South West

South West London offers plenty of alternatives for an evening's darts, from Clapham to Brixton, to Earlsfield to Balham. The Nightingale near Clapham South tube station is a particular highlght

Marquis of Lorne - Brixton

Dog stops play! But fetch your darts for a game at this traditional Irish pub. Darts pubs in Brixton are sorely lacking, so this is a very handy find, situated at the mid-point between Stockwell, Clapham North and Brixton tube stations. Make your way down the backstreets to a road that looks very unlikely to host a pub. Here you'll find the Marquis of Lorne, a delightfully old-school bar, resolutely resisting the gentrification of South London. Enter the pub to find a long bar adorned by sullen locals. Opposite the bar is a slightly battered dartboard and well used chalkboard. The throwing area is roughly a metre away from the bar so any bounce-outs or stray throws are a threat to the peace in the pub, a situation that hit code-red when the pub dog came bounding across the oche to watch the game from beneath our feet. The sweat dripped down our faces as we carefully aimed away from the wires, an act that would have absolutely zero impact on the final position of the dart. Happily we finished our round without incident and Boxer lived to fight another day. Pool table Fuzzy champions league

The Melbourne - Wallington

The best place to play darts in rapidly-gentrifying Wallington. Just across the road the Wallington Arms shows the pace of gentrification in Wallington as craft beers take over from lagers and tables are filled by couples playing Mouse Trap. Not for me, Jeff. Ok, sometimes for me, but not when I'm in the mood for darts, Jeff. So, the Melbourne is a welcome alternative. A little rough around the edges, but two dartboards in a bar where traditional pub games are still the main attraction. Turn right once you enter the pub from the high street and you'll find the first board. On both occasions we've visited this has been obstructed by tables, so better to stick to the board to the back of the pub. Usefully out of the way, and not obstructing anyone's view of the screen this is the perfect place to play darts. Plenty of room, with a location where you can keep an eye on the sports. Plus you can get 3 drinks for under a tenner. Sold.

Effra Social - Brixton

A bit like playing darts in a village hall i.e.g loads of fun From the outside Effra Social doesn't even look like a pub let alone a darts pub. More like some students have stolen some benches and perched them ostentatiously outside their digs. Step inside and this vibe doesn't really change. Narrow corridors lead to two wood-panelled rooms, one of which is filled with student union classics: table tennis, pinball machines and table football. The other room closer to the entrance is where you'll find a slightly battered dartboard, hidden around the corner. Plenty of space to play and never too busy, with cheap drinks it's a fun place to play darts, even if it does feel like you're throwing arrows at the town hall.

Robin Hood - Sutton

Great Young's bar takes title of best darts pub in Sutton. When the competition for best darts pub in Sutton consists of 'the murder pub' (so named because someone was murdered there), it doesn't take a long to claim the crown. Fortunately the Robin Hood has plenty to offer besides the absence of murder. Walk through the front doors and to your left is a little nook with a modern dartboard and chalkboards all around. No electric scoreboard disappointingly but a clear oche, good lighting, and separated enough from the rest of the pub that the locals won't lean over and criticise your technique mid-throw (haha what no this never happens we're very competent). All in all, a very pleasant place to play darts, with absolutely no threat of being killed.

The Nightingale - Balham

The perfect darts pub, the standard against which all others shall be measured. As our local for three years, the Nightingale holds a special place in our hearts. This pub got us through some tough times, it saw blood, sweat and tears, and we both grew together, us and the pub. But it's not just history that keeps us fond of the Nightingale. It's also a mighty fine place to play darts. Situated on a side road between Clapham and Balham, the pub isn't completely off the beaten track, but given the multitude of bars on the high street, it's unlikely many drinkers find themselves there by chance. Once inside the pub the darts board is found to the right of the bar in an open space perfect for throwing. The area is far enough out of the way that you're not interrupted by punters walking past, but the area is large enough to chalk up and rest your drinks. The board is replaced frequently and the chalkboard is clean. Lack of an electronic scoreboard the only black mark against it's name. In the beer garden behind the pub you can find a second board, which truth be told is very much the back-up option. hidden away around a corner (with the outdoor stockroom) the board is slightly too high and the area too cramped for comfort. Not too mention the withering looks from the young families enjoying the sunshine. And the fact that outdoors boards just aren't the same, wind turning your 180s into 26s

The Bobbin - Clapham Common

A fantastic classy pub in the heart of Clapham old town. Central Clapham can be a tricky place to find a board for a quick game of darts. To the south you'll find the always excellent Nightingale, and to the North there's options in Brixton and an abundance in London Bridge. Yet the area around Clapham common is a little under-served. Which makes The Bobbin all the more of a gem. Situated a little away from the hustle and bustle of Clapham high street, down a residential street, you're unlikely to stumble upon The Bobbin by chance, but it's well worth seeking out. Upon entry you're presented with the long bar. To the left a seating area, and to the right a decent sized nook with a darts board and one table. The board itself isn't in the best condition, could do with replacing, and is flanked by chalkboard on the doors, although not particularly massive chalkboard. Darts available on request behind the bar.

The Grosvenor Arms - Earlsfield

Serviceable location for an afternoon's darts, but head elsewhere in Earlsfield once the game's over. We ended up in the Grosvenor by accident one Sunday after the nearby Country House promised a darts board on it's website but left us cruelly disappointed. Luckily the Grosvenor Arms delivered, the afternoon was not wasted. The pub consists of 3 separate rooms arranged around a central bar. To the left of the bar once you walk in is the darts room, complete with 2 extra tables and standard-issue old time photo-montage of regulars getting shitfaced. The board, it's safe to say, has seen better days, with the wires protruding far from the cork. That said, bounceouts were few and far between. Beside the board is an electronic scoreboard, missing but a few of the original buttons. The chalk board similarly was in need of a good clean, difficult to make out who was closer to finishing over the scrawled "DART BANDIT" message.

The Trinity Arms - Brixton

A fantastic pub for a drink in trendy Brixton, not so perfect for a quick game of darts. Lambeth is not an area blessed with great darts pubs. Rumours that the council had banned dartsboards in drinking premises proved unfounded, yet still you've got a very tough job on your hands to find an adequate darts pub in this corner of South West London. The Trinity Arms then, stands out amongst the large number of drinking holes in Brixton as a very nice pub which happens to also allow a cheeky game of Arrows. Yet still we wouldn't recommend it. To be honest the dartsboard here feels like it's on its last legs. Not in terms of quality of the board. More in the sense that it feels out of place in a smart pub, filled with a buzzing crowd, who simply aren't interested in the sport of kings (what do you mean its not the....nevermind). With its proximity to Brixton academy, many times we'd visited this pub before a gig, and yet I was disbelieving when informed that it actually housed a board. Not once had I seen the board in use, and obviously this is the first thing that should be clocked when walking into a bar. And yet there the board is, tucked away in a corner outside, empty once again. Outside board are not to everyone's taste, wind often playing havoc with the flight of the darts, and really only a valid option for 3 or 4 months of the British summer.