The Draft House
'The ales are really the point of this establishment’s existence'

The Draft House, Hammersmith

Open Sun—Wed midday—11pm, Thurs midday—midnight, Fri—Sat midday—1am

The Style:

An odd-sounding oxymoron I know, but ‘modern retro’. Tin lamps hang from the ceiling, chess squares mark out the bar and a big beer menu on the wall dominates one of the two rooms. They’ve kept some of the stained glass from what was formerly the Laurie Arms (RIP) and there are NME covers and Ramones posters on the walls as a nod to the rock ’n’ roll heritage of the area—the Hammersmith Palais used to sit practically next door.

The second room (ostensibly the dining room) has neon and wall slogans, feels a little like a conservatory courtesy of the big glass ceiling, and is home to the pies.

The Crowd:

Thursday night saw Hammersmith’s office workers happily celebrating the official start of the weekend. There were a few couples but it’s kind of a weird place for a date: not massively romantic for starters. More a venue to come to with a few friends for a bit of beer tasting. Or just to get righteously trollied in anticipation of a couple of days off the treadmill.

The Food:

Just pies. I know! I was surprised too. With Londoners increasingly behaving as if food is less a means of sating hunger and more a marker of one’s cool status, it’s quite a bold move. There were only four to choose from, two of which contained chicken, and only one for veggies.

However, if you want to eat a pie you could do worse than come here, as they are very good. A proper, non-soggy crust and a generous filling. Not rocket science I know, but plenty of chefs manage to cock it up. For £7.90 you get peas and gravy or liquor included, mash is extra, and it’s all served in a tin plate. Not massively exciting, but the real reason people will come here is for…

The Drink:

The ales are really the point of this establishment’s existence. There is none of the mass-produced fighting juice used to keep the masses stupid. A beer menu in the bar advertises what’s on the taps and that they are available in third, half or two-thirds sizes, as well as pints. I like this idea—if you’ve drunk beer in Australia, you’ll know the relief that schooners and midis can bring from the liquid volume involved in getting pissed in Britain.

As well as the drafts there is a long menu that includes bottles from London microbreweries and plenty from the godfathers of beer, the Belgians. All in all, good if you want to taste a few different brews, less so if you like having a choice of things to eat.

The Draft House, 238 Shepherd’s Bush Road, London W6 7NL; 020 7042 5109;

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