La Baita, the well-established cafe at the centre of Clapham Common, is applying to Lambeth Council to also run as an off license – for sale of alcohol that can be taken elsewhere on the common. Their current license limits sales to ‘on the premises’, which essentially limits them to sales for the cafe itself and its front seating area. This should help the owners make the most of their unique location, and allow a more socially distanced use of the space around the cafe.
The cafe has come on quite a bit in recent years, with an internal refurbishment and a better organised food operation. They maybe haven’t yet quite hit the potential goldmine of selling really premium coffee – but they have done a healthy trade in decent Italian food and also manage to run a surprisingly large ice cream trade throughout the year. A tiled floor and ‘pre-destroyed’ furniture means they can also be very accommodating of the small children, pets and muddy shoes you’d expect in the middle of our largest green space – and as a result are justifiably popular.
There may be nervousness in some quarters about having another premises able to sell alcohol on a retail basis, given the recent huge gatherings seen on the Common nearer Clapham High Street, and the degree of litter and chaos caused – but the cafe has a good track record and we doubt that this application will be controversial. Details of the application here – search for 20/00205/PRMVAR.