Opening its doors in October 2018, The Black Dog Beer House represented the dreams and passions of Pete, Ash and James, all of whom travelled the globe to set up shop in the contested county town of Brentford, Middlesex.
Pete and Ash had spent 9 years running craft pubs for other people and Pete’s brother, James, had travelled the world delighting punters with his wonderfully eclectic cuisine. This was always going to be a recipe for success.
Despite its tender age, The Black Dog Beer House has made an impressive impact. A quick look at the traditionally caustic pages of TripAdvisor reveals a series of fans waxing lyrical about this self-styled ‘boozer’. ‘Fantastic addition to the West London beer scene’ says one happy punter, ‘Ridiculously good pub’ says another, ‘Brentford’s best pub’ adds a further devotee; the complements go on.
Browsing the offer, it’s not hard to see why The Black Dog Beer House has become so popular so quickly. With 14 keg lines, 5 real ales, 5 real ciders and over 50 bottled beverages one will not be short of choice. Then there’s the menu. James calls this simple food done well. That’s just Antipodean modesty (?!). Try grilled Angus ribeye, chimichurri, roasted sweet potato, grilled broccolini and fries on for size. Or maybe twice cooked pork belly, yellow bean gravy noodles, pickled shiitake and chili jam. Even the vegan options sound awesome, rice & wakame stuffed cabbage roll, miso roasted king oyster mushrooms and tofu, avocado, cucumber & ponzu dressing anyone?
And then there’s the pub itself. Pete insists it’s a traditional boozer. If this is true, maybe we should all spend a little more time in Australia. To be honest, the outside is a typically London affair with stained glass and flashes of exposed brick between the rendered pillars. Step inside and you’re welcomed into a well-appointed cultural mixing pot featuring more exposed brickwork and fixings reminiscent of the capital’s industrial past, flashes of Australian heritage and a large dose of the team’s individual personalities. There’s even a turntable playing vinyl from Pete’s extensive collection. This is cool.
So exactly how did the stars align to create this wonderful watering hole?
“The Black Dog, or The Albany Arms as it was then, had been on our radar for a good three years before we took control,” says Pete, “Ash and I had been running craft beers for 9 years for other people, so we had a good idea of what we wanted to create.
“It’s surprising how difficult it is to find a truly free of tie pub, unless you want to take on a freehold of course. That wasn’t an option for us, so Wellington’s model suited us perfectly.
“We spent a long time on the business plan, we knew we wanted to create a destination pub attracting people from further afield as well as locals, and with our experience we knew we could do that. The Wellington Pub Company reviewed our business plan and basically let us get on with doing what we do best.
“We had complete freedom to create our pub. We decide what drinks we stock, what food we serve and what environment we create. That’s essential for us, when you believe in a concept you really don’t want someone else diluting it.
“It took us a couple of months of solid labor to get the pub the way we wanted it and we’re really happy with the results. We’ve even set up our own on-site microbrewery, Fearless Nomad, and our first beer is due soon.
“Wellington have been great to work with and we will no doubt work with them again when we’re in a position to expand.”