Why Tooting Broadway? Located on the Southern part of the Northern line, it’s 30 minutes into central London and with talks of a new Crossrail making it just two stops away from Chelsea, it’s one of London’s most accessible destinations. Broadway’s posher sister stop Tooting Bec has hogged the limelight in recent years, but with more achievable living costs and a cooler, less yummy-mummy vibe, Broadway is where it’s at.
Avoid if… You enjoy organic brunch or generally the finer things in life. Tooting Broadway’s charm is the fact it’s a little rough round the edges. Yes, there’s a Starbucks but you might have to walk past a fair few KFC chicken bones on your way in.
Where to hang out: The Tram & Social is undoubtedly Tooting’s busiest drinking spot; it feels more like a New York converted warehouse than a South London converted tram shed, with live music on the weekends. The Graveney and Meadow is a perfect afternoon spot serving good coffee and home-made cakes.
The community: Residents of Tooting have a real sense of community, and, a bit like Wolfie in iconic 1970s BBC comedy series Citizen Smith which is set in the area, they’re proud of their South London roots (Wolfie’s slogan #freedomfortooting is often trending on Twitter and you can buy the t-shirt in the market).
What about the curries? Tooting isn’t Tooting without its array of curry houses. Most are BYOB (with no corkage charges) and among the best are Lahore Karahi, Spice Village (which is alcohol free) and Apollo Banana Leaf (where a meal won’t set you back more than £12 a head).
And if you don’t like curry? Gentrification is at its early stage in Tooting, and can be best displayed at Rick’s for Spanish cuisine, Tota for a chic brunch of avocado on toast, and Honest Burger is rumoured to be opening soon opposite the Tube station. You can spot the trendies at Soho House’s newly opened Chicken Shop tucking into well-seasoned rotisserie chicken and a side of slaw.
Any live music and events? Tooting Market is not quite Brixton yet, but local residents are doing their best by organising live music events and pop-up restaurants (sign up to Edible Experiences to find out about future events).
What can you rent? Generally, the further you go towards Tooting Junction or St George’s Hospital, the better value. Trevelyan Road is a lovely wide street, popular with residents with an array of Georgian and Victorian houses. A decent two bedroom flat in the quiet Tooting Graveney area with would set you back £1200 – £1500 a month in rent.
Image credit: Kupiacity/Flickr