As part of design-led apart-hotel group Locke’s latest London offering, Kingsland Locke, Kraft Dalston is a bar set around its own onsite microbrewery and gin distillery. The beer is rooted in German tradition, using century-old recipes and isn’t available anywhere but fresh out of their taps. You can enjoy their pale ale, helles lager and Hopfenweisse at their Elephant & Castle and Mayfair outposts too. The idea is to pair it with dishes from Le Bab, the kebab restaurant that sits on the floor below the bar, serving modern kebabs and mezze with flavourful twists. And you can stay the night in the achingly cool apart-hotel above if it all gets too much.
Set across two floors, the interiors of Kraft Dalston are the work of local studio Red Deer, who used the vibrant colours and scenes of the surrounding Dalston area as inspiration. It’s creative-meets-industrial chic, while rattan meets a sea of square tiles. The gleaming copper stills of the on-site microbrewery add to the aesthetic, as they sit next to the restaurant on the lower ground. Diners can enjoy the evening light from the double height glass ceiling, complete with happy trailing plants and a pink paper whale floating from the rafters. Food is low-fuss, and arrives prettily presented on metal trays – perfect for enjoying with a freshly poured, and pretty exclusive pint. If it is just a tipple you are after, the bar upstairs has counter space as well as tables, and along with beer, serves Jim and Tonic, a sustainable craft gin that is also distilled on-site.
The Kingsland Locke hotel that houses the bar and restaurant is home to 124 signature studio apartments that feature kitchen facilities as well as a big screen TV and sprawling views over the city. The interiors are modern but fun, with a sugary pink carpet running through the communal halls, and vibrant velvet seating within the rooms. If you are in town for business, this is a great spot to call home – you can work, eat and drink all in the same building, while the City is not far away, and the vibrant Dalston is on your doorstep.
Food is provided by Middle Eastern-inspired kebab restaurant, Le Bab. Using fire-cooking paired with fresh, great quality ingredients, they have created a casual kebab menu that has just the right amount of spice to pair perfectly with the flavourings of beer, in a winning Le Bab x Kraft collaboration. The “Fried chicken” shish kebab arrives piled with southern fried crispy chicken skin, red cabbage slaw for added crunch, and topped with fresh coriander and chilli mayo, and is neat enough to pick up and eat with minimal fuss. A paneer kebab is paired with fresh beetroot and coconut puree, pickled cucumber, crispy onions, curry mayo and coriander, with an extra saucepan of sauce for the table. The side of chipotle tahini broccoli is a burst of heat, and becomes an unexpected standout dish, while the garlic butter naan with za’atar is perfect for soaking up any excess beer, should you decide you need to try more than one (this is likely).
Aside from the selection of German Kraft beer, there is a great choice of cocktails. Try the BubbleBee for something sweet – gin, lemon, sugar and prosecco are mixed for a sherbet, pink delight, or there is a menu dedicated to the classic gin and tonic, but all with an inventive twist. The grapefruit gin with orange and juniper berries was a Brummell hit. There is also a comprehensive wine and spirit list available, as well as refreshing mocktail options, juices and homemade lemonades.
Dinner with cocktails and beers for two, around £60. A stay at Kingsland Locke starts at £89 per night
A fantastic spot to drink, dine and drop off a suitcase if you require an overnight city stay, or a quiet but inspired place to work during the day. Booking a beer tour with the very knowledgeable beer sommelier Helen is well worth it, and adds a whole new dimension to ordering a pint or two afterwards.