Last Thursday I found myself looking up at walls adorned with oil paintings that emanated something quite classical. The ceiling was high and the ornately framed artworks hung from a heritage coloured backdrop of slate blue-grey walls. I could’ve been in an art gallery, but no, the lighting was dimmed and the area small and narrow with a set of taps at one end and Stevie Wonder tunefully singing out from the speakers; this was one of London’s newest additions to the beer scene; The Other Room.
Mike and I were greeted by bar manager Thomas and after warm introductions and with his recommendations we started our evening with half a Fourpure Session IPA and half a Brew By Numbers Mosaic + Simcoe Session IPA (keg). We took our beers from the small bar, walked over to the last empty seating booth and settled in for the evening. The Other Room is a dedicated beer bar, opened by the team behind The Bermondsey Arts Club & Cocktail Bar.
I couldn’t help but look up at the walls again, a striking feature yet one that doesn’t impose but instead helps to set a warm and inviting tone. The low light helps to create a warmth too with sparse lighting set on an open grid attached to the ceiling and single bulb lamps worked into each booth and around the standing area at the front. The Other Room sounds like the title to a mystery novel, but there was no uncertainty here, and it was fast becoming clear that this was a unique place that I would be happy to while away the hours in.
I sipped the BBNo IPA, my preferred choice of the two starting halves, a fresh and clear medley of zesty citrus pith, tropicals and pine. I sat back into the cushioned booth and looked around only to confirm my initial thoughts that this place has a wonderful feel to it; part gallery (from the wall décor), part café (6 wooden seating booths fill the space), a tinge of industrial chic and a community vibe; one that perhaps stems in part from the sharing of booths between strangers, the mix of different people, the way Thomas will engage in friendly chit chat with folk and maybe just its location on Tower Bridge Road. People come and go all evening, the room never sparse or empty of people or chatter.
Jimi Hendrix played out through the speakers and we moved onto Fourpure Amber Ale, the third of six keg taps, enjoying its flavour profile of orange marmalade and toffee popcorn with a light tropical twist. Fourpure Pils, The Kernel IPA: Nelson Chinook Simcoe and Siren Craft Broken Dream (first in the city to serve it from nitro) completed the taps listing that evening. The fridge housed more to be tempted by with a line-up from the likes of BBNo, Anspach & Hobday, Partizan and The Kernel; a local selection from the Bermondsey brewers. Other beers from Beavertown, Magic Rock, Siren, Hop Stuff, Big Smoke and Canopy, to name but a few, were also there to tempt with the likes of Buxton, Cloudwater and Pressure Drop in the pipeline to join the ranks. The emphasis being chiefly on UK beers and the spotlight largely on local London beer. As an outsider coming into London I relished the opportunity to drink a broad selection of fresh, local beers and appreciated the options from the rest of the UK, the overall selection reading as an essential playlist of core craft beers.
Ordering a plate of nachos to pair with our glass of juicy Kernel IPA proved to be a winner, the spice making the beer even juicier and the homemade salsa a definite highlight. Chuck Berry starts up in the background and we chat some more with the very engaging Thomas as he tells us that The Other Room is looking to hire a chef to create a menu that will pair will the beers (since writing the position has been filled). We finished our evening with a glass of nitro Broken Dream and a bottle of Big Smoke Dark Wave, bought a selection of bottles to take-out and said our thanks and goodbye’s to Thomas but not without declaration that we’d most definitely be back. We will go back soon I hope, because despite being The Other Room, to me it is The room, a cosy and welcoming oasis of local, fresh artisan beer.
Many thanks to General Manager Dave for the invite to review and to Bar Manager Thomas for hosting Mike and I for the evening.