Words & Photos - Matthew Curtis
It's a grey, wet Sunday afternoon and I'm strolling down Tottenham Court Road, reminiscing about the time I used to work around here, in the heart of London. I hang a right on to Goodge Street and after a few more paces I'm standing outside the small and yet perfectly formed Draft House Charlotte.
This little pub/bar... whatever you want to call it has quickly become one of my favourite places to drink in London thanks to its modest range of keg, cask and bottled beers as well as a well thought out range of wines and spirits. It also, arguably via some kind of wizardry or mastery over quantum physics manages to cram in a kitchen and serves a range of American inspired bar food such as burgers, brats and some seriously hot wings but if a big feed doesn't suit you there's also a superb selection of charcuterie to snack on.
A couple of months ago I was sat with the the less than thirty or so other attendees of Draft House Charlotte's second 'Sunday Session' an intimate meet the brewer that on this occasion was with the charming and handsome Logan Plant of Beavertown. As Logan introduced his great beers and mingled with the punters happily answering any questions they had for him Draft House Manager Max Chater ran around like a blue-arsed fly serving small but immaculately formed plates of food carefully selected by himself to pair perfectly with each beer served. There was no queueing for drinks, no long waits for food and each and every pairing was explained with genuine enthusiasm. Despite having great food and beer it's the excellent staff and the service they provide that puts this boozer a level above others.
It's this reason why I'm back at the third Sunday Session after it took a break over Christmas to meet the team from Weird Beard Brew Co and to see what fantastic little plates Max had prepared to match with their beers. I arrive early and I'm soon leaning against the bar and chatting away with Tom from The Euston Tap as I pre-load with a tasty half of Brewdog's Raspberry Blitz Berliner Weisse. Soon I'm sat at a table with some lovely friends, too many to list as I attempt to keep these paragraphs succinct but they all know who they are and soon Max calls for our attention and starts proceedings. There's only about 30 of us here but there's not an empty seat in the house, it's cosy but not cramped, the event is sold out but I get the feeling that with the quality of these events the limited tickets will soon become a highly sought after commodity.
The ticket was a mere twenty-five of my pounds and this got me six thirds of beer, five of which are paired with an beautifully designed small plate of food and the sixth with a 'bump' as Max likes to call it, who also prides himself on his beer and spirit pairings, in this case a Dalmore 12 with Holy Hoppin' Hell Double IPA. Highlights include Dorset cured beef with mushrooms and a soya vinaigrette paired with Something Something Dark Side, a vinous black IPA packed with citrus and berry flavours and my personal favourite; Sea Bass Cerviche served with the dry and moreish Saison 14. With each course the conversation gets louder and the gesticulation wilder, as the afternoon draws to a close bottles are being opened and shared amongst wide eyed and content lovers of food and booze.
Eventually we bid our goodbyes to Draft House and meander towards the Euston Tap, which has become the unofficial but highly fitting after venue for Sunday Sessions. It's a wonderful way to wile away a Sunday afternoon but I'll try not to leave it another month before I visit the wonderful Draft House Charlotte as I'd surely be doing myself an injustice.
Tickets for the next Sunday Sessions, which take place on the last Sunday of every month bar December, will soon be available on the Draft House website here and although the brewer has not been confirmed yet you can be sure that Max and his team have another top afternoon in store. The last event was a sell out and spaces are limited so be sure to book your ticket quickly if you want to guarantee your spot, I can assure you this is one Sunday afternoon pub session that's not to be missed.