It’s also home to the social phenomenon of the hipster which only appears to have spread outwards in a rather half-hearted fashion. This seems to be bound up with the direction that the London beer scene has taken. I get the impression that craft keg ales and lagers have become much more widely available there than anywhere else. The craft beer bar, or the minimalist makeover of an old pub, has become an essential centrepiece for the up-and-coming trendy neighbourhood. Many of the London microbreweries seem to intent on developing a cutting-edge image rather than brewing a a range of conventional, accessible beers. This has given rise to the phenomenon of “London murky” which really is very specific to the capital. And the sky-high property prices make it attractive to convert even thriving pubs for residential use, which is something you just don’t see here. All the pubs local to me that have been turned into something else have either been obviously struggling or already closed.
It’s sometimes said that, where London leads, the rest of the country eventually follows but, in wider terms spreading well beyond the world of beer, I get the feeling that the two are increasingly heading in different directions.