Yes the shops on Northcote Road are dominated by maternity/baby shops and estate agents, yes you regularly get your heels clipped by bugaboo pushing banker wives with Barbour-wearing hooray husbands in tow and yes some of the more interesting independent shops have shut down in the last decade (replaced by afore-mentioned baby/property focussed businesses) but despite all of that - I am very fond of this stretch of road in Battersea, or "tween the Commons" in real estate parlance. The street market is great and is there every day except Sunday and the market vendors bring a nice bit of socio-economic diversity to what can be a relentlessly upper middle class area (apologies if this is beginning to sound like a sociology textbook...).
Northcote Road is also home to (in my humble opinion) London's finest wine shop - Philglas & Swiggot. Not just a clever pun but a mighty fine selection of wines including some of my favourite Aussie plonk - Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle, Port Phillip...lovely stuff. There are still some quirky independent shops - I particularly like The Hive honey shop. I have to admit the place we frequent the most is a dreaded chain, but one that I would happily support in my non-chain utopia - the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. So good on a Friday night with a bottle of Cape Mentelle and a DVD. I could happily ditch all the drinking venues except for the Holy Drinker which is a Northcote Road institution and a mighty fine venue to get nicely squiffy in, in fact it's exactly what a local bar should be. I think the reason it's remained pretty much the same is that it is far enough away from Battersea Rise and Clapham Junction to keep away the riff raff! In terms of food - there are some absolute winners on this road - Osteria Antica Bologna for Italian, Lola Rojo for tapas and Indian Moment for a curry to name but three. When Brew opened it was a breath of fresh air and good coffee (that didn't really make sense I know) - finally somewhere that served great food in a cool atmosphere with no push-chairs. The antique shops, in particular the market, on the southern end of the street are wonderful and so far have held firm against the tide of posh baby shops - let's hope it stays that way.