By Bill Lacy
A sea of calm this week, following the high drama of England’s heartbreak in the Euro 2020 final. Pubs were packed from early in the day and it was tough getting a table anywhere.
I managed to watch the match in a friend’s restaurant, with people waiting at the bus stop outside pressed up against the window when the penalty shoot-out started.
This week, by contrast, I could walk into anywhere I wanted. I walked into a good one. I was intending to go to another pub but I walked past Craft Metropolis in Penge High Street and felt compelled to go in.
There’s always a thrill about places you didn’t know were there. It must have been a sign from the pub gods.
Last week, I made a special trip to a pub that I thought would be good but wasn’t, so this must be making up for it.
Craft beer bars are a little off the map – they sometimes don’t even show up in pub directories.
I think it is because they are small places and may be categorised as bottle shops.
Craft Metropolis served this purpose – there were a couple of large fridges being perused by those buying beer to takeaway – but it doubles up as a proper bar too, with a few seating areas and 10 kegged lines on.
The beer, as expected for a specialist venue, is excellent.
There is a remarkable range on offer. Like computer games shops, craft beer bars are run by men who look exactly like you think they should.
The uninitiated could find themselves a little dazzled, but the manager is knowledgeable and authoritative, which made a nice change from last week’s pub when I asked whether there was any real ale on and the barmaid made a face as if I’d asked whether I could go to the toilet in her handbag.
I sat down in front of one of those industrial fans near the window.
The place is small enough that you can just order verbally from your table. There is a £1 ‘tax’ on table sitting for canned beers from the fridge, but the keg choices are advertised on a prominently-located blackboard and there is something for everyone.
It included some quality local brewers – I started off with a superb pint of (now Croydon-based) Anspach and Hobday’s The Ordinary Bitter.
Opposite me, an exhausted dad had brought his two young children in, suitably distracted by Paw Patrol, for some much needed respite.
This really is a place to go for quality beer.
Craft Metropolis 47 High Street, Penge SE20 7HW
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