There is a stigma attached to Brixton that, although not entirely
unfounded, is fast becoming out-of-date. Lambeth Council and local
police have worked tirelessly over the last few years, as illustrated
by council statistics that show a significant decrease in violent crime
over the last 3 years.

This subject has always provided much
political and social controversy with Londoners, and Lambeth Council is
the first to admit work needs to be done to highlight the progress that
has been made. After all if the locals don’t feel safe despite the
improvements, then it is no wonder the rest of London views Brixton as
a scary place to be.

On the streets of Brixton you may still be
offered drugs but you aren’t necessarily going to be mugged the minute
you get off the tube – which makes Brixton no different to popular
areas such as Camden.  The only way to form an opinion is to head
for the southern end of the Victoria line and decide for yourself.

it comes to eating, drinking and dancing the night away, you are spoilt
for choice in Brixton, but it’s important to venture off the High Road
and stay away from the McPubs. If you are nervous about visiting the
area, especially at night, don’t stand in the street with your A-Z
signalling to any opportunistic muggers that you aren’t from around
here. Check your map as to the location of the following three streets
before you get there and you will see it is possible to have a great
time in Brixton.

Coldharbour Lane

first highlight on your tour is the Ritzy Cinema on the corner of
Coldharbour Lane. Showing a mixture of arthouse, foreign and mainstream
releases the best time to visit is Monday when movies are half price,
or before noon everyday when all films are £3.50

down Coldharbour Lane away from the High Road, is The Satay Bar, a
great stop for early evening cocktails during happy hour, and delicious
South-East Asian cuisine. Their late license and the addition of DJ’s
mean you will often find a line of beautiful people waiting to get in
here late on a Friday.

If you’re hungry and meat is
not your thing, keep heading down the road and you will find Café
Pushkar, a veggie/vegan bar/café that serves great food, so don’t be
fooled by its rather drab appearance.

If you’re looking
for a friendly pub to enjoy a relaxed drink, then you can’t go past the
Prince Albert, a little further down the road. The staff are friendly
as are the patrons and there is a great beer garden to enjoy during the
warmer weather. The Prince Albert has no pretensions and is worth the
visit, so don’t be intimidated by the crackheads that often hang about
the front of the off-license next door.

Further down
Coldharbour, just before you reach Atlantic Road, is one of London’s
best restaurants – Asmara. Serving Eritrean cuisine, there is no
cutlery and fantastic platters of vegetarian and meat dishes available.
If you have “foodies” for friends this place will definitely impress.

Asmara on the corner of Coldharbour and Atlantic, is the Dogstar. A pub
now in its umpteenth incarnation and much improved, it has a late
license and various DJ’s nightly, and is now housing a new
Afro-Caribbean restaurant Moca upstairs.

Atlantic Road
the day Atlantic Road is bustling with shoppers buying fresh fish and
meat and has a generally frantic pace.  In the evening there are
many places to visit but only a few worth mentioning.
you’re in the mood for Japanese food, head down Atlantic away from the
arches and stay on the same side as the Dogstar, where you will find
Ichibana. There is lots of fresh sushi and cooked food to choose from
and the service is very traditional and attentive. If Ichibana’s too
busy or you fancy noodles, duck round the corner to Vining Street and
enjoy a meal at Fujiyama, also serving up Japanese but with nothing raw
on the menu.

On the opposite end of Atlantic (back
toward the High Road), Tongue and Groove is a little bar, that if you
can get past the thugs at door, leads you into dark room with a sleazy
vibe, full of scenesters writhing about on giant leather lounges. It’s
a great place for a late drink and a dirty grind.

Brixton Hill
Matthews Church in the middle of the High Road opposite the Town Hall
plays host to a couple of Brixton’s hottest nightspots. Underneath, in
the church crypt, you will find the swanky Bug Lounge and Bar on one
side and Mass on the other. Bug is the more chilled out of the two and
has a late license, with various musical genres covered most nights by
DJ’s and live acts.
Mass can get super-busy and is open until late
playing host to anything from Hard House to London’s world famous
Torture Garden fetish night.

Further up, and off
Brixton Hill on Blenheim Gardens is the Windmill. A popular place for
live music, usually of the alternative variety, expect to pay £3 to get
in and be treated to great tunes, friendly staff and cheap drinks. It
is also has a beer garden to enjoy in the summer.

heading up the hill and you come across the Whitehorse, another pub and
a great place for a Sunday pint. Take the papers and try and get a spot
on one of the lush leather couches or enjoy some pool while recovering
from the night before.

So concludes your mini tour of Brixton,
and the establishments mentioned above only touch the surface as to
what is happening in this ever-improving part of London. There truly is
somewhere that everyone will enjoy – be it a bar, a club, a restaurant
or café – so head down to SW9 and experience it for yourself.