Always the last to any party, we finally made it to a Brewdog bar on our trip to Bristol.
Shiny, new, and in the ‘organic corporate’ style pioneered by sandwich-chain Pret a Manger, it certainly isn’t a pub.
The bar staff were, to a fault, helpful and cheerful. The advice they were giving when asked was sound, too, though unfortunately laced with bright-eyed, cult-like statements such as (paraphrased) ‘Brewdog were the first to have the guts to do something different’, etc.. If the decor reminded us of Pret, then the spiel reminded us of a Hare Krishna cafe.
Beer was priced as we expected, with our favourite Punk IPA at (if we remember rightly) £4.20 for two halves, and tasted just as delicious as it does from the bottle. 5AM Saint was… what’s that phrase? ‘Liquid cardboard’?
Around us were students who’d ordered ‘whatever lager you have’, drawn, we guess, by the coolness of the bar rather than the beer; middle-aged men who wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Wenlock Arms; and parties of thirtysomethings not yet especially into beer apparently there for an experience. In case you were wondering, they’re the people who buy the super-strong beers in spirit measures at £6 a pop. From where we were sitting, they got their money’s worth, talking animatedly, swapping glasses, and finding much to marvel at: ‘It tastes just like sherry — I wouldn’t think it was beer if I didn’t know.’
It is certainly an interesting addition to the city’s beer scene and will thrive. We’ll no doubt pop in again if we’re passing (assuming we’re still welcome) but the fact is, there was no chemistry between us and this bar.