I've never dreamt of running away with the circus, I always liked my mum too much. But now that i'm all grown up, packing my own lunchboxes with Dairylea Dunkers for work and heading to destinations the likes of Aeronaut, i'm gone I tell you; I doubt that you'll even see me again after this review.
Unassuming venues are the ones that catch you out in London these days: speakeasys embroiled behind fridge doors, cocktail bars disguised as boozers, wardrobes toting hidden taste-trinkets. Slotting in with its other pub chums just across the road, anyone would think Aeronaut to be another frenzy of Fosters and carpeted walls, but it's not. While the main pub interiors smash together in a frenzy of benches, brewery barrels, rich mahogany, entire coats of armour and a booth disguised hot air balloon basket, there's two more spaces that stole the show: An indoor spiegeltent, and a whimsical beer garden that makes strolls across Hampstead Heath look like a half-time joke.
Fairground fun awaits out back as Aeronaut's exterior space confirms that heaven is not a halfpipe, but in fact a boozy garden booth themed around a vintage hook a duck stall. I'm not sure whether it was the supplied blankets, each individual booth decked with its own heater, or the cutesy colour palate of shacks brimming with stripes and trinkets, but Aeronaut's beer garden simply does not mess around.
The Food and Drink
An Angus beef burger at just £7.50 with chunky chips? Ale-battered haddock with lemon-soaked mushy peas that the palms of angels must surely have crushed, for just £11? The Aeronaut is hella affordable. Pub grub that screams with a dash more finesse than most, I recommended that you pair your pint with ploughing. While I opted for a cool carafe of Argentinian red (no large glasses of wine here folks), paired well with my fish thanks to a handy symbol-orientated guide on the menu, their own IPA was given a golden thumbs up by my dining partner: 'smooth, easy to drink, and perfect for craft amateurs'.
I've only the one wee criticism when it comes to liquid lounging at Aeronaut, and that's a beer/ale menu. Priding themselves on their in-house brewery, when I chirpily chased after a menu to gander over their hop based goodies, I was met with a slight hint of confusion. While their ales are perfectly perusable across all pumps, it would be nice to have a menu toting their selection. I'm a lady of lists on the right occasion: and that occasion is a drinking one.
The Atmosphere and Circus Show
Someone once said that there's no business like show business, but in actuality, there's no business like circus show business. Bringing heralded performers to the stage, and right by your plate, Aeronaut really shone on our visit. Whether it was Jackie Le the incredible (and incredibly beautiful) aerialist, making my excuses for a chin-up simply laughable, the hilarity of our ballsy (quite literally, chap's a juggler) compere Jon Udry, or the Hula Hoop hankerings of Emma Louise, the range of entertainment was second to none. Especially when our cutesy booth had us practically sitting on top of the action.
But it didn't stop at the circus, as benches are pushed away and hoards without a circus ticket are let on in, Aeronaut really does transform from showtime applaud to the thumping of dancefloor feet, a rarity in many an Acton pub.
For the sake of all things nightlife, I won't make this summary a synopsis of my new life under the bright 'Dodgems' lights, but that's not to say it won't happen, okay. I've got the glitter to get going. While Acton may be a dally too far for some, ignore your lazy hankerings. Aeronaut is doing something that most pubs in London aren't, merging entertainment and illusion with liquid tinkerings. Sure, you can catch your local washboard band down the boozer, you can nip to the pint pub and save on extortion of London hops, but then you could also do something that you've never done before. And you've never done this before.