At first glance Brewdog Manchester seems just like any other Brewdog. Same white perspex and copy cat lettering illuminating the available beers, same concrete, bare wood, scaffolding pole fittings.
Look around, and apart from being a bit larger, take away the branding and it’s pretty much the same as any other craft beer bar I’ve been to
Good thing or not? Depends on how you look at it;
Grade I listed Victorian heritage pubs have a sameyness about them. All faience tiles, terrazzo floors, mahogany and etched glass dividing separate rooms.
Many of the great coaching inns seem to fit a pattern and the half timbered, low beamed Olde English Inn is so easy to copy that everyone has done it. Likewise the road houses and estate pubs of the twentieth century.
Marston’s seem to be throwing up any number of identikit family themed eating pubs everywhere you look at the minute. They don’t attract me, but Marston’s will have identified a keen target audience, and good luck to them (their audience, not Marston’s).
The theme of new pubs and bars, or anything really, fulfils that immediate ‘Shock of the New’ backed by the recurring theme of Tradition and Dissent. I mean, once upon a time they had someone with a red flag walking in front of motor cars that went so slow a horse could have overtaken them. People got over it though, and look where we are now.
It’s exactly the same with pubs. And isn’t it the case with the legacy we have in the UK. A timeline of pub styles going back to Dick’s days. A sort of Smorgasbord of many styles and eras, each which would have been shockingly new in their day. Some which have been lovingly cared for, some very much neglected and quite a lot which are still there by sheer virtue.
What’s this got to do with Brewdog Manchester then? Quite a lot really because there’s many who decry Brewdog, much the same as I would with Marston’s. Doesn’t make any of us wrong though.
It’s just in 50 years time I reckon people will be viewing Craft Beer bars with their hindsight glasses, campaigning to save the last few remaining examples to stand alongside the rich diversity of many pub styles we might still posses.
I quite liked the Manchester branch of Brewdog, apart from the smell of cooked fish, despite it not appearing on the menu? Thankfully it disappeared when they cleared away the diners plates.
The Siren Uncle Zester was particularly nice, I like a Bragott, although the place felt very quiet for a Thursday afternoon. Something I’ve noticed in a lot of Brewdog bars who seem to do most of their turnover during three or four late sessions tied to the general city centre night time economy.
Toilets were only alright. I reckon Brewdog could up their game here across a lot of their bars. They’re not the only ones though.