38 Clapham High Street,
(020) 7627 1036
The ViewLondon Review
Bringing the much-loved global brand to life in Clapham, the UK's first Hed Kandi bar sets the standard for the inevitable chain to follow.
Just a two-minute-walk away from Clapham’s tube and rail stations, the new Hed Kandi bar takes its place on Clapham High Street with a glowing exterior, outdoor seating and a feel-good vibe pulsating from within. Providing an all-year-round home for fans of the global house music brand, the bar offers an intimate setting in which to enjoy the latest tracks and, in many respects, it’s the perfect pre-party venue for nights that go on at other London hotspots. They even have plans to arrange transfers from bar to club to make it even easier for guests. The soft curves of the cream-coloured booth-like seating and low cubic tables provide comfort as you enjoy your drinks, lining both walls in the long venue and continuing past the bright bar and up a short flight of steps. The sleek and playful style of the brand resonates throughout the classy venue; Jason Brooks’ infamous artwork – think: glamorous illustrated girls - adorns the walls, and the illuminated ceiling dynamically rotates colours to enhance the party atmosphere.
Attracting a local crowd as well as fans of the brand who want to sit back and enjoy it rather than dance all night long, the bar has a laid-back, friendly and fun attitude – exactly as you’d expect from the glittery label. With no segregated dance floor to speak of, guests can hit the floor between the booths and through the centre of the bar, making it a refreshing alternative to the many clubs that hold the legendary branded events. The staff are just as bright and welcoming as the bar itself. They're happy to wait tables and serve quickly at the bar while enjoying a bit of banter.
Now owned by Ministry of Sound’s record label, the music is of course Hed Kandi all night long. The commercial house tracks are played by Hed Kandi DJs from 9pm onwards, though at a volume that lends itself to being able to hear the person next to you – handy given that the bar attracts groups of friends who want to catch up in the party atmosphere. Fans can expect to see live acts frequent the Clapham venue in the future, with performances from The Lovely Laura as well as percussionists and singers sure to be making an appearance. Special guest DJs such as Ash Paine and George Powell also take centre stage to work alongside the Hed Kandi residents.
The cocktail list is playful and original, with names taken from Hed Kandi themes such as Disco Heaven and Twisted Disco, while classics are readily available with a Kandi twist. Priding themselves on great staff who know their way around a cocktail shaker, the drinks are well presented, taste-perfect and more than reasonable in price. The house shots are punchy but delicious, and are ideal for getting a party started before indulging in the hand-picked concoctions on the menu which cost £6.50 a go. The signature Sweet As Kandi lives up to its name with strawberry and raspberry purees delicately laced with vanilla vodka, while those who prefer darker flavours will enjoy the Sin City Martini, with its chocolate-lined glass and white chocolate liquor base tasting almost as good as milkshake but with a little more kick.
For classics that are eager to please and faultless, the Kandi Cosmo is as pink and girly as it should be, while the Kandi Colada is tropical enough to make you feel summery all year round. The Es Paradis, named after Ibiza's notorious nightclub, is rich and indulgent with dark chocolate and mint liquors intertwined with orange vodka and hazelnut - a real treat for any cocktail lover. The Disco Bombs are £4 and mix the best of spirits with energy drinks for those who need an extra push, or for the less adventurous, wine starts from just £13.95 for a bottle of sauvignon blanc. Bottled beers are also available.
The Last Word
Cool, classy and not taking itself too seriously, the Hed Kandi bar is likely to be the start of a new era for followers of the brand, answering the need for a bite-sized version of the already popular club nights around the city.
Hed Kandi has been reviewed by 11 users