The Craft Beer Company Bar, Brixton Station Road, Brixton – review

The Craft Bar, Brixton Station Road Brixton - review

It used to be quite a challenge tracking down a well stocked real ale bar around Brixton, but Brixtonites are becoming positively spoiled these days, with the opening of a second real-ale bar, the Craft Beer Co in Brixton Station Road, SW9 on Friday.

The Craft Beer Company Bar, Brixton Station Road, Brixton - review

In April this year, the Crown & Anchor in Brixton Road paved the way for south London ale lovers, opening up an ale-stuffed pub at 246 Brixton Road – see our feature here – so we were keen to see how this new place compared.

The Craft Beer Company Bar, Brixton Station Road, Brixton - review

Opening up for business on the weekend, the Craft Beer Company Bar is situated in the premises formerly used by the Hive Bar, and offers a ground floor bar, a smaller upstairs ‘lounge’ and an outdoor drinking/smoking area.

It’s perfectly located for the pre-Academy crowd and I think it’s going to do very well out of that traffic.  I also expect that it’s going to find favour with after-work quaffers and the increasing numbers of upwardly mobile types  that are currently infesting moving into Brixton.

The Craft Beer Company Bar, Brixton Station Road, Brixton - review

The choice of beers on offer is truly formidable and has necessitated the construction of an unusual two tier pump arrangement.

We tried the tasty Leeds Best beer, the smooth Sunburst golden ale and the positively lethal Bracia which tasted more like a shot with its throat-warming  9.3% alcoholic punch.

The beer was all well looked after and the staff attentive  but we have to say we didn’t feel inclined to stay very long.

The problem is that the place just isn’t very, well,  ‘pub‘ like – which is rather strange seeing as the first thing you normally associate with real ale pubs is a warm, cosy and inviting atmosphere.

With its exposed floorboards, bare walls, large glass windows and high ceiling, it’s an incredibly noisy bar and we had to shout to hear each other over the sound of anecdote-swapping Bracia-laced drinkers and braying young professional types.

The austere vibe is accentuated by the dazzling neon sign that throws an unflattering cold light across the drinkers and gave the place the ambience of an airport lounge. The dimly lit room upstairs wasn’t much better either.

That said, I did like the stools which were neatly crafted from bicycle components (sadly you can’t actually spin the pedals) but the lack of comfortable seating is disappointing.

The Craft Beer Company Bar, Brixton Station Road, Brixton - review

I think the biggest mistake they’ve made is wedging the bar – and all their staff – into a corner of the room. Pubs work much better when there’s a long bar to lean against, letting punters see what’s on offer and giving the chance for the bar staff to chat to customers.

Verdict

It’s great that there’s more real ale choices being made available in Brixton – the more outlets for independent breweries the better as far as I’m concerned – but the general noise levels and overall coldness of the décor meant that despite the fantastic beers on offer, I don’t think the Craft Beer Co will be becoming my new local.

I do recommend that you give it a go though because there are some exceptional ales on offer.

More info: 
The Craft Beer Co.
11-13 Brixton Station Road
London
SW9 8PD

Opening Times
Sun – Weds: 12:00 – 00:00
Thurs: 12:00 – 01:00
Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 03:00

Website: http://thecraftbeerco.com/location/brixton-london/

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8 Comments on “The Craft Beer Company Bar, Brixton Station Road, Brixton – review”

  1. “The problem is that the place just isn’t very, well, ’pub‘ like ”

    No, it doesn’t look it. In fact I think it looks hideous.

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  2. Each to their own. It’s not selling an old fashioned pub atmosphere and doesn’t pretend to (which lots of pubs these days do), it’s focussing on providing a great selection of beer which it is hard to find elsewhere and I don’t think you can complain about that. Wasn’t the bar in the old pub, The HIve really small too? It was noisy when I was in there too but then I find that with a lot of pubs/bars these days in London at the weekend.

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  3. S Guest is must closer to the mark.

    This was never ever a pub, it hasn’t ripped out the heart from a traditional pub, its tried to create a place to enjoy amazing beers in a former bar/cafe.

    Not liking that fact its modern is understandable but hideous… its probably the most beautiful and unusual bar I have ever seen.

    It also has the finest selection of real ales, craft beers and spirits which have ever been seen in Brixton or any other part of South London.

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  4. I don’t think it’s hideous, just a bit cold and uninviting. And way too noisy.
    It’s certainly not “beautiful” or particularly “unusual” by any definition I can think of.

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  5. The utilitarian design makes the prospect of actually ‘enjoying’ the myriad ales a rather unlikely possibility. It’s just cashing in on the current hipster need for validation. I suspect the beers are all hovering around the £4 a pint price point too (just to add extra validation). Personally, I’d rather go and sit in my dad’s local and pay £3 for a pint of Bass and listen to him and his mates talk bollocks but since he’s 150 miles away and my friend has asked to meet here I guess I’ll have to at least try it. However, the huge arse crack on display in photo 3 does fill me with dread…

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