By Waylon Fairbanks
George Orwell once wrote of a bar called Moon under Water. It was ideal in every way; of course, it was fictitious. At the bar, “drunks and rowdies never seem to find their way there” and the clientele of regulars “go there for conversation as much as for the beer.”
While Brewfellas may not have a fire burning or liver-sausage sandwiches, if any bar in Nicosia fits Orwell’s bill, it is Brewfellas.
Adjacent to Ledra Street and only a stone’s throw from the Green Line, Brewfellas begins to bustle after sunset when people fill up the seven or so tables outside. Unlike your typical bar in Cyprus, there is no television, no deafening house music and everyone seems to be drinking dark ale out of a cognac glass.
As you enter the rust-red door, a few guys you saw the last time you visited sit at the bar talking with the owner or one of the bartenders. The glasses rarely leave their hands and are often swirled and smelled before drunk. It is a wine tasting without pretension, and nobody ever spits out the beverage.
1960s rockabilly and surf music play lightly through the room and the large brick wall behind the wooden counter displays a limited but impressive collection of fine whiskies and bourbons. Opposite the counter is a glass case displaying the available beer. The only KEO you will find at Brewfellas is a vintage, beaten up advertisement on the wall.
The company is good and the dim lighting provides atmosphere, but Brewfellas is ultimately about the beer. The beer selection is a novelty in a country with one too many Carlsbergs.
Brewfellas may only offer one Cypriot beer (Prime Microbrewery), but home brewers regularly show up to taste the new arrivals and discuss their merits.
Jim, the owner, tracks down a notable variety of beers from around the world – India Pale Ale from Oregon, Tripel from Bruges, Hefeweizen from Bavaria and porter from Scotland, among many others. Though beer aficionados may know exactly what they want, the majority of drinkers simply indicate their mood, or whether something “smoky” or “citrusy” will do the trick. The bartender turns the description into a bottle of beer.
While a bar is not difficult to find in Nicosia, a good one is. For a laidback night out, Brewfellas always works – alone or with company, ale or lager, outside or at the counter. One of the glasses contains the quote, “good people drink good beer.” And Brewfellas provides it.
Where: Pygmalionos 7, Nicosia
Contact: 22 264007