Draft House to open new site with craft beers and Optic cocktails


draft house birdcage pie

Charlie McVeigh is set to open his seventh site for Draft House, the group of premium pubs specialising in craft beer, pies and cocktails on Optics.

It will open in the former Laurie Arms in Shepherds Bush Road in Hammersmith, west London, on February 26, after a restoration and refurbishment of the old pub.

As with the other Draft Houses, the new place promises to stock a “colossal” range of craft beers on draught and in bottles from local breweries as well as brewers in the US, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic.

It will serve cocktails from traditional three-litre pub Optics, developed by bartender Max Chater from Draft House’s bar and distillery Bump Caves next to its pub at Tower Bridge, south London.

Priced at £5 each, the cocktails will include a Martini, a Manhattan and the signature Bump Hi-Rye.

Draft House will restore the pub’s interior, complete with original 10ft stained-glass windows on the front of the building. The 100-cover pub will have ochre-yellow upholstered wheel-framed benches with fluted backs, antique French ceramic pendants, and clusters of glass orbs with golden flex.

The original brick walls and Victorian pitch pine cladding will be painted with song lyrics associated with bands that played the former Hammersmith Palais that operated nearby from 1919 to 2007. There will also be artworks from Charlie’s own collection.

He said: “The interior and playlist will be a celebration of the Hammersmith Palais – demolished in 2013. Many of us have happy, sweaty, pogo-ing memories of the Palais and a little bit of me died when I heard it was being torn down. Original gig posters and photos from the interiors will serve as a permanent memorial to the place.”

The pub will be extended into a neighbouring industrial unit, with a stretched canvas and fine wire mesh half-covering the glazed pitched roof, with part remaining exposed. An oak bar will be overhung by racked glassware and metal trough lights.

The wooden-clad courtyard – or “cobbled garden” – will be fitted out with booths and stove. It will be overhung with a striped canopy and have a living wall of ferns, palms and moss.

There will be a menu of hand-made pies (pictured) such as steak and ale, steak and kidney, chicken, leek and ham, and spinach, sweet potato and goat’s cheese, in short-crust pastry. They will be served with mushy marrowfat peas and a choice of London liquor or onion gravy, plus the option of buttery mash.

The Hammersmith launch follows the opening of the Draft House at the Birdcage pub in Columbia Road, east London, late last year. The other pubs are in Seething Lane, Tower Bridge Road, Northcote Road, Battersea Bridge Road and Goodge Street.

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