Counter Vauxhall

Counter Vauxhall

Address Arch 50, South Lambeth Place; London SW8 1SP
enter BackCOUNTER from South Lambeth Road
Neighbourhood Vauxhall | See on map
Tube Vauxhall [Victoria, BR]
Telephone +44 20 3693 9600
Price Dinner GBP 30-40. Brunch GBP 15-25.
Hours Mon-Thur 07-03. Fri 07-01:30. Sat 08-01:30. Sun 08-0:30.

There may always have been perfectly respectable reasons to find yourself in Vauxhall during the day, some that didn’t involve sneaking out of Chariots or stumbling out of an after. They were just never very plausible. At least until Counter opened.

This is an all-day bar and brasserie that, although gay-owned, breaks the tawdry mould of the gay village. It’s set in the same railway arches as most of the nightlife stomping grounds – sleaze hole The Hoist is right next door – but this is kosher, a smart-looking place that looks alright even in broad daylight.

The menu, too, is alright, a step up from standard café fare. Glorified comfort food you might say; it’s certainly closer to Balans on Old Compton Street than The Wolseley, both in terms of food and atmosphere. That makes it a bit pricey for what you get but when the only nearby alternative is Nando’s, nobody’s complaining.

For the area it’s a good option for a meal, a great place for brunch and a (the only?) civilised place for a drink. And for something, well, gayer, BackCOUNTER, their separate bar area in the back, is open Thursday through Sunday, with a programme of live entertainment, including drag queens, cabaret and piano play. Perfectly respectable reasons.