Saturday 26 May 2012

The Holborn Whippet

Although it seems new craft beer bars have been opening every month for the past couple of years now, the Holborn Whippet may well have more significance than most. Previously bars have been largely placed in areas just outside of central London where independent bars and eateries thrive, where there are obvious opportunities to reach a discerning and affluent crowd of drinkers looking for individuality over convenience – Camden, Brixton, Shoreditch etc. But the Whippet – so called because of an ancient Bloomsbury pastime of whippet racing before their drinking – is bang in the centre of town, where a mix of office workers and tourists usually indulge in chain restaurants and bars with pints of cold lager.
           On the day I visited, it was seemingly about 40 degrees centigrade, and most of the punters (there were many) were stood outside in the sun, but drinking pints of Thornbridge Pivni and Bernard Light instead of the usual Peroni. The bar is reminiscent of the Euston Tap, with a small central bar offering cask and keg options chalked up above the taps, and at pretty reasonable prices for the location. They have only been open a week, and it is still very much in pre-launch mode, with the kitchen closed (soon to be a grill-based operation with an emphasis on burgers) and the d├ęcor Spartan. The space is used well, with seats around the perimeter and large milling areas around the bar. Big windows allow you to effectively people watch, and the pedestrian road it is situated on is great for outside drinking.

           The beer list currently reflects the location – a relatively conservative selection that wont have beer geeks salivating at the very thought, but will provide a genuine alternative for those local workers who would usually be on the macro lager. Many of the beers were pilsners, bitters and stouts, recognisable styles for the more cautious craft beer drinker. Brand name breweries like Dark Star, Thornbridge and Williams Bros were prominent, along with bigger names form Germany and the Czech Republic, although it was nice to see some beers from Gadds, a Kent brewery rarely seen in London. From the more unusual stuff, Maisels Weisse Hell was delicious in the warm air, and a Kirkstall Framboise was keeping my missus very happy (although the sight of 2 women drinking this through a straw was very upsetting).
           For a craft beer devotee, this is clearly a welcome addition to London’s bar scene. More importantly, it is a stride towards making great beer more available and apparent to the drinking public who wouldn’t normally seek it out. It is still very much living out of it suitcase, but lets hope this place can mature into a consistent and quality operation that we can all enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Holborn Whippetis pretty good. Craft beers without the trendy hispter crap. Though please guys loose the jame jars they try hard!

    Locaiton is interesting as it means no tourist find it. Food great with a pint of Koing. Website is up now.