The Bree Louise, London NW1
Last year, for reasons too convoluted to go into, I found myself working on the Euston Road in London, but living in and commuting from Milton Keynes every day through Euston station. I investigated a lot of pubs around this time, ranging from Sam Smiths pubs to icy gastros that weren’t really pubs any more, such as The Queens Head & Artichoke, where you felt like you were putting the serving staff out in some way if you just went in for a pint, even when it was empty.
One pub that I found myself returning to a number of times was The Bree Louise. Just around the side of Euston, it’s a shabby, frayed-at-the-edges traditional pub with terrible toilets. But sometimes the best pubs have awful bogs.
The Bree Louise has two things going for it:
1. It has a huge selection of real ale, with up to 11 beers on gravity and 6 on hand pumps. It looks like a beer festival behind the bar, with all the casks sitting on saddles. For me it was a good place to explore a wide range of beers from a decent selection of breweries.
2. In summer it was a great place to sit outside, or (more likely, given how busy it got) stand outside and enjoy a little bit of evening sun, on a quiet sidestreet just away from the dashing commuters rushing between Euston and Euston Square stations.
Today I note that on the comments to Pete Brown’s entry on the (very exciting) Euston Tap, there’s a bit of hostility towards the Bree Louise. One commenter says:
As long as the whole bar doesn’t smell of piss like the Bree Louise, then I’ll be happy.
Which is probably fair comment. Opinion is deeply divided on Beer In The Evening, where it retains a solid 7.2/10 but attracts criticism for the condition of some of its beers and the quality of the food. Back on Pete Brown’s blog, The Beer Monkey noted:
The lacklustre Bree Louise now has some serious competition down that neck of the woods.
I think this is both fair and positive. There’s room for more good pubs in that end of London, and if the competition from a shiny new craft beer pub forces the Bree to up its game a bit in the areas where it’s been subject to criticism to keep beer fans coming in, that’s all for the best. But I’d hate to see it close.
(For another take on The Bree Louise and helpful links to some largely unimpressed reviews on a number of other blogs, see Boak and Bailey).