21-22 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NA
‘Brewed by men, not machines’
Where ever you go on a Friday night in central London, it will be busy and Porterhouse is no exception. When walking somewhere in between busy Covent Garden and Charing Cross, I notice I have arrived at the bar when I see a good odd 50 people in the front patio smoking and drinking the week’s troubles away. I brace myself to squish through people and mentally prepare myself to be standing up the whole evening.
I have been to this bar before on several occasions and recently for the Motörhead Beer Launch, however, I still get lost every time. With about 12 different levels, this place is like a labyrinth, everywhere I look there are stairs taking me somewhere else (just make sure you figure out where the toilets are otherwise good luck wandering around on a full bladder). Covered in wooden ceilings and seating, it is not like any other wooden bars; it has copper barrels, pipes all around the bar and a massive clock in the middle (which I wonder if it works as I am yet to hear it make a sound).
The bar is loud with the chatter of everyone around, filling the space, which is probably a good thing because, besides having some Blondie in the background, they have some Artic Monkeys British-Indie-sounding stuff playing that I would rather not have to listen to. Not being in one of the main streets, the clientèle are a mixture of tourists speaking all sorts of different languages but mostly full of locals having a drink after work.
Being an Irish bar, I decide to go for some Irish whiskey and you can’t go wrong with some whiskey. I decide to stick to one I know and go for a 10 year old, Old Bushmill’s. But Porterhouse has a lot more to offer than just whiskeys and is notorious for having a great variety of ales, stouts and craft beer, some of which are brewed by their own brewery. I focus on their ales next and I am really keen to try out their Oatmeal Ale. Unfortunately, just my luck, they’ve run out. I eye out the Buttermilk Stout on the menu but I feel it might be too heavy for tonight and settle for an American pale ale- the Goose Island IPA which is recommended to me by the bar tender. I think I have tried this IPA before, it is refreshing and easy to drink but not terribly memorable. For my next drink I try something different and go for one of the flavoured beers they have in the massive fridges behind the bar in on the first floor. I go for a Floris Honey which only comes in a bottle. It is a very easy to drink Belgian white beer, which smells more like honey than it tastes, but it is a very good alternative to normal beer for those who are not big fans. What is good about this place, besides the variety, is that the prices are pretty average so there is no need to break the piggy bank in order to try something new.
They also always seem to be updating their drinks list and providing themed drinks, this time offering 6 special cocktails on days when the Rugby 6 Nation is on. I am also really interested in coming back to one of their monthly whisky tasting sessions upstairs in The Dingle Whiskey Bar where they have a selection for 180 whiskeys, I am far too excited for this already.
I note this down as a good place to go in central for a bit of live music, Irish ales and food – especially “The Porterhouse Frying Pan”. But I would try reserving a table or going on a week day to avoid disappointment and having to drop my shit in the corner. Let’s go and get Irish!
Photo credit to Ywe Larsson