I have just put an offer on a flat just off of Bermondsey Street, but also put an offer on a flat in Wandsworth Town. I'm new to London and will be working in Covent Garden. Are the connections good? I had a walk around Bermondsey Street and there seems to be a lot of restaurants but not sure about what else the area has to offer? Is it a friendly neighbourhood? I would love to be able to make friends around here but I have been told there isn't much to do.
Bermondsey Street. More ot less Southbank. Can't be bad. Friendly? As much or as little as you want it to be like anywhere really. Wandsworth Town not as safe as Southbank plus very convenient for covent Garden. Even buses go there apart from tube
I've been in an amazingly similar place as you olmoldn!
When I first came to London (10+ years ago) I moved to Shad Thames. Really enjoyed the area (and Bermondsey St was still just developing at the time), but thought I'd try out another area, so moved SW to Wandsworth Town. It's also a really good spot. Feels a little more suburban in some parts, and much more part of the Wandsworth "nappy valley" (pro/con depending on whether or not you have kids), but still lots going on as far as local pubs/restaurants. That said, I was working in Canary Wharf at the time and the commute killed me. Covent Garden would be better, but be warned that the slow train to Waterloo that stops at Wandsworth Town is PACKED during rush hour and I'd often wait for 2,3,4 trains before I could even get on. In the end I was taking the bus to Clapham Junction and catching the train from there.
After about a year I was missing SE1 and moved back to Bermondsey Street, and bought a place here several years ago. I actually work in Covent Garden now as well, and transport is good and about to get much better. There are two buses on Tower Bridge Road that get me from door to desk in 35-45 minutes, but the Charing Cross train line is about to reopen at London Bridge station (it's been closed for two years for massive renovations) and there will be 24 trains per hour (!) from LB to CX which should cut the commute to an easy 25 min. On a nice day it's also a lovely 50 min walk.
I've always found B St to be like a little village in the middle of a city and have got to know many people here over the years. Admittedly, the area is always changing and can be a little transient, but I really enjoy it.
Other pros: 30 min from LB to Gatwick and quick taxi to City airport, VERY central (cheap uber to anywhere in zone 1, plus you've got the jubilee and northern line at LB)
Cons: A long way from Heathrow if you fly from there a lot, and no big parks on your doorstep (although there are a couple of nice ones not too far away).
Sorry - missed your coffee shop/gym question. Coffee? Yes, plenty (Watch House, Hej, Fuckoffee (seriously...)) and you're also close to Borough Market with everything that brings. Gyms? Third Space on the river at More London is awesome, although rather expensive.