Frugl Local: Waterloo

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At first glance Waterloo and the Southbank can seem like one big tourist trap, with the odd dot of genuine culture. However somewhere between the London Eye, the BFI and the National Theatre lays a world of underground clubs that transmogrify into theatres, multi-purpose cafe-bars and top value comedy clubs just waiting to be discovered…


1. The Archduke – Tasty steak, free weekend jazz and a crackling central London atmosphere make the Archduke one of Waterloo’s most popular places.  Enjoy a languid evening listening to great tunes or gobble down a delicious pre-Theatre meal before heading to the National. Opening Times: Sunday – Thursday Noon – 11pm; Friday/Saturday Noon – 11:30pm. 153 Concert Hall Approach, London SE1 8XU

Florence Nightingale

2. Florence Nightingale Museum – This is one of the capitals more unheralded and unknown museums, this tribute to FloNi (as she’ll be forever known on MTV) is smart, informative and an excellent tribute to one of the Britain’s greatest ever citizens. Opening Times: Every Day 10am – 5pm. 2 Lambeth Palace Rd, London SE1 7EW


3. NAMCO Funscape – It’s big, loud, brash, soulless, corporate and so much fun!  Live the life of 12 year old American mall rat and lose yourself in a world of neon and chrome amongst dodgems, air hockey and endless arcade games.  In our opinion, this is the perfect place for a first date. And a second… and a third… Opening Times: Every Day 10am – Midnight. Riverside Buildings, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB


4. Horse and Stables – The sister pub of the excellent Walrus, just around the corner, the Horse And Stables is a truly unique part of the fabric of this part of London. Owners Steven and Magdalena Chapman acquired the historic pub in mid 2013 and have added a touch of real ale and fine American cuisine to a wonderfully inviting venue. There’s a warm, friendly atmosphere, aided by well-curated live music and comedy nights and thoughtfully stocked bars. Opening Times: Monday – Friday Noon – 11pm; Saturday 6pm – 1am. 124 Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7RW

Make space

5. Make Space Studios – Make Space Studios is home to over sixty artists, designers and creative businesses working across in painting, illustration, fashion, photography, film, music, sculpture, design and other mediums.  They regularly host open exhibitions containing art that’s not just inventive but also won’t require a shady Swiss bank account to purchase! Opening Times: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm. Make Space Studios, Newnham Terrace, SE1 7DR

Hikari sushi

6. Hikari Sushi – If you want to grab an affordable, healthy and authentically Japanese sushi then you can’t go far wrong with Hikari.  All the food on offer is sharp, immaculate and supremely tasty. Opening TImes: Monday – Saturday Noon – 10:30pm; Sunday Noon – 10pm. 2 Kennington Road, London,  SE1 7BL

travelling through

7. Travelling Through… – Just like many places down Lower Marsh, Travelling Through is a fusion of different elements.  This one is both an independent bookshop, as well as a cafe, culture hub and art space with a specific focus on world culture, art and travel.  Their books are categorised by location rather than by genre providing the customer with an alternative way to discover and re-discover books from many latitudes, longitudes and cultural origins. Opening Times: Monday – Friday 9:30am – 6pm; Saturday 11am – 5pm. 131 Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7AE

Underground film club

8. Underground Film Club – A semi-permanent fixture in the Waterloo Vaults, the Underground Film Club is the homely little brother of Rooftop Film Club.  There’s no need to get into costume, but the venue helps create a punky film-watching atmosphere that brings to life vintage pictures and cult classics. Opening Times: Every Day 6pm – 11:30pm. Launcelot St, London SE1 7AD


9. I Knit – A mecca for all things woolen, warm and cozy, this little hub of creativity runs regular classes and workshops so you can create the most fabulous knitted creations. Opening Times: Monday/Friday/Saturday 10:30am – 6pm; Tuesday – Thursday 10:30am – 8:30pm. 106 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AB

Love and scandal

10. Love and Scandal – Coffee obsessive Fiona Thompson spent so much time working from cafes she ended up opening her own. Behind Waterloo station, Love & Scandal has joined the eclectic mix of independent shops and boutiques on Lower Marsh. They aim to provide a relaxed environment to work, read or socialise surrounded by knowledgeable staff and an impressive array of superhero posters! Go and sit in the shadow of Superman, and enjoy a flat white. Opening Times: Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm; Saturday 10am – 5pm. 107 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AB

