Rebecca Keen — a journalism student at London College of Communication — explores her locale of Croydon, picking out five great spots to eat and drink. Let's jump on a tram and join her.
1. A night at the opera - Little Bay
Little Bay is theatrical in every sense of the word. Its operatic interiors — walls covered with theatre props, and dining areas taking the form of theatre boxes with rich red curtains — is matched by its live performances, including the bombastic Opera Mayhem every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It's perfect for impressing your followers on Instagram. The food has a decidedly European influence, dishes ranging from confit leg of duck to sea bass paella. Pair your food with a French Duke cocktail (a negroni, with calvados instead of gin) to get the most out of this utterly theatrical experience.
Little Bay, 32 Selsdon Road, CR2 6PB.
2. Party central - Boxpark Croydon
With nearly 100 units selling food and drink, Boxpark has become one of Croydon's liveliest meet-up locations. Be pleasantly overwhelmed by cuisine from around the world; try the succulent jerk chicken at Big Mike's Calypso Kitchen, or mouth-watering halal street food, Karachi-style, from Thela. The Beatbox Bar is good for a drink during the day, and on Fridays and Saturdays becomes a nightclub. Different DJs are in residence each week at Boxpark, plus there are loads of free events — from live sports to lip sync battles.
Boxpark Croydon, 99 George Street, CR0 1LD.
3. Graceful dining on a budget - Basil & Grape
Wind down from the week with a glass of barolo and some tasty antipasti at Basil & Grape; my personal favourite dish here is the 'Massima' board for two, which comes with a selection of cured meats and cheese, a bruschetta pomodoro, a bruschetta olive paté, and an assortment of fresh olives. If you're seeking party vibes, Basil & Grape offers daily bottomless prosecco brunches; a happy hour (from 12pm-7pm); and Wine Down Wednesday, aka a free bottle of vino for every £35 spent on food. The perfect way to dine gracefully on a budget.
Basil & Grape, 46 George Street, CR0 1PB.
4. Next level bevvies - Triple Two Coffee
For working on a laptop, revision sessions, or an indulgent morning coffee with friends, make your way to Triple Two Coffee. (If you have a dog in tow, know that this places is pet-friendly too.) The drinks here are next level: as well as delicious coffees, there's almond matcha latte, Biscoff frappe, yuzu lemonade and beetroot & cacao. Personally, I love the brown sugar bubble tea. In the warmer months, Triple Two Coffee's courtyard is perfect for slurping an icy frappe. Salads and snacks are available too, if you're looking to make a meal out of it.
Triple Two Coffee, 33 George Street, CR0 1LB.
5. Vegan food with a side of art - Matthews Yard
Located next to West Croydon station, non-profit community and cultural venue Matthews Yard is one of the first thing many visitors to Croydon encounter. The vegan food here is delicious, but not only are you able to grab yourself a meat-free sausage and onion bap, you can check out some enthralling art exhibitions — for example, I attended the impressive Black Women Art Network: Expressions of Freedom in 2021, hosted by female artists such as Lindsey Daniella and Gayle Ebose.
Matthews Yard, 166 North End, CR0 1UF.
This article was written as part of a collaborative project between Londonist and London College of Communication.