Whether you’re looking for a cracking selection of world beers, a lively after-work spot or a yoke, smoke and poke, Draft House will cater for all occasions with its latest playful and contemporary Charlotte Street branch.
Being positioned on the corner of Goodge Street and Charlotte Street on the site of the former Northumberland Arms means Draft House Charlotte really commands the attention of passers-by. Its clean, modern look will please design gurus working in the surrounding area, with a black exterior decorated by a bold tangerine canopy and header, and the pub’s name in a bold typeface that’s now synonymous with the Draft House brand. The colour theme continues into the small bar space indoors, with deep brown ceilings and camel coloured walls, but lurid green stools brighten things up. So many different beer bottles are lined up tantalisingly above the bar. And further proving itself as a trendy spot, Draft House has a smattering of posters on one wall, including old NME covers.
The Draft House brand has a laid-back but contemporary feel, with a focus on good beer and good company, and this Charlotte Street branch doesn’t let the side down. The inside of this bar is really quite small and cosy, but this actually adds to the feel that this is an insider secret for after-work drinks with a difference. Despite being in its early weeks, this pub already has a following of dedicated drinkers throughout the week, and if seating isn’t available indoors you can bet your bottom dollar that won’t put off regulars from taking to the pavements. The staff at Draft House Charlotte have the exceptional beer knowledge you’d expect and are happy to take a risk and suggest a drink that’s a bit out of the ordinary.
Food options at Draft House Charlotte are more limited than at other Draft Houses, but luckily the best dishes from other branches have been cherry-picked. Pleasingly, the focus still remains on beer, with each dish coming with a drink recommendation. Bucking the trend of usual after-work spots, foot-long scratchings (£3.75) are a bigger hit than a serving of chips to help soak up your brew. They make a delicious, salty snack, although they can be a laborious task to chomp on. Another sterling bar snack is the meat bomb (£4.25), which on arrival is much more manageable than imagined – three little breadcrumb balls served with béchamel sauce hold a succulent Bolognese-style mixture in their warm centre.
Following on from the great debate established at other Draft House bars across town, diners are given the choice of either a yoke, smoke or poke burger (£9.25-£9.95). These delicious options are served medium and are juicy patties made from very tender beef. The yoke is an egg and béchamel combo while the smoke holds a layer of cheddar and bacon, both smoked and cured in-house respectively. The poke burger seems to be going down a storm here, with its old Amsterdam cheese and onion ring filling proving popular with patrons, not to mention the bird’s eye chilli sauce, best taken in moderation. And so, the debate continues!
Other pub grub saviours include mac ‘n’ cheese (£8.75) and a nine-inch hot dog (£6.75) with sauerkraut and pickles. You can also expect gut-busting desserts (£4.75) in the form of a chocolate brownie with crunchy hazelnuts, a warm, gooey centre and vanilla ice cream on top. And the Draft House ice cream sundae is a tower of strawberry and vanilla ice creams, strawberry syrup and a whipped cream that is like marshmallow in texture. Breakfasts have also been introduced to Draft House Charlotte and baps (£4.50), fresh fruit (£4.75) and muesli (£3.75) are bound to prove popular with the working crowd, as well as Sunday brunch aficionados.
Draft House Charlotte excels most in its vast list of bottle, keg and cask brews that will make good reading material for any beer connoisseur. From the keg selection are rotating craft beer specials served as either third, half or full pints, including Brewdog 5AM Saint (£7.95 a pint), Stiegl Goldbrau (£4.55 a pint) or Sierra Nevada pale ale (£7.95 a pint). There are just two cask drinks permanently on tap – Sambrooks Wandle (£3.50 a pint) and Adnam’s pale ale Ghost Ship (£3.95 a pint). However, beer drinkers will be spoilt for choice with a bottled menu that holds porters, wheat beers, lagers and pale ales on its pages. The Palma Cristal (£3.95) is a light beer for summer days and a great alternative to your average Corona, as is the Brooklyn Lager (£4). Also representing the States is Samuel Adams Boston Lager (£3.95), which is a much fuller and hoppier flavour. And for winter drinking, the Sierra Nevada stout, again hailing from the US, is a rich drink with a liquorice flavour.
Despite Draft House Charlotte’s vast beer knowledge, wine also does a reasonable trade here and is sold at keen prices, bottles ranging from £14.50 up to £22.50. Interesting choices include a red from Zaragoza in Spain (£14.50) and a New Zealand Moko Sauvignon Blanc (£22.50). And quality is maintained to the end, with teas supplied by Rare Tea Co and coffee at hand from Monmouth, with a cuppa setting you back just £2.75.
The Last Word
Top-notch beers and macho food offering aren’t as alienating as some would expect at this miniature Draft House branch, thanks to an accessible, modern vibe and helpful staff. A playful tone guarantees good times for the after work crowd that is already attracted to Draft House Charlotte.