Clerk’s is a relatively new pub, only two months old at the time of writing. It’s gone in where the old Dragon Way Chinese restaurant used to be. There’s plenty of room upstairs as well as a small bar and more seating downstairs. On the décor front it’s modern, following recent trends for so-called “craft” bars with imperfect wood cladding, semi-industrial lighting, and neutral colours giving it all that slightly makeshift, crafty look.
We visited on opening night, so it was pretty busy. They did a good job of stirring up interest on Twitter etc. Time will tell if it can keep that level of interest up, there is strong competition nearby with great beers. I suppose Clerk’s is aiming for punters who think The Cask & Barrel is too much of an old man pub, and The Southern is too expensive.
It’s a Maclay Inns joint, so sister pubs with the likes of Bert’s, The Auld Hundred, Southsider, etc.
I don’t know what their definition of “craft beer” is, but it appears to not include cask beers. Their guest beer board has “cask beer” and “craft beer” (see right).
“Cask Beers”: Bristol Beer Factory Sunrise, Adnams Explorer, Stringers Yellow Lorry. “Craft Beers”: Williams Brothers Caesar Augustus, Magic Rock High Wire, Camden Hells (unfiltered). The rest: Caledonia Best, Guinness, Tennent’s Lager, Heverlee, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Peroni, Clerk’s Lager. The “Clerk’s Lager” was pretty cheap, and the staff member I asked said it was made by Tennent’s.
As you can see on the right, cask beers are sensibly priced, around £3.50 a pint, and “craft” beers are pretty expensive, averaging out at £4.43. Overall average is just under £4, so they escape the pricey tag.
Slow-cooked smoked ribs, chicken and pulled pork are the house specialty, smoked on site. We saw several plates of ribs go past, and they looked big and smelled great. Here we can see another detail copied from the Hanging Bat: ribs are served on school-dinners-esque aluminium trays. I plumped for nachos because they seemed really cheap at under a fiver (I think), but I was a little disappointed, I couldn’t find any beef chilli in there. Perhaps it was an opening night mix-up, but I was too hungry to send them back. I also should have noticed it was under the “small plates” section. They were indeed small, and arrived in a slightly naff plastic basket. The nacho chips were nice, a bit different from usual, light and crispy, fried maybe.
More generally, everything looks to be well priced, mostly in the £5 to £7 range. The smoked stuff is a bit more at £7 to £10 unless you’re hungry enough to order the double ribs at £18.
The downstairs bar is available for hire. Quiz night on Mondays at 8pm.