London’s Best Beer, Pubs and Bars updates
Southwest London: Battersea and Clapham
Bar (Lost Society)
147 St Johns Hill SW11 1TQ
T 020 7450 6457 w www.powderkegdiplomacy.co.uk
Open 1600 (1000 Sat-Sun)-2300 (2400 Fri-Sat). Children very welcome daytimes.
Cask beer 3 (Dark Star, unusual guests), Other beer 5 keg, 40+ bottles, Also Cocktails, 30 wines, home made soft drinks and spirit infusions.
Food Gastro British menu, Outdoor Tables on street, Wifi. No disabled toilet but will assist with access.
Seasonal events, occasional beer and cocktail tastings.
A decade ago the idea of installing cask ale handpumps in a hip and youthful London cocktail bar would have seemed ridiculous. Now the owners of such places are commissioning their own brand beers and planning to start a brewery. Powder Keg Diplomacy is the most recently opened and the most beer friendly of a small family of venues centred around Battersea and Clapham, of which the best known is Lost Society. Opened late in 2011 in a former restaurant premises that had lain unoccupied for two years, it really is a demonstration of how the image of fine beer is changing.
The smallish venue has a fin de siècle colonial Victorian theme – a ceiling map of the British Empire at its height, hatstands, cut glass, a lovely rear conservatory with a ceiling fan – but it’s accomplished with a sense of taste and isn’t intrusive or tacky. Besides a range of expertly mixed cocktails, unusual alcoholic infusions and home made soft drinks prepared by attentive, informative and occasionally uncomfortably overpolite staff, there’s a beer list that shows all the right signs of tender loving care.
Dark Star Hophead is a regular cask beer, joined by guests from breweries like Bristol, Ilkley, Magic Rock and Windsor & Eton. Kegs are all British craft beers including offerings from Harviestoun, Magic Rock and Meantime, except for the Belgian-brewed house lager. An excellent British-dominated bottled list includes Green Jack, Hopdaemon, Kernel, Marble, Redchurch and Thornbridge, with “colonial” guests from the US and Australia – the owners have a personal connection with the Mountain Goat brewery in Richmond, Victoria.
Decent food at approaching decent restaurant prices, cooked up by chef Warren Beasley, runs from substantial bar snacks like oysters and braised haggis balls to main courses like ale-braised oxtail, hake fillet, hung steaks and celeriac and potato hotpot. Beer matching recommendations, sadly, are missing from the menu, but otherwise PKD shines a light for a new generation of cool beer friendly hangouts.
National Rail Overground Clapham Junction Cycling LCN+ 29, links to 3 37 CS8