Micro-pubs are a terrific phenomenon and we are seeing them spring up all over the country.
With their re-using of former empty high street premises, compact size, cask-only beer range, no music, and no food they are a welcome addition to the pub scene. But they are not for everybody – for the very reasons just outlined.
It is great, therefore, that derivatives of the original micro-pub concept are now appearing. One of which is positioned in London’s Bermondsey – The Other Room. It’s a bijou space that was once an office and can seat 24 and at a cram would be able to house 30 drinkers max.
But in many other respects it differs from the original micro-pub concept as it only sells keg beers, has a food menu, and plays music. The beer mix is predominantly local (Bermondsey is blessed with top-notch local breweries) and on a recent visit The Kernel, Four Pure and Partizan were among the six beers on draught.
One of the six is rigged up for nitro-dispense, which is an interesting development and something we’ll no doubt see more of. The Other Club had Broken Dream Breakfast Stout from Siren on this line and it had a smoothness that only this type of dispense can provide. There are also 40-plus bottles and cans in a well stocked fridge.
The food menu consisted of well crafted snacks including mixed plates of beer root and avocado, broccoli, and chicken terrine as well as mini tacos and braised pork.
What such bars provide is ‘local’. They cater for a very local clientele, with regulars predominating, and with this they can gradually deliver a more personalised service. For the complex world of craft beer the ability to (for want of a better word) educate customers is massively valuable.
For one of The Other Room team, Thomas Barbara – a French man who likes and knows his beer, the evening is a constant conversation with customers full of recommendations of beers to try and the offering of tasters.
It’s clear that places like The Other Room are micro-pub 2.0 but I also hope they represent the long-term future of pubs and bars.
The Other Room, 6 Brighton Buildings, 60 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 4TR.