Sometimes, you don’t want a meal. Sometimes you just want to hang out with friends, good drinks, and some appetizers. The Pub at Rookwood Mews, owned by the same group that owns deSha’s and Nicholson’s, is a great spot for just hanging out and munching on British-inspired appetizers. The bar, furniture, and decorations were all shipped over from England– and you can tell. It feels like a pub that could be on any corner on the other side of the pond.
The most impressive thing about The Pub, to me, is their beer list– it is extensive, and a lot of it is on tap. The list includes American craft beers, English and Irish brews and even some Belgian choices– a very well rounded beer list. Plus, they have Strongbow (my favorite). Their cocktails are also a lot of fun– it’s the only place in town you can get a Pimm’s #1 cup (introduced to me by Jackie), one of those classic cocktails that you don’t see on menus very often, but is so good that you realize why it’s a classic– just perfect. In case you’re wondering, a Pimm’s cup is Pimm’s (a gin-based spirit), lemonade, club soda and garnished with cucumber. It is refreshing, but a little different than a gin and tonic. It and the Negroni are my two new favorite cocktails.
Onto the food– please don’t think you’ll find anything healthy here. You won’t. The majority of the menu is fried– and I’m okay with this. It’s bar food, plain and simple, and they do their bar food very well. We started off with the pub crisps– cheese, bacon, scallions, and HP Barbecue sauce. I LOVE HP sauce, and have since a friend introduced me to the HP and bacon sandwich (served on white toast). It’s apparently classically British, and I love it. It’s like a thicker, better tasting steak sauce than, say, A1. The barbecue sauce is pretty tasty, too. My only complaint is that there isn’t a ton of cheese– still, they’re pretty tasty, and I’m a sucker for fresh-cooked chips (or, really, crisps!).
We hadn’t eaten quite enough fried food (and we decided not to head to another restaurant for dinner), so we drank a little more and ordered their sampler platter. It includes chicken fingers with honey mustard and HP barbecue sauce (average, but not bad), tempura-style shrimp with a sweet, spicy marmalade (very good and crisp) and calamari steaks with a curry-based sauce (some of the best calamari I’ve had, moist, meaty and delicious– not rubbery at all.
This is such a great “neighborhood” bar– but just a tad upscale, more gastropub than hole-in-the-wall. While we were there, there was also a birthday party and a bachelorette party going on, and I think this would be a great place to host such an event. The crowd is diverse– XU students watching basketball to women out for girls’ night, to couples having drinks or meals. The bar staff makes everyone feel at home, and there’s something on the menu for just about anybody. Now, if only they’d show proper football and cricket, it would be an ideal British experience!