History Boy

Nick ‘McFly’ Buglione travels back to his youth at Exhibit B

Streatham, y’know that place you get to when Brixton runs out, is where this correspondent spent his childhood days and a fair slice of early teenagerness. Saturday morning cinema (for 10p if you couldn’t get someone to open the back doors) at the now no longer ABC. Weekly shopping with my dad at Macfisheries. First ever Saturday job (£11) at Streatham’s bizarrely incongruous branch of John Lewis, Pratts.

Next door to the ABC was a slightly curious space, once upon a time called The Genevieve where I went on my first ever date (we entry-level chased the 6th formers from Streatham High in their green liveries).

Many dates later, Streatham is still a sort of hinterland of charity shops, dodgy taverns and endless fast food chicken shops. A place to go through, not a place to go to? But something is stirring. The Genevieve is now nothing less than a self-styled ‘youth club for adults’ called Exhibit B. Sibling to the longstanding Balham branch. Bye bye Genevieve’s fag stained chintz and swirly Axminsters, hello big open plan industrial-ish space with minimalist mish-mash chic-ish trimmings. And a chef from Soho House. Whether that was creating fine dining or peeling the pots, who knows?

A bunch of twenty-somethings are knocking back the shots and cocktails, the music is loud and ‘youth club’ events are flagged left right and centre. Weekend DJs, bottomless brunches, happy hours, drag nights, karaoke, silent cinema showings, life drawing and topiary classes … but no table tennis or smoking round the back of the bike shed. So, we had some cocktails. Streatham Sling by way of Beefeater, Vermouth, elderflower, mint, lime and a pinch of salt as well as Too-Ting, via Cuba, Havana 3 Rum, Havana Especial, pineapple and passion fruit. Good without being write home to Mama.

So what does one grab to eat at 21st century ‘adult’ youth clubs? Mostly the usual ‘good with a beer’ soak it up standards – burgers, club sarnies, mac n cheese, steaks, wings, ribs and some slightly more offbeat tapas, sardines, tiger prawns and soft shell crab. A slightly curious mixture but no one is coming here for groundbreaking dining. Wings come as trend dictates, Korean with sriracha and smashed cucumbers, ribs all US BBQ and my soft shell crab po-boy, a crab in a bap. The wings were nice and spicy, the ribs satisfied a hungry carnivore despite the BBQ being painted on at the pass. The crab in the po-boy was nicely deep fried crispy. Get me in the right mood for a movie night I could do Exhibit B but it isn’t, nor really claims to be, destination dining. Over to the millennials and people sketching a naked guy.

5 Streatham High Road, SW16 1EF
020 8772 6556