Bar Review: Euston Tap London
While my wife and friends headed to the Tower of London to hear some bloody history of the Empire, I went to Euston to get a bloody pint. Have you heard of hole in the wall pubs? Well this is a hole in the gate pub. More accurately a hole in an old Victorian gatehouse just outside Euston station London. On one side of the street busy with double deckers going in and out of the station is Euston Tap. (on the other side is its cider doppelgänger, we'll get to that later)
The bar has 19 regular keg beer taps and another eight taps pouring cask beers. When I was there only a couple keg lines were empty so the selection was pleasantly varied in both style and breweries. If none of the draught options tickle your fancy they have a pretty extensive selection of bottles that take up the rest of the space on the front wall of the establishment. Most of the cooler cases are given over to British breweries, many of them very local and a lot located right in the city. A small curated collection of American and Belgian beers also exists. Surprisingly (and refreshingly) no space given over to mikkeller and evil twin, this ain't no brewdog. The bottles can be purchased to drink in-house or to take away for a decent price by London standards.
I was the first person through the door, having arrived about 2 minutes after they up barred the gates of this beer palace. I had the small maybe 20 square meter place to myself for about a nanosecond before people started filtering in. When I say filtering in I mean a couple of people came in after me, then the floodgates opened and the place got packed nearly out the doors...within an hour...on a Monday...damn. I was told it's a popular watering hole and it seems that was no exaggeration. The atmosphere is buzzing with a mix of bearded beer nerds and punters in arsenal jerseys. It's no posh affair in here either. The building is ancient, given its history that's not a surprise. Inside its old masonry, old tile, and old wood. The smell is of an old musty building that has been soaking up beer for quite a while. It's cold too, damn cold. Guess the crown thought zero insulation would help the guards stay on their toes back in the day. Well it certainly keeps beer bloggers drinking and typing in order to stave off frostbite. This place is a definition of a hole in the wall when you think about it. When I say hole I mean it. Although for me hole in the wall pubs can also be a term of endearment as well, which in this case it absolutely is.
Up a flight of circular wrought iron stairs is a second level, containing a small room with bench seating along the wall and a few tables for groups away from the clamor downstairs. Oh the toilets are up there too...of course I use the term toilets loosely. The men's is a closet where you rest your back against the wall and relieve yourself into a trough on the opposite wall. A sink takes up the final 10% of the restroom smaller than your average toilet stall. Hope you are not wearing expensive jeans because they just became your hand towel. This is a proper dive toilet, I mean really it just adds to the atmosphere of this joint. If you have any toilet anxieties you might want to go round the corner to the corporate coffee shop, but if you want to use a proper pub pisser then you have found the right urinal and collection of minty cakes in this place.
The service is typical London/Capitol city Europe. If you come in not knowing a thing expect to get brushed off. If you will be spending an afternoon and seem to know your stuff expect a fair level of honesty and knowledge about local beers. Unlike some beer bars in famous cities, I won't name names but it starts with cope and ends with hagen, the bartender will actually tell you what is ok and what is just shite. The prices are pretty standard for craft beer in London. Perhaps steep if you are used to buying carlsberg, but I would far rather pay 5 pounds for a pint of craft beer from here then for a Guinness downtown. By Danish standards the prices were downright cheap!
I mentioned the cider bar across the way, well it happens to be the other guard house and according to the website the only dedicated cider bar in all of London. Once I was rejoined by my better half we moved over there so she could have a pint of apple juice before the long trip back to Denmark. The cider bar has 8 kegged ciders and 5 still on tap, and proudly proclaims that none of them are strongbow. I am not a cider guy so I didn't recognize any of the brands on the board but it seemed a good mix of dry to sweet ciders. My wife liked it and in the end that's all that really matters right?
So I ever intended to do a review of this place, just have a few pints and do some beer writing. then as I sat with my pints and half pints the charm and feeling of the place just kind of compelled me to write a few lines. The more beer I drank the more I liked the place and the more eloquent my prose about it became (or not, you be the judge). So in conclusion as I sit in my office in Denmark thinking fondly back on the Euston Tap, it's definitely a place I would recommend. Even if you are not into beer it's still a cool old building and a great real pub atmosphere. If you are into beer though it's a fantastic place to find some cool local stuff that I didn't see anywhere else while I was in London. Hey bonus if you get sick of barley juice you can cross the street to get some apple juice. Just watch out for those buses.