Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Flea Pit

The Flea Pit is one of my favourite places. It's on Columbia road right next to the little bit of park near where the flower market starts. I'm not sure if it is classed as a bar or a cafe. Anyway it's called the Flea Pit as it has a tiny cinema in the back room. It's normally hired out for private screenings and sometime has musical events. I have never been to any of these events and I've never been in to the back cinema. I've only walked by the doorway on the way to the toilet.

What I love about the Flea Pit is the front bar/cafe. It's nicely decorated with simple white paint and simple furniture and light fittings from the 60's and 70's. It looks expensive but I've been informed by the staff that most of the stuff was bought for bargain prices on eBay about 10 years ago.

The bar tends to be quite calm given the area it's in and you can most of the time get a seat even on a Friday or a Saturday night when the place is at it's busiest.

Now the thing which really makes the Flea Pit a gem and keeps me coming back is the amazing selection of beers. The only thing on tap however is Freedom Organic larger although I have never tried this. The rest of the beers are (the more interesting ones) are bottled.

I've been to the Rake in Borough Market and the Dove in Broadway Market but I feel you get bombarded with a huge choice of bottles which are mostly indistinguishable Belgium beers. What is great about the Flea Pit is the selection although smaller is more concise and the drinks on offer are variations of English brews. This does not however mean they are all brewed in the UK as is evident from a South American porter called Porto. Although a lot of beers stocked are brewed in British micro breweries with some even inside the M25.

A helpful menu guides a good description of what to expect but what even better is just asking the staff what they recommend. I go to the Flea Pit a few times a month and it feels nice that I am remembered and recommended new drinks that the staff think I will like every time I'm in.

Porters and stouts seem to be the drinks that I have been drinking mostly and two drinks in particular have become my favourites.

The Flea Pit also serves proper coffee and has a limited menu of organic food.

First is the Power Station Porter from the Battersea Brewery. It's a very nice mellow Porter which has a subtle depth to the darkness of the flavour. A reassuring drink that's very easy to drink all night. This drink unfortunately hasn't been available for about six months now and I've been informed by the Flea Pit that orders have been placed but the brewery has not supplied them.

Secondly is O Hanlons Port Stout which as the name suggests is a stout enriched with Port. . It's a far more indulgent drink than the Porter and feels more like a treat. It's rich, deep and sweet and feels just like the kind of thing to drink during winter.

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