Treated to a multi-million pound makeover in 2018, this iconic 1930s sibling of The Latchmere and The Rosendale now has a jewel of an attraction in its chic kingfisher blue art-deco lounge. Fig Bramble and Mezcal Margarita are among the glam cocktails, and pop-art rock posters hint at what goes on upstairs – The Bedford’s glorious galleried auditorium in the round is a showcase for live music, cabaret and stand-up for everyone from Ed Sheeran to Harry Hill.
In the busy main bar, sip Sambrook’s and other craft ales and order from an extensive modern British menu served in the restaurant and throughout the ground floor: classic brunch staples, sandwiches, artisan pizza and small plates (haddock croquettes with aïoli or pulled pork and scratchings, say). Competitively priced mains are more substantial and include pumpkin and mushroom Wellington or sea bass with saffron risotto, spinach and langoustine and dill sauce.
With a ballroom and a cosy cocktail bar (both for hire) and 15 plush ensuite bedrooms upstairs, you can check in and never leave Balham again.