The coolest bars are, of course, always the ones that no-one else knows about, so please don't tell anyone about these top ten cool bars in South London...
10. Call Me Mr Lucky!
Part of the Breakfast Club independent chain of cafes and bars, 'Call Me Mr Lucky' is accessed through the kitchen of their greasy spoon on Southwark Street. You have to use the secret password with the barman to get access...
9. Nine Lives
Hidden away just off Tooley Street, Nine Lives is a very cool basement cocktail bar, with plenty of attitude but a warm welcome and a great range of cocktails.
8. 12th Knot
Tricky to find but all the better for it... 12 Knot (previously The Rumpus Room) offers a mesmerising view across the City and the River. Beautiful people and a very stylish setting make it a very cosmopolitan place for a sundowner.
7. The Bar at Casa Do Frango
A very friendly Portuguese chicken restaurant in an old warehouse hides a dive bar at the back. Worth going for either the wonderful chicken or the nameless bar, or ideally both.
6. Cantina at O'Meara
The bar at the live music venue - O'Meara is a new addition to the area and enjoys the 'cradle-to-grave' Flat Iron Square next door which offers a feast of food options. Cantina is still in its infancy so get it whilst its hot.
5. Bar Elba and Tonight Josephine
These bars were an immediate success when they opened as a rooftop and basement combo. Friendly staff and a buzzing atmosphere add to the flavour. When you arrive it feels very exclusive as there no signage, but when you get to the roof you realise that its mobbed and you were the last to know!
4. Bermondsey Arts Club
A former public WC, the BAC is an art-deco feast with regular jazz and excellent cocktails.
3. 26 Leake Street
Part of the new imagining of the Banksy Tunnel street-art complex, 26 Leake Street is a cool bar with an adjoining huge event space. There is also an original Banksy rat mural which is on permanent display, hence the nickname 'The Rat Bar'. A slightly forbidding approach down the tunnel but well worth the trip. The art is ever-changing and very impressive.
2. Canova Hall
Part of a former department store in Brixton which has now been converted into offices, the ground floor is now a cavernous bar stripped back to its beautiful basics. Upstairs is now a member's rooftop bar called...Upstairs.
Members only, but if you can find someone to take you, this rooftop bar and restaurant space in Brixton has some dramatic views and is part of the amazing refurbishment of the Victorian department store. Faded grandeur and achingly cool.
The vast range of choice of food available in Borough Market is sometimes a bit daunting for tourists and locals alike.
We have tried and tested almost all the options and offer below a few ideas for the best of the lunch options available to suit every taste and wallet...
1. Applebee's Prawn Wraps - always a really tasty barbeque lunchtime choice. Wonderful garlic sauce and very fresh. Not too pricey either, at £6 a pop, especially as it’s like angels dancing on your tongue.
2. Pieminister - only £4 and very warming on a winter’s day from the market stall. Pie and Mash and gravy for a bit extra, and mushy peas too if you feel like it. Tastes fantastic and all organic and free range too.
3. Fish! and Chips - the Borough Market institution - Fish! - offers a good, quick and easy fish and chips option from its kiosk. They know what they are doing, so it’s always excellent. At close to a tenner though it a bit toppy for a lunch on the go. Tricky to eat too but they do have a table to perch at.
4. Flat Iron Square - the new food court at Flat Iron Square has a wide range of street food including Indonesian Nasi Goreng. Pancakes, dumplings, as well as salads and a bakery give people exactly what they want.
5. O'ver restaurant - a new addition to the area with excellent pizza and pasta as well as more elaborate Italian dishes , plus a really good wine list.
6. Padella - the current favourite of the glitterati, Padella is so popular that the queues can be a hindrance. However the pasta is freshly made on site and so good, you will want to return...
7. Brindisa - the Paninis from Brindisa in the Market are wonderfully tasty with the best flavoursome chorizo. Another quick option and easy to eat on the hoof.
8. Roast kiosk - the Roast restaurant has a superb kiosk below which has the best beef, lamb and pork baps with horseradish or apple sauce. Great value too starting at £3.50 for a bacon bap. Difficult to argue with, especially with your mouth full...
9. The Breakfast Club - not an obvious choice for lunch but less of a queue for this very popular spot at lunchtimes. Well worth a visit, but it’s a trendy haunt so wear your best beard.
10. Union Viet - a really good if small Vietnamese restaurant on Union Street serving traditional Asian cuisine.
Sun is sometimes tricky to find in the morning, but finding a decent coffee is thankfully getting easier... These are our ten best al-fresco coffee choices on the South Bank.
Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market is busy but grabs some serious mid-morning sun. Italo on the stunning sun-trap of Bonnington Square. 'Table' on Southwark Street has a nice yard at the back and The Breakfast Club further down has a few small tables outside for breakfast. The new Tate Gallery extension has a good coffee kiosk and a great free viewing gallery. Scoop London Bridge has loads of temporary outside seating but still gets busy. F@ckoffee on Bermondsey Street might have a potty-mouthed name, but gives great coffee. The Green Room on Upper Ground has a nice big open area.
If you want to go really off-piste, the Gentleman Baristas on Union Street has a tiny but leafy terrace through the back of their first floor. You might have to time this one right to catch the sun though...!
Finally Mercato Metropolitano is a new Italian food market concept at Newington Causeway with loads of foodie gems. We haven't tried this one yet but we feel a sunny coffee re-tox coming on soon!
Any others that should be in this top ten?