Bower’s Tap is the new name for the refurbished Hourglass pub. It’s still the same owners (the ubiquitous Stonegate) but the change is so dramatic it deserves a whole new review to itself.
Here’s a pub that is trying to be all things to all people and somehow managing to pull it off. It chalks up almost all of our tags for amenities – everything from an extremely extensive breakfast menu (eggs rarebit or chorizo hash, anyone?) to live sports.
Beer-wise they’re not letting you down either: there are 7 guest craft kegs (plus BrewDog and Camden in their ‘regular’ keg selection) and 6 casks. Lots of interesting local craft beers to choose from and all quite reasonably priced. There’s also a small bottle selection which includes a lot of American beers (including breweries we’d not seen before like Crazy Mountain and The Bears), plus things like Einstök which are always a welcome sight. There’s also a craft keg cider for people into that.
The décor is trying to be a hip craft bar: tiles and wooden crates everywhere, massive artworks painted directly onto the walls, that sort of thing. It kind of works but at the same time it’s obvious you’re in a big-money chain pub. There’s another bar upstairs called “T’other bar” which we didn’t check out but we expect more of the same.
All in all, Bower’s Tap was a really welcome improvement over its predecessor, and over any other Stonegate pub in town. It’s definitely a wealthy pretender trying to be down with the kids, but here’s the thing: it kinda is.