The Black Cat, Weston-super-Mare: micropub or craft beer bar?

Inside the Black Cat.

We’d be wanting to visit The Black Cat, Weston’s year-old micropub, for ages and then, with the promise of glorious sun the weekend before last, a trip to the seaside became irresistible.

Even as we approached The Black Cat, we got a sense of what it was about: quirky, some­where between hip and Goth­ic.

Inside, the first thing that struck us was the mid­night vibe: indi­go walls, black porce­lain cats, and a mur­al that seemed to hint at The Rat & Raven.

Then we noticed the craft beer bar trap­pings: tealights, posh pick­led eggs, £2‑a-bag crisps, a com­pli­cat­ed menu of beers in dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories, bare wood and bare brick – well, sort of: it was actu­al­ly, odd­ly, brick-pat­terned wall­pa­per.

Outside the Black Cat.

This strange hybrid is a thing we’ve seen a few times, now, in towns appar­ent­ly not quite big enough or hip enough to sup­port both a microp­ub (real ale, con­ser­vatism) and a craft beer bar (keg beer, trend-chas­ing). Son­der in Truro springs to mind as anoth­er exam­ple.

It sounds a bit chaot­ic but we imme­di­ate­ly felt quite at home, as appar­ent­ly did the cus­tomers: a hand­ful of old­er men grum­bling about foot­ball and a young cou­ple with see-through frames on their specs grum­bling, in plum­mi­er voic­es, about the dif­fi­cul­ty of mak­ing a career in The Arts.

Details from the Black Cat.

We strug­gled, in truth, to land on a beer that we real­ly loved, which hap­pens some­times in pubs with rotat­ing beer ranges. But­combe Under­fall Lager (think Cam­den Hells) was very wel­come giv­en the heat, though, and Wylam Gala­tia (a 3.9% pale ale) was cer­tain­ly good enough to war­rant a ‘same again’.

The main sell­ing point was the atmos­phere and the chap behind the bar, Rich, who could not have done any more to make us feel wel­come, help us nav­i­gate the menu, or accom­mo­date off-menu requests for (a) cups of tea; (b) instant cof­fee; © a sur­face on which to play cards.

Ray’s dad, who is fussy about pubs, left with a loy­al­ty card in his pock­et and plans to come back.

It’s not the kind of pub we want to drink in every time but it’s cer­tain­ly a good addi­tion to West­on’s beer cul­ture.

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