The new Bruhaha brewery tap in Totterdown, Bristol, is a remarkably successful melding of pub and taproom.
As the crow flies, it’s not far from us, but there are railway lines, a river, and a bloody great big hill in the way.
We schlepped there in the gloom of a late afternoon, in need of something to see off the January blues.
From the approach, the bar looked inviting, with golden light behind big windows bearing the brewery logo, and a crowd visible inside.
The pub (we checked on our spreadsheet) is plain and minimal in terms of decor:
- picnic benches
- white walls
- bare wood
- fairy lights
In other words the IKEA showroom school of bar design.
But with two levels, partitions and careful lighting, it felt cosy and intimate, rather than like a shop unit.
Every seat was taken by groups of older people, couples with babies, couples with tiny dogs, couples on dates, groups of lads, and various other combinations.
“It’s great to have more than three people in,” said Steve England, the owner, when asked how it was going by an inquisitive customer. (Not us. We just happened to be standing there when the conversation happened.)
There was only one beer from Bruhaha on offer, a Doppelbock, that was decent enough, if perhaps lacking the crisp cleanness of the German originals. If it was rebadged as a strong winter ale it would pass.
We didn’t struggle to find tempting beers from other brewers on the menu, though. From Good Chemistry’s Oatmeal Stout to New Bristol Session IPA. Lost & Grounded Keller Pils was there as a safe fall-back, too, and tasting particularly fresh and fine.
For the peckish, there was Indian food from the Roti Shack on offer, or nuts from big jars on the bar.
The bar is also being used for various local community groups and activities, such as oil painting classes – very laudable.
We found it hard to leave and agreed that we would not let the obstacle-strewn industrial and natural landscape of Bristol prevent us visiting again soon.
Bruhaha is at 156-158 Wells Rd, Totterdown, Bristol BS4 2AG, and is currently open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Details of events and food pop-ups are on the website.