If you follow me on Twitter you will have seen some photos on my Saturday afternoon in The Dodo Micropub, Hanwell. Oh yes! I was out, on my own (well, with a friend) drinking beer. For shame! Call the soft focus Facebook quote brigade quickly, they need to strip me of some #realmum and #blessed points immediately, or letting mums out on their own might catch on. Of course this would be a whole lot more rebellious if I hadn’t gone out from three till nine (yes; NINE PM, because I needed to be up for the Sunday morning bubbly bath with infinite plastic toys, church and Tesco routine and I get tired easily). But I was almost -just a little bit – rock and roll there.
For Ealing real ale and craft beer fans, The Dodo is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s a micropub in that it is tiny: just one room, with the ‘cellar’ in full view. Not to be confused with a microbrewery, focused on its own produce, The Dodo’s is like a beer Tardis, exploring the beer universe … not only has it six brews on tap from a range of breweries, but a full menu of bottled and canned ales, ciders and craft beers/IPAs. And that’s it. No gimmicks and nothing fancier than a (hand crafted) pork pie or some crisps on the menu (you can bring in food from the famous Golden Chip though, if you are hungry). This is where you go for a quiet drink, a catch up with friends and to appreciate quality drinks.
This weekend it was their first birthday, and I went along with a friend to check it out. It was decorated up, and even had party hats (no, I did not have enough beer to wear one!) although the everyday decor is also great: pared-back, lots of wood and some cushioned seating too, with great art on the walls and lovely touches like some plants and well presented chalk boards.
I’ve always enjoyed beer – and found many women who do, in spite of the reductive stereotype that we are only capable of appreciating cheap prosecco or fruity drinks. My own mum drinks real ales and also appreciates quality wine, so from a young age I was aware that there is far more to life than drinking rubbish to get sozzled. I also became aware that beer isn’t considered ladylike, but I’ve never really cared for that: to be honest it’s the ideal drink for those of us with responsibilities. Real ales tend to have fewer processed ingredients, and being varied in ABV you can select a session ale with delicious flavours (much nicer than a plastic tasting ‘lower alcohol wine’). Although on Saturday, I must admit I was having a selection, and to heck with keeping it at 3% (again, check me almost being a rebel).
The atmosphere over the few hours I was there changed and enabled me to experience the pub at different times of day. Earlier on, a family visited briefly (children are welcome until 7pm) and the kids played with some of the board games. It seems friendly and accessible for those with slightly older kids than mine. Although it has the feel of a local, it’s also inclusive and welcoming. As the evening went on, The Dodo filled up with newcomers, walkers, smartly dressed gents, bearded beer experts and neighbours. In spite of being full to the rafters, our service was really quick (table service and tabs are available) and all the staff were willing to advise and chat about the menu.
So if you’re local to Hanwell, or even slightly further afield, I would recommend this local pub in Hanwell. It’s a small business, community based and a million miles away from the chains and bland beers in some parts of the borough. It’s a perfect place for some ‘me time’ whether you’re a knackered mum or just fancy something a bit different.
What’s your favourite night (or day) out?