This is really just an excuse for me to road test a funky “chapter” design on the site – you should be able to see a little tag on the right that will help you navigate through the post. Fun, isn’t it? Right, focus. Considering how much beer is being produced in London these days (80+ breweries within the M25), there haven’t been a great deal of new openings on the pub / beer bar side of things over the last couple of years. Here are three relatively recent openings that might interest beer aficionados.
Waterloo Tap | Southbank
Waterloo Tap is the latest boozer from the fine folk behind Euston Tap, Holborn Whippet, Pelt Trader and Resting Hare. In keeping with their style, it’s a simple layout with beer the main focus – 20 keg and 6 cask options line one wall, with information now displayed above on blackboards (rather than screens pictured below – they didn’t last long!).
The design is modern and efficient, with comfy booths on one side, plenty of standing space around the bar, and some prime al fresco real estate backing on to Concert Hall Approach (one of London’s least inspiring road names). On a few early visits, the beer selection has been decent but not as exciting as the offerings at The Hop Locker round the corner, and the service is efficient rather than passionate. Hopefully they will make use of their set-up and put on some tap takeovers and events in the near future. Still, a great addition to the area.
The Bear | Camberwell
The Fox in Haggerston is one of London’s finest watering holes, but I don’t get there as often as I would like, seeing as I can absurdly go for a pint in The Evening Star in Brighton in less time from my SW11 base! Luckily, that’s not an option I really need to consider as the team behind The Fox have refurbished and reopened The Bear in Camberwell, and it’s rather lovely.
Camberwell residents will probably want me to keep quiet, but have you noticed how spoilt they are? There’s great food from the likes of Silk Road and Theo’s Pizzeria, top coffee from Lumberjack and Daily Goods, and one of London’s best pubs for beer in Stormbird. Now they’ve got another, with 20 taps of the good stuff on offer (including two ciders, and three cask pumps from the likes of Redemption and Siren). Being a sour beer fan, I was delighted to find Buxton’s superb Far Skyline on tap, but there’s something for everyone in their excellent range.
As you can see, I was pretty taken with the glassware, and I’m also a fan of the calming, spacious layout, though I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few more tables next time I drop in. There’s a good looking food menu, though as a London Cheap Eats contributor I know there are better value options nearby (see here). All in all, it’s a fine addition to the area, and the city, especially as it’s open til 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. See you there!
The London Beer House | Piccadilly
The Beer Shop London in Nunhead is the capital’s tiniest boozer, but The London Beer House near Pall Mall is a close second. Why they’ve both got such bland names isn’t clear, but it doesn’t really matter now does it? The latter, a sister operation to nearby Pall Mall Fine Wine, is the perfect place to escape the Piccadilly Circus crowds. It’s also a welcome destination for good beer in a relatively starved area.
There are nine taps, beautifully presented as you can see, with an interesting range of beer that’s influenced by their ties to The Beer Collective (who are based in West Sussex). There’s also a strong bottle range as London Beer House operates as a shop too (shop online here).
There’s extra seating upstairs, but for the best atmosphere stick to the cosy ground floor or spill out in to the adjoining, picturesque Royal Opera Arcade. It’s currently closed on Sundays, but it is available for private hire at the weekend. It’s a charming spot for a quiet drink or two, right in the centre of town.