Posh (Gastro) Pubs: Drink, Eat and Get Lucky
|What happens when you take an old tavern concept, insert a gourmet chef, and enhance the atmosphere for diners? These days chances are you’ll get the “Gastropub.” Still cozy and convivial, where one can find the widest variety of brews on tap, this new kind of pub promises to be so much more than the usual Irish watering hole.
The pub’s reinvention, which includes a swankier and often industrial style setting plus fare to please foodies, comes with a new allure that’s attracting a different type of customer. Fortunately what’s remained untarnished is the sense of belonging and energy one experiences the minute you walk through the doors.
You don’t need to go far to see and taste the craze for yourself and though they are not all Irish we decided to cover some of the nation’s best in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t hesitate to venture in if you’re by yourself – keep your fingers crossed and you may find yourself rubbing more than shoulders next to someone else at the bar. Just consider it the luck of the Irish!
1. The Breslin Bar: Step in to The Ace Hotel in New York City and the place, which looks like an unrefined train depot from Britain’s 1950’s, is bustling with full-time (freelance) twitterers. Turn left and you will have entered The Breslin Bar, the younger sister to April Bloomfield’s Spotted Pig, where the menu is anything but bland. Fried head cheese with sauce gribiche and warm smoked salmon with bacon, chives and garlic butter sauce are among the appetizers, a not so traditional cabbage and bacon is a favorite side-dish. For the bravehearted, stuffed pig’s foot is always an option.
2. Gratify American Gastropub: Just two weeks ago, this West Palm Beach, Florida restaurant opened its doors overlooking the water. Chef Scott Helm’s menu offers regional comfort foods like shrimp and grits plus a large selection of small plates dishes which are ideal for sharing, happy hour splurges or impromptu casual dinners.
3. In Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub has made the grade as a 2010 James Beard Award nominee. Though the menu changes daily, sustainably grown produce, wild game, seafood and meats that turn into Asian-inspired dishes (Miso Charred White Tuna Roll and Beef and Mushroom Potstickers) are consistently delicious. But competition is lurking -- in several weeks, another local chef and Single Edition friend, Chef Torie Miller of L’Etoile restaurant will be opening Graze Gastropub in the US Bank building, so be sure to stay tuned!
4. Thanks to a nod in Food & Wine Magazine, Seattle’s Spur Gastropub has become one of Belltown’s must-eat hot spots. The food may be whimsical but the setting screams early America – they even play silent Western flicks to highlight the Western theme.
5. Haven Gastropub: What could be better than homemade potato chips doused in beer and topped with fresh herbs and garlic aioli? Just about everything else they serve-up at Haven Gastropub especially the to-die-for brussel sprouts and mac-n-cheese which are both a bacon lover’s dream. Since its opening five months ago the place is packed regularly.