Thursday, 23 February 2012

Tap East, a retail experience that is forever craft

Steve Wonder’s Superstition plays, the jerky, almost epileptic, seemingly out of control electronic riff snapped back into place by the tight rhythmic embrace in the background. An apt track as Tap East, which is where the music plays and I sit, is equally funky, a well-embedded corner of the humongous mall life of Westfield Stratford, a part of the British retail experience that is forever craft. Recycled wood, painted in a colour scheme reminiscent of a line up of beach huts in Southwold, forms part of the decor, while 10 taps dispense beers such as Grolsch, Arrogant Bastard and something from Magic Rock; three of the six handpumps are devoted to the beers brewed in the space that I can see through to the right of the bar — burnished copper vessels that look like vessels designed for exploring oceanic deeps. John Edwin Bitter is a traditional English bitter, as upright as a Guardsman, while the 5.2% stout is an appetising amalgamation of roast, char and cream. And while I drink, the people come and go through the entrance next to Tap East, eager to explore this mall with the sensibility of Waitrose (I didn’t see a single KFC), and in the outlet across the way a pregnant woman looks for the ethical life (called As Nature Intended so I suspect it’s the ethical life for her, hey diddly dee). Tap East is not a pub or a bar in the sense of somewhere that has locals but it’s still a place I would suggest you visit even if shopping isn’t your god. If coffee and food can have their craft presence in a place like Westfield, then why not beer? And as I leave Bigmouth Strikes Again starts up — am I being told something?


  1. Steve Wonder? Is he Steve to his mates, then..?

  2. Us aficionados have always been casual with our mode of address, he’s also Ste and Stephen, I mean don’t you ever call the erudite one Stevie Fry? I do.