The Rookery, Clapham

The Rookery, Clapham
Is it a pub, is it a speakeasy?

The Vibe

If you’re one of the last people on earth to extol the benefits of Clapham, The Rookery will be a babystep towards changing your mind. It was only a matter of time before a pub cottoned on to the prohibition trend, but rather than being yet another gimmick on an overdone scene, this gastropub-bar hybrid is just great. It’s still got the conventional pub set up, with a casual ‘local punter’ bar to prop up on and some seating areas at the front. However, it’s a bit darker, a lot prettier (exposed brick, white tiles, hanging lightbulbs) and conceals an attic-like bar up some winding stairs that provides speakeasy secrecy. For first dates there’s a romantic corner table with curved bench seating overlooking the bar – a drink or a waitress is never further than a nod away. At night the tables are framed by tealights and full on candelabras, making it pitch perfect for winter romance. With its boutique beers and edgy décor Rookery is comparable to a Brooklyn or LES watering hole. Providing they manage to avoid the typical Clapham crowd and attract pale ale drinkers who have journeyed from Hackney, then they’re onto something.

The Order

Oh this is hearty alright. Tuck into a platter of cured meats with brie, bread and cornichons whilst gents nurse a beer and ladies try a Gin Fizz or Negroni. Short and sweet cocktails will do nicely, a larger one would fill you too soon. The Hampshire pork croquettes are incredible, rich, crunchy and cheesey, so add that onto the order. Then for mains, from steak to lamp to pork shoulder, it’s all heavy and meaty. A nice idea is to order two different mains and ask for plates to share and some veggie sides- this saves it from becoming too Sunday dinner- like and reinstates that old sharing plate romance.

The Game

If you live in Clapham but always fiendishly moan about the place, then this is your chance to date close to home and still retain your cool credentials. If you don’t, then this is a good way to ease yourself into the area. The art of surprise is on your side here as you meet at Clapham South and lead your date down a busy road devoid of restaurants or life. Your date will breathe a sigh of relief as you approach the pub exterior, followed by a much broader smile once they see the stylish interiors. Don’t fool around with a drink at the bar, head straight to your table, offer your date the innermost seat and blindsight them with an immediate compliment. Then order the drinks, talk about how tasty it all looks and suggest you have a bottle of red with the meal. It’s an easy date to get comfortable with someone as the whole place feels pretty cosy. There’s no pressure to rush this, see how long you can stay. Don’t do your kissing at the table, too many flavours going on and the walk back to the station makes a nice build up. Then kiss outside the entrance for longer than is appropriate. Then one of you enter the station, the other one walk away.

The Faults

Perhaps the area? (sorry)

Sex Factor

3. It’s snug, it’s romantic and it may well merit a repeat return with this person if it goes well. You might be a little too full to get jiggy but there’s no harm in trying.

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