23 Jun 2013

Night out in E1: Brick Lane & BrewDog

Some friends recently arrived back in the UK after living in the US for just over a year. While they were over there their love of decent, flavoursome craft beer had grown. So it seemed only right that we should all go to a BrewDog pub together, as they always have a good selection of interesting beers to try. Having been to the one in Camden a few times, my hubby and I decided to try out the new-ish bar in Shoreditch. I'd walked past it recently and it looked very different from the Camden one - more a bar than a pub, with its floor-to-ceiling glass and burly bouncers on the door.

We walked up from Aldgate East (nice and easy way to get to Shoreditch if you live on the District Line - none of that changing-lines-waiting-for-connections rubbish to deal with), heading up the vibrant Brick Lane. Along the way we were accosted by a few restaurant touts, promising us mouth-watering deals (curry plus wine for a tenner, etc..), but we passed them by in favour of a dosa restaurant on Hanbury St. 

Brick Lane and its side-streets are a street photographer's paradise, with colourful locals (from all over the world), quirky shops and restaurants, shisha bars, bagel shops, temples, smart architecture, and huge amounts of creative, artistic graffiti.

We arrived at the BrewDog bar to a text from our friends informing us that they were downstairs, a bit of a relief as the upstairs was heaving and very noisy. The downstairs bar took a bit of finding - following a few instructions scribbled on the walls to find the place. Inside it was extremely dark and took our eyes a good few minutes to adjust. The acoustics were great, in spite of being busy down there too, so it was possible to have a decent conversation, something which would definitely have been more of a struggle upstairs. The crowd was a little older and calmer down below... Various groups came and went on the tables around us, with some staying around for quite a few. The barman gave us a few recommendations; I tried the new #Mashtag beer while the others stuck to various IPAs. My #Mashtag - an American Brown Ale - was delicious, but strong at 7.5%, so after a couple I felt rather tipsy. I learned that it was a Twitter-created beer, with various ingredients determined by popular vote!



After a bout of unexpected hiccoughs (after only three beers!) we headed off and stopped in for a quick nightcap at a little bar called Monty's on Brick Lane. As we wandered back to the tube the curry houses and late-night partying were in full-swing; police meandered around to ensure things didn't get out of hand (and that the revellers used the public conveniences provided!).

By the time we got the tube it was past 11.30pm, so we joined the usual sociable late-night crowd for the journey back west along the District Line.

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