The Pub is based within International Mall’s outside area, surrounded by plenty of shops, kiosks, and other restaurants. There’s a sizable, beautifully hand made bar filled with the usual flammables plus a bevy of unusual choices you may want to peruse. The booths, furniture, and decorations were all hand selected and imported from Britain by the owner in his quest to recreate the true British pub experience. Plaid skirts and kilts predominate the uniforms for a bit more British Isles feel – and better tips. Hey, if they’re experiencing a draft while getting you a draft, ya best tip ’em good! Not everyone can pull off those outfits! (And yes, they got to pick them out themselves.) Customers that bring in their military IDs get 25% off their food. On Wednesdays, The Pub offers half price select bottles of wine. And if you like the pub and plan on going back often, check out their Mug Club.
Laura and I went during their happy hour, where they have various drink specials and some of the appetizers are only $3.95. Being who we are, we focused on the appetizers and split the fish n’ chips. We started with the pretzel sticks, which were served with two dipping sauces, one a piquant stone ground yellow mustard, the other a nose burning horseradish honey mustard. The salted pretzels were super soft, just this side of cooked, and the “skin” on them was actually still moist from the butter. I was convinced they were going to be Laura’s favorite part of the meal as she simply loves pretzel anything. Then she tried the other appetizer.
What could be so good as to top those delicious pretzel sticks? The Pub’s fried onion rings and mushrooms! The breading wasn’t too thin, but it wasn’t overwhelming, either. Beer battered and deep fried, the onions lose their bite and turn into a softer, gentler bulb. This version was no different, but the taste and quality of the batter, when mixed with their two dipping sauces (a spicy dill sauce and another horseradish sauce, albeit much milder than the pretzel’s version) and that fried onion, led to their ultimate demise: us. We nommed those things down so fast they had no chance to get even slightly cold. The earthy mushrooms shared the same batter treatment and were quite juicy inside. The fungus was humongous +20 (seriously, they dwarfed the sauce cups!) The fried mushrooms, too, matched incredibly well with the dipping sauces and we munched our way through them in record time.
Then it was time for main event: our fish n’ chips. These, too, had that same beer batter, but the haddock inside kept it from getting monotonous. The piece of fish monopolized the entire plate and it was thick. Like the rest of the meal, our fish came out piping hot. Haddock isn’t an overly fishy fish, and it lends itself to being fried quite well, with a strong enough flavor to be tasted over the batter, but not so strong that you’d need to down an entire pack of tic tacs afterwards. It was flaky and moist, and the lemon wedge on top gave it a touch of acid (should you choose to use it.) The tartar sauce, with sweet relish and fresh dill, was a good match for the fish. The “chips” were just your stereotypical fries instead of wedges with oil and vinegar, but they were very well seasoned with salt and pepper and all the tastier for it. A light, runny mayonnaise-based coleslaw brightened things up with its sweetness and fresh cabbage. All in all, an excellent plate!
The Pub can be a great place to grab a pint or some grub. The food is great, the servers are friendly, the atmosphere is fun. It’s a boisterous place, full of laughter, cheers, music, and, on Monday nights starting at 7:30, a pub quiz. Who doesn’t love a pub quiz? (True, Laura and I combined get about 5% of all the answers right, but it’s still loads of fun!) Just no googling; don’t be one of those people. Be one of the people who has delicious food in their bellies and is too happy to cheat. And maybe a pint. Yes, you should probably get a pint.
The Pub (International Mall)
2223 N. West Shore Blvd
Tampa, FL 33607