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When it first opened in 2009, Aquum’s tagline ‘Bringing the West End to Clapham’ didn’t wash with locals, apparently content with the slew of average pubs and chain bars along their high street.

However, that the gleaming, gilded, open-plan bar is now packed on Friday and Saturday nights with an attractive set of stiletto–stomping gals and handsome young guys, shows opinions have changed. A brace of burly bouncers flanks the door, which suggests it may not be just the drinks that spill over – especially when the spiffy barmen start dancing on the bar. The crowd spreads to sunken floor space beyond the main bar, plus there’s a mezzanine bar for VIPs. They’re down carousing with the plebs by night’s end, anyway.

The grub The kitchen has recently drawn on the expertise of Amaranth, a popular family-run Thai restaurant in Earlsfield, to introduce a pan-Asian street food spin. Light bites include chicken satay skewers, and small triangles of pork wrapped
in banana leaf. But there’s also delicious salads, curries and noodles.
Behind the bar: A range of reds, whites and rosés, Asian beers – including Asahi on tap – a modest list of Asian-inspired cocktails, plus tea for the teetotals.

Bill please: Beer from £4; wine from £4.50 glass, £16.50 a bottle; cocktails from £8. Starters from £2.50; mains from £7.50.
verdict The West End has indeed arrived in Clapham. Rebecca Kent

68-70 Clapham High Street, SW4 7UL 
Tube |
Clapham North

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Bar Review: Aquum brings 'the West End to Clapham'
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