Photo borrowed from Kake Pugh / Flickr

LondonEating & DrinkingPubs & BarsPubs

No matter how hard I try, I really find it hard to actively LIKE the Bree Louise.

The first thing people usually point at is the marvellous array of marvellous beer – it’s like there’s a permanent beer festival going on in there, with 4 or 5 beers on handpump on one side, and then another 5 or 6 on gravity dispense over the other side (“gravity” is the other name for when a beer cask is mounted on a rack, table or shelf, and then the barman opens the tap on the bottom & pours you a beer straight out – in case you were wondering).

Yes it’s highly commendable to have all those beers available, but that doesn’t automatically make it a good pub. I’ve had many pints in there, and some of them still come out tasting a little bland. Not BAD, as such: they’d more than certainly give you a replacement if that were the case.

A feature of the place is that CAMRA members get a discount (50p per pint I think), but that seems a little unfair I think: if you were going for rounds with 3 friends then their rounds would all cost £2 more for exactly the same product. Of course it makes members’ eyes light up, and possibly contributes to attracting the superlative reviews we see. (disclosure: I’m a CAMRA member – it’s not a jealousy thing)

If you look around and ignore the beers, what you’ve got is a fairly tatty & dingy saggy-ceilinged room, stuffed with tables that are the wrong size for the space they’ve got (and you can test this by trying to walk through from one door to the other when all the seats are full – a lot of the time you can barely open the door adjacent to the toilets get into the place, and approaching the bar with the handpumps on it usually prompts the typical apologetic do-si-do). The toilets are the most barely provided functional arrangement, periodically wafting parfum d’urine through the premises. The last 5 or 6 times my friends & I have been through there we’ve chosen to sit outside at the picnic tables rather than lap up the ambience inside, and this was over winter.

It’s not that I can’t stand the place – my point is that on balance it’s a shabby-to-OK boozer, which does an excellent job of providing range & quality of real ale.

Perhaps another summary worth considering is that “If you were looking for a pint or 2 of real ale in the Euston Station area, it’s the place you’d most likely head to”, rather than “If you were planning to go out somewhere for a night in a pub, you couldn’t go wrong with this place”.

If I was going to rate it on the beer, it’d be a solid 4. As a pub, I’d say a 2. So lets agree call it an overall 3.

Check out my review of Bree Louise – I am mrfrisky – on Qype