Balham – the gateway to the South! – saw its tube station open a couple of months later than the rest of the stops on the Southern end of the Northern Line, opening its doors on 6th December 1926. Architecturally, it shares all the same features as the others on the line and is another Grade II listed Charles Holden building. Like Tooting Broadway, it has a ticket office building on two sides of the main road it passes underneath.
There is also a National Rail station here above and adjacent to the tube station, offering suburban train services across South London and into London Victoria. This first opened way back in 1863.
The Pub: The Regent, 21 Chestnut Grove, SW12 8JB
The Regent is located a couple of minutes away from the station, just turn out of the station onto Chestnut Grove and you can’t miss it.
It continues the theme I’ve found in the last couple of stops as a airy, open gastropub. The pub is split into two sections. In the area closest to the main door, the large windows allow light to stream in from outside onto the walls which are painted in bright hues. The back room feels a little darker, in part due to the red velvet curtain type things hanging from the ceiling. There is also a disco ball in this room and I think the tables and chairs can easily be moved away here come Friday and Saturday Nights. The Regent opens until 1am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Ale wise, there was only Wandle on tap when we visited – I think there are usually more available on tap but they were off on our visit. The food menu here is a mixture of your standard pub staples with additional variety coming from Thai Curries and Chinese Style Pork Belly. The Regent has a couple of TVs, they were unobtrusively showing Showjumping on Eurosport when we popped in. I don’t think anyone was watching. From what I recall, during the football season, a large projector screen is set up at the back of the disco ball room to show the games and it gets very busy. I’ve been to the Regent a fair few times over the years. One of the more memorable evenings came when a man who had clearly had a skinful decided to befriend our group. He thought I was Welsh and liked my hair. We soon left for the safe haven of the nearby Wetherspoons!
If you want to see The Regent as I’ve described, you don’t have long to catch it. Its closing for refurb on the 20th August, scheduled to reopen in time for the Rugby World Cup. I don’t imagine there will be wholesale changes, so hopefully the gist of my review will still stand.
The Regent is a solid South London pub, spacious with a good atmosphere. Certainly worth a visit!