Open 12pm—11pm Sun—Thu; 12pm—12am Fri and Sat
With its many fried food shops, 99p stores and a confusing minicab/shisha/kebab outlet in operation, you could optimistically describe Acton High Street as ‘eclectic’. However, if you were being honest, it is a destination badly in need of a good reason to go there.
Luckily that is exactly what has arrived with the opening of the Dragonfly microbrewery on the site of legendary pub The George & Dragon. Legendary because it claims roots in medieval times and certainly has records dating back to 1759. In fact, walking into the pub is a bit like walking onto a Game of Thrones set—dark, smoky and atmospheric, with the chatter of people drinking ale brewed out the back; a welcome change from normal pub interiors.
Beyond this moody room, an ornate former Victorian dining hall with a towering ceiling and tiled walls awaits—this is where the magic happens in the Dragonfly Brewery. Overseen by master brewer Conor Donoghue, previously of The Lamb, Chiswick and The Botanist, Kew, this is a serious brewing venture. Giant copper fermentation tanks, gleaming mash tuns and all other variety of equipment dominate the back of the hall, making this the only brewpub in west London. In the middle of all this paraphernalia is an island bar with large statues holding up chandelier lighting; drinking ale has never been so opulent.
The brews currently on offer range from a very drinkable pale ale, Early Doors, to a rich stout, Dark Matter, and a wheat beer flavoured with banana and clove, Achtung! Considering you can sit at the bar and literally watch your drink go from plant to pump, £4 a pint is pretty reasonable. Conor and team aim to produce 1,200 litres per brew and keep things fresh with a roster of niche and seasonal brews: these will sit alongside the usual pub/bar drink offerings for those not beer-inclined.
Frequently when a venue focuses on one element, as in this case, other areas such as food can fall down. Not so at Dragonfly. The food on offer is very good, although probably not to be eaten every day. American classics, such as mac and cheese (deep fried!) and pulled beef brisket chilli, sit alongside British staples such as pork pie and chilli lilli with mini sausage, chips and beans.
All dishes come in snack format (one for £4 or three for £10) and all, naturally, have beer involved in their cooking. That’s alongside an extensive burger and hot dog menu in which dark matter gets involved as well. On the opening night they even had a beer fondue, which was excellent if hard to describe, but sadly won’t be a staple.
Opening nights can deceive: everyone is on point, everything is shining, everyone knows their lines. However, Dragonfly genuinely seemed quite effortless and naturally buzzing with people excited to be in a new, innovative environment. If this venture works and stays the course then London has just found itself a new destination pub. And put Acton back on the map.