As an extremely eligible bachelor, I often find myself on dates in some of London’s
finest cheapest bars. I’ve become an expert in sniffing out all the best deals, whether that’s happy hours that last most of the day, two-for-one cocktail deals, or free drinks in exchange for signing up to a mailing list (pro-tip: Guerrilla Mail is great for temporary, disposable email).
It’s a huge relief when one of my dates suggests we go somewhere sensible (usually a good sign for how the date will go too). Which is why I found myself at the Craft Beer Co (Islington branch) earlier this week, pleasantly surprised at having survived the dangerous journey across Upper Street.
It’s a pretty little place, far enough away from Angel station to be quiet and peaceful. The interior is gorgeous as well, with battered old wooden floors, comfy chairs, and more beers on tap than I could sensibly try in one go.
The garden lets it down a bit – garden is perhaps not a fair word for the square of shady concrete out at the side of the bar. Of course, this is London on a weeknight, so this place is crammed full of people enjoying the last few scraps of reflected sunlight from the stacks of old kegs up against the wall. This leaves the bar inside practically empty, to my delight. Not for long. Shortly after I arrived, a friendly geezer sat down at the piano behind me and started cranking out the tunes.
Drinking at the Craft Beer Co is an odd experience. It has all the parts it needs for a traditional pub experience, but there’s a corporate edge hiding behind the rows of beer taps where a personality should be. It’s a fine facsimile of a pub, and great for a couple of drinks after work or when waiting for a date, but you wouldn’t want this as your local.