Wherever there’s a row of railway arches, a brewery is inevitable. One particular row, not far from Bristol’s Temple Meads station, is now home to Little Martha Brewing.
For weeks, we’ve been walking and running past this as a work in progress. It finally opened shortly before Christmas, presenting a welcoming, somewhat pub-like face to the world.
Its neighbours in the arches include a hip doughnut cafe (obviously) and the best Cornish pasty shop in town.
It’s about five minutes from the station, five more minutes from The Barley Mow and the Moor Brewing taproom, and around the corner from The Cider Box.
In other words, it has instantly made itself the first stop on a crawl.
That was reflected in the crowd we found there on Saturday night.
We say we’re not taproom fans, as a rule, but one thing we’ve appreciated without necessarily noticing it is the gender balance. Taprooms (in Bristol, at any rate) seem to attract couples, and pairs of couples.
At Little Martha, that balance felt off. There were women, yes, but a couple of large groups of Lads were dominant – physically and aurally.
When blokes get together, and get a few beers in them, they get louder. Put them under a corrugated metal roof in a curved tunnel and it sounds like a swimming pool with the wave machine on.
It could be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months. Being the first or last port of call for stags and hens as they stagger off the train, or drift back towards it, could be a blessing or a curse.
That aside, we liked the bar. It’s got bench seats, booths and tables for two.
The counter is at the back, in front of the tanks, and there were two draught house beers on offer: a decent stout and a pleasingly bitter IPA with New Zealand hops.
The latter was called Mysterious Intergalactic Object, which gives a sense of the brand positioning here.
Guest beers from, for example, Cloudwater were also on offer.
As one of the nearest places to our house where we can get a pint (c.20 minutes) it’s certainly somewhere we’ll be coming back to.
Little Martha is open Wednesday to Thursday from noon to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 pm and on Sundays from noon to 8 pm. It’s at Arch 23, Oxford Street, St Phillips, BS2 0QT.