Thursday, 3 June 2010

Tooting star

Until not very long ago Tooting in South London had a limited range of attractions. There was the magnificent 3,000-seat Granada Cinema, a superb Art Deco bauble built in 1931 that featured gigs by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Carmen Miranda and that is kept healthy today as a branch of Gala Bingo. There was the chance to visit the settings of the slightly cultish late-70s sitcom, Citizen Smith, relating the adventures of the revolutionary Tooting Popular Front. And, best of all, there was one of the finest collections of curryhouses on the planet.

But now a new feature can be added to the list of reasons to visit Tooting if you're not there already. The Antelope, handy for Tooting Broadway tube station, is one of a growing chain of mainly South London pubs that includes the legendary Dogstar in Brixton, but don't let that put you off. The beers are excellent and varied, the food is great, the decor welcoming, the clientele as mixed and interesting as the area itself, and the atmosphere is that sublime combination of energy and calm, sociability and tranquility that can really only be found in pubs, and even then only in the very best. Being one of the best pubs in Tooting might not be a huge claim, but the Antelope is one of the best in London.

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