A river running opposite, trains to the side which sound different to every other British train (the sort of train you hear in New York or Chicago), a big white building, jailhouse windows, bright and bold graffiti across the water, a buzz in the warm air, sparsely industrial, the tanks behind a sandstone wall and through bright windows, a central bar with pizza kitchen behind, wood for seating in many different forms - crates, tree trunks, benches. Tattoos on everyone. Moustaches. Bikes. This isn't London, is it? The wooden boards topped with freshly cooked pizzas, an air filled with charred, sweet dough. The girl opposite drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon, everyone else has the beer brewed here. A Golden Ale, dry and bitter, British in origin yet a hint of American accent comes through, unless that's just the Brooklyn vibe in the air. An IPA, huge hops, tannic citrus, a shot glass sample not enough to know what it's all about. A Lager, so brightly, freshly hoppy I get a Proustian jump to Prague and some bar I don't really remember (the second bottle - because it's too good for just one - is even better). Is this London? Really? It's new London. It's different. It's not the lights of central or the posh west, it's the new east, with the Olympic Park as the backdrop. Imagine waking tomorrow... reads the graffiti. But it's already here. In an amazing place. The Crate Brewery. Brilliant. Unlike anywhere else. And they make beer here. Good beer. And you drink it by the water, with smiling people all around, and pizzas which smell so good you have to order one, as you realise you're in London just after you think you're somewhere else.
(With apologies for a crappy picture - it was dark, my phone isn't a camera, I was in a rush to get back to the bar. Look here for far better images)