Within London’s beer-geek community, rumours of a possible new craft beer bar in Clerkenwell are circulating. Details are scarce, but interest has been piqued by a premises licence application in the name of ‘Mikkeller Brewdog Limited’ for the premises at 54 Farringdon Road (next to the Betsey Trotwood pub).
New licensed premises open in this area on a regular basis, so this licence application would not normally attract much attention, if it were not for the names of the applicant. For the uninitiated, the first part of the company name, Mikkeller, appears to refer to a prolific Danish craft microbrewery, founded by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø – the closest thing to royalty within the international craft beer scene. The second part, BrewDog, is the name of a notable Scottish craft brewery, known for releasing characterful beers to the accompaniment of attention-seeking, controversy-courting publicity campaigns. BrewDog have already opened bars under their own brand in Camden and Shoreditch (the latter taking over what used to be Mason & Taylor), which often tend to serve Mikkeller beers (alongside their own brews, naturally).
While craft beer aficionados might be keen to see these breweries opening a bar in Clerkenwell, other drinking establishments might not be too thrilled by the prospect. The adjacent Betsey Trotwood can’t be eager to see another drinking hole opening up right next door (although it could certainly be argued that they target a very different part of the beer-drinking market), and the nearby Craft Beer Co, which currently serves a number of Mikkeller beers itself, might also be reticent about the proximity of such competition for what must be more-or-less the same customer base.
However, despite the licence applicant’s apparent intentions, this is definitely not a done deal. The application process is still ongoing, and it’s quite possible that objections may be raised – in fact local councillors have raised a number of (somewhat alarmist) concerns, indicating that they will be opposing the licence application.
If the plans go ahead, we’ll be sure to pay a visit. If not, well, there are still plenty of other places in the area that serve good beer.