When the Sheffield Tap opened almost a year ago, I wrote that it was almost worth getting the train to Sheffield just to sit and have a drink in the station. Since then, I have done just that. But now there's no need: the team behind this wonderful craft beer bar - one of the best in the country - have now repeated their stunning success at Euston Station.
In an audacious and visionary move, Jamie Hawksworth and co - also responsible for the Pivo bar in York - have taken a lease on one of the iconic square Portland stone buildings flanking the front of the station, and made it the Euston Tap. Yesterday, manager Yan Pilkington invited me for a look around.
|London landmark becomes beery destination.|
The builders - imported like the management from Sheffield - were still busy when I arrived. A lobby into the bar area was being erected over the door, and Yan and Jamie were in the cellar struggling with the three pythons that will take the beer into the bar. Said beer was standing on pallettes outside on the grass, and there was an awful lot of it. I imagine the guys won't be getting too much sleep between now and 6pm tomorrow, Friday 5th November, when the place opens.
|Signage will be subtle, to say the least|
I love the ambition here. And while it's not finished, it already looks stunning.
It's a small place, but not as small as you'd think if you walk past. There's standing room for around 65 downstairs, and then a spiral staircase leads to a second floor where a lounge area will seat up to around another 50.
When you walk in, the main bar itself - like the one in the Sheffield tap - takes your breath away.
|Eight cask ale taps, looking forward to the objections from dinosaurs|
There are 19 quality keg beers. I spotted Bernard's wonderful unpastuerised lager, Matuska, a rising star from the Czech Republic that blew us beer writers away when we visited recently, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, and Stone Pale Ale, to name but a few. In those fridges there'll be 100 rotating bottles. Currently these include 60 American craft beers, 30 German and ten from Danish cuckoo brewer Mikkeller.
You have never seen a craft beer selection like this anywhere else. And Yan insists you won't be paying through the nose for it either - cask ales start at £2.70.
There's just one serious flaw. This is a listed building, and the work that can be done to it is limited. Which means there is one - ONE - toilet in the entire place, and it's at the top of the spiral stairs. So remember to go before you get here.
If you're a craft beer geek already, you will now be reading this already queuing outside the Tap for tomorrow's opening. If you're not, I urge you to get to Euston as quickly as possible to sample some remarkable beers in what will be a wonderful atmosphere. You'll never make your train from Euston again.
See you there.