plastic glasses galore. If you can get to the bar, the beer and food is as cheap as you’ll find in Brixton, and it’s only a short walk to the Academy.
Situated opposite Brixton tube station up a short alley by the side of Marks and Spencer, this is a handy place for pre-show drinks on a gig night. It’s quite a small bar but serves up tasty food and snacks and has a great selection of wines, spirits and cocktails. It’s not cheap though, so lager monsters may prefer to head off to the Beehive.
A MERE STROLL AWAY
Canterbury Arms - 250 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
8 Canterbury Crescent, Brixton, London, SW9 7QD
020 7274 1711
Its location slightly off the beaten track (behind the police station) means that this is often a good place to get an unhurried pint before a gig. Drinks are pretty cheap, and if you like to be bombarded with sporting news and replays as you quaff, you’ll find the big screens on the wall a treat. The staff can be famously grumpy too, but we still love them.
Run by the Craft Beer Company, this new bar specialises in delightful hand picked ales, craft beers, spirits and wines. Definitely one for real ale lovers, but it’s a bit soulless for our tastes. Read a review here.
Atlantis bar (formerly Brixton Bar and Grill) – 300 metres from the Academy: see walking route here - CURRENTLY CLOSED
15 Atlantic Road Brixton, London SW9 8HX
020 7737 6777
Nestling in a railway arch under Brixton railway station, this bar is a bit bigger than it looks, with a lounge at the back. Service can be hit and miss, although there’s hopes that a recent renaming will get the place back on track. It’s open till 6am on weekends.
Queen’s Head - 300 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
144 Stockwell Road, Stockwell, London SW9 9TQ
Located within easy walking distance of the Academy, this pub offers reasonable prices, decent food (if a little pricey) and is less likely to be rammed before a big gig. It’s also a good place to go if you’re in the mood for a late after show drink.
A SHORT WALK AWAY
Marquis of Lorne - 400 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
49a Dalyell Road, London, SW9 9SA
020 7771 9408
Cruelly overlooked by most, this traditional, unmodernised Brixton boozer is well worth a visit if only for its stunning tile façade. You should also have no problem getting served too as it’s somewhat off the beaten track for most gig-goers.
[See photo feature on the Marquis of Lorne]
Prince of Wales - 450 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
469 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8HH
020 7274 5360
This place has had so many relaunches and refurbishments recently that this review is probably already out of date, but its current incarnation sees it operating as a gastro pub. It’s a big space inside so you should be able to get your orders in, but it still feels a bit soulless to us.
Duke of Edinburgh - 450 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
204 Ferndale Rd, Brixton, london, SW9 8AG
It’s a little off the main drag, but the real attraction here is the huge garden outside – perfect for those summer Academy gigs. There’s also a pool table and games area plus pub snacks.
A LITTLE FURTHER AFIELD
Five minutes or so from the Academy, this is a big bar attracting a younger/hipper pre-gig crowd. There’s usually good DJs doing their thing, as well as reasonably priced beer and tasty pizzas. Word of warning though: on some nights (particularly if you’re coming after the show) you may need to produce photo ID to get in.
This legendary Brixton pub offers cheap beer deals, good music and a mixed, friendly clientèle.
There’s decent and affordable pub grub on offer, a great pre/post gig atmosphere and it doesn’t get too rammed before most shows. On most Fridays, the pub hosts the eclectic and hugely popular Offline Club which rocks on past 2am. There’s also a lively and rather intimate smoking area around the back. We love it.
Occupying the site of the old Living Bar, the Market House bills itself as a ‘a new ‘speakeasy’ bar, diner and music hall.’ It’s more of a slightly upmarket gastropub to our eyes, but there’s some decent beers there and a pleasant outside area.
A BIT OF A MINOR TREK
Kaff Bar - 600 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
64-68 Atlantic Road, Brixton, London, SW9 8PY
Part club/part bar, this small and laid back arty drinkerie offers a range of reasonably priced cocktails and a few (slightly pricey) beers. They often have interesting shows going on late on Friday and Saturday nights, so might be worth checking out for an after-show drink.
Trinity Arms - 650 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
45 Trinity Gardens, Brixton, London, SW9 8DR
Situated in the most un-Brixton like tranquillity of Trinity Gardens Square, this traditional Youngs pub has a good selection of real ales, and serves food up until 10pm. It wouldn’t be our first choice of boozer to put you in the mood for a night of death metal at the Academy, but it’s an unfussy place to drink where you can guarantee a good pint.
A SMALL HIKING ADVENTURE
Grosvenor, 17 Sidney Road, Stockwell, SW9 0TP. Tel: 020 7733 1799 (Now closed)
The Effra Tavern - 800 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
38 Kellett Road, London, UK SW2 1EB
020 7274 4180
It’s a fair old walk to the Academy from the Effra, but it’s worth the walk if you’re after a traditional Brixton pub and a mixed clientèle. There’s often live jazz bands on Thursday nights, although the pub closes early – so we can only recommend it for a pre-gig drink.
Probably the furthest away of all our choices, but by far your best bet if you’re REALLY into real ale and top notch cider. The food choice is basic, but this place is all about ale, and you’ll find just about the best selection in south London – although some of the more esoteric brews can be very pricey indeed.
[Photo feature on the Crown & Anchor]
Electric Social - 850 metres from the Academy: see walking route here
40 Acre Lane, Brixton, London SW2 5SP
Swishily decorated large venue billed as ‘a country manor with a twist,’ there’s a decent selecttion of beers, real ales, world wines and cocktails on offer.
Free entry for pre-Academy drinks, but expect to pay if you’re mindful to return after the show on weekends.
We’ve compiled a list of Brixton bars that are open late on Thursday if you fancy a post Academy big session. Some of them will be open late on other weekdays too, so be sure to check with the venue. Here’s the listing:
(This listing is © BrixtonBuzz 2012)