How do you gentrify a pub without upsetting the old regulars?
Simple: introduce all the things middle-class people like, but do it badly enough to ensure those pesky beardy bastards stay well away.
First, the beer. When I dropped in on a Friday evening there was just one non-mass-market option on tap – from Peckham Rye’s Brick Brewery – and just one of the five cask ale pumps was in use.
Cocktails are all £8.50 (hastily marked down from £10 by biro on the needlessly smart printed menus), and lean heavily on crushed ice and sugary mixers. Only during the oddly generous happy hour (5pm-8pm daily) can they be considered decent value.
There are mixed messages in the decor, too – some vintage booze ephemera here, a giant plasma screen there. It’s all symptomatic of a pub that’s eager to please everyone, but ultimately The Copper Tap at the Old Red Cow (as it officially insists on calling itself) simply comes across as half-arsed.