A couple of years back, you wouldn’t even have got me across the threshold of The Hanging Bat. Until I declared 2012 to be the year of “Learning How to Drink Brown Beer”, I was a fairly staunch eschewer of ales, favouring lighter beers and lagers. However, it was a useful exercise in expanding my palette’s capabilities, and nowadays I quite often sample whatever local brew a pub has on offer, with a reasonable level of appreciation.
The Hanging Bat takes things a bit further, with 20-plus taps, offering a wild array of different options. An average evening involves sampling a range of beers, some of which are interesting, some of which aren’t. It can be a fun way to spend the evening, but you need to be in an adventurous mood.
They smoke lots of stuff on the premises, which gives the place a strong smoky aroma. Their menu showcases these items, with pulled pork, hot dogs, and other smoked meats to the fore.
I was joined on this quest by Iain, who last quested at Viva Mexico, and first-timers Graeme, Laia, Mariana, and Martin. While Mariana and Martin stuck to the beer, Graeme and Laia tried the hot dogs, Iain the pulled pork, and I opted for their smoked pastrami sandwich.
Round the table, the reaction to the food was all quite middling. The elements of both hot dogs were praised, but how those elements came together, particularly in the case of the one featuring haggis, was questioned.
The pulled pork was good, if a little underwhelming, and much the same can be said for my sandwich. The pastrami was intensely smoky, and pleasingly so, but the accompaniments, particularly the bread, were rather ordinary. The food was a nice, commendable idea, but there seemed to be work to do to make things truly satisfying.
So overall, while the notion of home-smoking meat products is one that appeals to me, greatly, the Hanging Bat has a little way to go to make their offerings truly sing. If pulled pork is your thing, you’ll be much better served at Bespoke BBQ, for example.
The Hanging Bat’s range of drinks is impressive, so it’s a venue to bring people, as they’re likely to be impressed by the sheer bonkers scale of things. Time needs to be taken to develop their offering from novelty act to genuine quality, though, but there’s every opportunity for them to do so.
Blythe scores the Hanging Bat
3.5/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3/5 for setting
giving an overall 13/20
Today’s questers were: Laia, Mariana, Iain, Graeme, Martin, Blythe
We ate: haggis dog, tae kwan dog, pulled pork, beef reuben sandwich
We drank: various ales
We wore: real ale beards (3), stylish Saturday evening apparel (3)
Total bill: c.£5/8 for each food item