The “craft beer revolution” of the last ten years has led to an attempt to elevate the status of beer, with a new generation of breweries, informed by tradition but unconstrained by it, creating ever more diverse and flavourful beers. We also have a new generation of pubs, bars and venues, as well as a new generation of drinkers, and more women are drinking beer than ever before. The beer scene in London continues to flourish; however, loath as I am to write a negative post, not all is rosy in the world of beer.
This post was genuinely prompted by a toilet. Yes, a toilet.
I had tickets for Adam Buxton’s BUG at Udderbelly on Thursday night, and given the nine O’clock start time it was the perfect opportunity to visit the recently opened Waterloo Tap. London’s Southbank was in need of a good, forward-thinking pub, and while the beer range at the Tap is good (as are the prices), it’s let down by the (one and only) toilet. On my visit there was no paper, the toilet seat was hanging off and worse still there was no hand dryer or paper towel dispenser. It’s like drying your hands is superfluous, a luxury. We’ve all experienced the trauma of the visiting (or queuing for) the toilet at its sister pub, the Euston Tap, and I’ve all but given up on the Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington because of the constant puddle and overpowering sulphuric aroma. I also believe women should have their own toilets. I realise railway arches aren’t blessed with space, but as conscientious as I (and I’m sure most men) are, drunkenness combined with the distance urine has to travel from its source to its destination means it’s going to get messy somewhere along the line. If you’re going to sell yourself as a “beer destination”, then is a functional, relatively clean toilet too much to ask?
This, along with bottle shops not investing in refrigeration and a certain craft beer chain pub overcharging because it is seemingly oblivious to how the scene has not only caught up but overtaken it, are my main gripes with the beer scene in London. However, there are more positives than negatives, and I’m off to the Duke’s Head in Highgate to celebrate that fact.
The above image is courtesy of Stanley Zimney via Flickr under creative commons, and hopefully contrasts with the unpleasant subject matter.