York – Brewdog

I’m writing this shortly after the Prime Minister’s announcement that all pubs, bars and restaurants should close from tonight. It was a week ago today that I was in Brewdog in York, feels much longer given how much has changed with the virus situation. Anyway, it’ll all blow over soon hopefully.

I hadn’t realised that there was a Brewdog in York, it was only walking by that I happened to notice it, a reminder that I need to look at their list of UK pubs more often. Well, after this virus has finished faffing about with the British pub scene anyway.

The staff member was friendly and helpful, something that the chain tends to get right. Not the most vibrant of atmospheres, since there was only one other customer on a Friday afternoon, but I didn’t require a nightclub feel, so all was well.

I opted for the Velvet Merkin by Firestone Brewing, all the way from California. It’s not cheap, at just over £10 per pint, but this isn’t a drink that needs to be purchased in such a large measure. It felt like its 8.5%, with this being the barrel aged version of the brewery’s Velvet Merlin beer. The beer was marvellous, rich in initial flavour and there were afternotes of chocolate, vanilla and coffee. A multi-layered drink and very decadent, an excellent guest choice from Brewdog.

The packed bar….. Everything felt welcoming about the location though, no loud music, the temperature was appropriate and the toilets were clean and fully stocked, something particularly important at the time.

There are a few different sections to this Brewdog, this is the seating area at the rear. It makes me feel rather quite sad to know that for several weeks this bar, and tens of thousands of others, will be closed.

Anyway, the pub is well reviewed on-line, but I felt the need to have a little look at the grumpy reviews on TripAdvisor. This is one of the 1/5 reviews, they didn’t like what I would call the on trend decor:

“The worst part though is the venue itself. It’s like walking into a building site. What a total mess it looks. Maybe they are trying to be trendy I don’t know but it’s a right tip. Rough walls, filthy floor, cables and tat hanging from the roof. The bar is made of outdoor road paving slabs that looked like they hadn’t had a wipe down in days. The front of the bar is just rough old pallets with bloody great splinters sticking out.”

And another unhappy customer who didn’t like the design:

“The decor is a dump.. think it’s meant to be trendy, but it’s still a dump… and beer at up to £12.50 a bottle… mmmm don’t think I will bother again..”

On a matter of principle, a really innovative craft beer bar is inevitably going to have bottles at over £10, such as the cost of importation.

“Shame. I loath decorating and DIY so why would I feel relaxed in a placed that intentionally gives itself the ambience of a renovation project?”

And another one, the bar seems to get more complaints about its decor than anything else.

I imagine there’s quite a student feel to this bar on evenings throughout the year, it’s on the infamous Micklegate bar crawl and it’s all suitably on-trend. I liked this Brewdog though, and the staff member remembered what I’d ordered and asked if I’d enjoyed it. Now, I accept that this wasn’t a huge feat of memory given the number of customers, but it’s still a nice touch.