Cafe del marsh

11. Cafe Del Marsh – Another cracking little eaterie on Lower Marsh that demands repeat business.  As well as tasty food, there’s also craft beer and affordable wine, plus an inviting (albeit small) courtyard for sunny days.  Opening Times: Monday – Friday 8:30am – 11pm. 44 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RG

Four corners

12. Four Corners Coffee – This place is the real deal – a proper coffee shop for devotees of the bean.  There’s always an interesting new blend on offer and they’re proud of their specially crafted cold drip coffee.  If you enjoy coffee that’s made in a crazy laboratory, then this the place for you. Opening Times: Monday – Friday 7:30am – 6:30pm; Saturday 9am – 5pm. 12 Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7RJ

The Penny

13. Penny – The Old Vic isn’t just one the nation’s finest theatres, it also houses two cracking drinking and eating destinations.  The newly opened cocktail bar run by Mark Hix is a punchy delight, but this engaging mini-bistro is just as delightful.  Nothing costs more than £11 (and that’s only the delicious cold meat boards) and they’ll feed you up on breakfast, lunch, all-day tapas and dinner. Opening Times: Monday – Wednesday 8am–1am; Thursday –Friday 8am – 2am; Saturday 10am – 2am. The Old Vic, London SE1 8NB

Jacks bar

14. Jack’s Bar – A Southwark pub with an Irish twist, Jack’s Bar established by the McElhinney brothers in honour of their father’s pub of the same name in Ireland. Since it’s tucked behind Southwark station, expect the inevitable commuter crowd tucking into craft beers and pizzas, as well as hot dogs and pulled beef sandwiches. Opening Times: Monday – Wednesday 5pm – 11pm; Thursday – Saturday 11:30am – Midnight. 96 Isabella St, London, Waterloo SE1 8DD

The Hole in the wall

15. Hole in the Wall – It might not look much from the outside.  To be honest, it doesn’t really look that much from the inside either, but this bar, located right outside Waterloo station, has something which others can only dream of: atmosphere.  Whatever it is that creates it, the Hole in the Wall is the perfect place to sink a pint before heading onto a train at Waterloo, but beware, the good vibes and fine ales can make you stay till last orders. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 11am – 11pm; Friday/Saturday 11am- 11:30pm; Sunday Noon – 10:30am. 5 Mepham St, London SE1 8SQ

Little mixing Factory

16. The Little Mixing Factory – Located right next to the National Theatre, this is the UK’s first and only yoghurt van.  Their simple, delicious and refreshing tastes are the perfect way to break up a sunny Southbank walk. Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday 11:30am – 7:30pm. The National Theatre, Southbank, London, SE1 9PX


17. The Vaults – Arguably the best multi-purpose space in the city.  This huge subterranean venue has hosted club nights, burlesque shoes, art exhibitions, miniature golf courses and the increasingly brilliant Vault Theatre Festival.  Atmospheric and encouraging the most brilliant creativity from the companies and individuals that use it, the Vaults always have something new and exciting to offer.  Opening Times: Wednesday – Sunday 11am – Midnight. Leake St, London SE1 7NN


18. Scooter Cafe – A perfect place to meet friends for a quick bite or nuzzle down with a book.  Everything about the cafe screams retro chic.  In true 21st century fashion though, the bar transforms at night from cozy neighbourhood cafe to bustling Southbank bar with a lovely little selection of wines and ales. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 11:30pm; Friday 8:30am – Midnight; Saturday 10am – Midnight; Sunday 10am – 11pm.132 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE

Camel and Artichoke

19. Camel and Artichoke – Hidden behind a humble tiled frontage lies a superb little secret: a homely, affordable and friendly pub with tasty food and great decor. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday Noon – 11pm; Friday/Saturday Noon – Midnight; Sunday Noon – 10:30pm. 121 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE

crack comedy

20. Crack Comedy Southbank – The central London branch of this excellent chain of independent comedy clubs offers some of the best Saturday line-ups in town.  The intimate setting means you can get up close and personal with some top notch jokers including stars of Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You, as well as seeing the future top comics. Opening Times: Saturday 8pm (Show 8:30pm) The Slug and Lettuce, County Hall, North Block (1-63), 5 Chicheley Street, London, SE1 7PJ

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