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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Tap East, Westfield Stratford City

I saw Scotland play Argentina this weekend. Tit-for-tat going in at the halftime interval, Scotland came out to score twice, putting real space between the two teams for the first time. Then it happened, guard down, caught on the back foot, Lucas Amorosino punishes the Scots with a moment of individual brilliance, dancing round four defenders, crashing over the line to score the decisive try. Eighty minutes played, insignificant in comparison to that thirty second period, one single moment that defined the match and encapsulated its story.

On 13th September 2011, Tap East opened in Westfield Stratford City. A single moment in time, an important chapter in the story of London beer. As drinkers, brewers, landlords and proponents of quality beer, we’ve been working towards this for some time.

It would be easy to write about the chalkboard walls, the rare bottles on shelving and the glass panels that’ll provide customers with a view of the brew-kit. It would be even easier to write about the service, the draft beer selection and the bottle fridges. Tap East is important for another reason. Tap East is a specialist beer bar and microbrewery in a major shopping centre. A shopping centre, with a Topshop, a John Lewis and a ... a microbrewery and specialist beer bar. Yeah, exactly!

Slumped on a comfy sofa, paddling in a sea of plastic carrier bags, the average shopper now sits. Sipping an ale that was brewed ten feet away, slurping a lager that was aged in the cellar of a craftsman on a different continent. He finishes his conversation about yesterday’s game, picks up the trainers he just bought at Sports Direct and heads off to the food court for something to eat. He does this because he’s an average Londoner, and because beer is now something more than fizzy-yellow lager and old-man-flat-brown.


Mark Dredge said...

There's a Topshop? I need to go!

This is a great place for there to be a brewpub. It's also good for every man who will be dragged there by his missus. Haven't been yet. I might save my visit until they get the permanent bar in. Looking forward to seeing it!

Mark said...

And a Primark, and a Greggs!

It'll be awesome when it's fully done I think. I just think it's a really big deal that a microbrewery and craft bar has been offered a spot at such a major shopping centre. Shows a change in attitude towards beer?

Leigh said...

I like the last para, dude. If that's not the power of simply putting the right beer into the path of curious people, then I don't know what is.

Jonathan said...

Whilst I did rather enjoy Tap East I do worry about their position in the mall, tucked right away at the arse end of it. Was consistently quiet on a late Saturday afternoon and early evening, plus seemed to have huge number of staff given the customer numbers so far.

Hopefully will pick up and once the brewery is in place I look forward to returning and trying some great beer brewed on site.

Mark said...

Cheers Leigh. I'm sure it'll be a slow burner until the brewery and full bar are in place. When I visited, it was still very much a work in progress.

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