Yes, it was stupid.
Earlier in the week a friend from work suggested this place, told me he had a great sandwich there. I'd not heard of it, but he said it used to be something else. I suggested it to the family, they looked at the web site and said sure.
That was earlier in the week. Before we knew what that would mean.
We've been to many 'sports' bars/pubs and that is normally not a problem. This time it was, and I didn't realize it until we'd found a parking space and realized the place was crowded. "Must be popular." someone said. As we approached the door it dawned on me.
Who doesn't love to meet up with a bunch of happy, excited friends at a big sports bar to drink and cheer for the local professional baseball team, sweeping its way through the post-season? Loud, frequent hooping and hollering, beer, lots of beer, high fives, and the roar of the twenty-odd TV's all cranked up to max volume.
Me, that's who doesn't love it.
We arrived just as the TV showed that the Cardinals were ahead of the Dodgers by one touchdown in the bottom of the seventh quarter, or whatever the correct sports-related numbers are.
Sure, I like it when the Cardinals win in the post season, everybody at work seems to be in a better mood.
Anyone who knows me at all though knows that I do not like crowds, noise, and can just barely work up a tepid interest in sports of any kind. I realize I'm in a minority about most of those things. I tend to try to avoid all of them.
But we were screwed.
Sure enough the place was packed, a lot of drinking had occurred before we even got there, and the noise, from the crowd and the TV's was deafening. We also had a twenty minute wait for 'first available' seating.
Big, dark, loud, smokey. I didn't pay much attention to the decor, except for the vast number of enormous flat screens on the wall. Edge to edge, surrounding all the separate areas. In the area we were finally seated in I stopped counting after fifteen TV's.
We were seated side by side at a sort of center bar, doubling as a room-divider. In front of us, in fact in front of everyone, no matter where they sat, the Cardinals played at their best.
Nate showed up and asked for our drink orders.
I, of course, ordered tea. Angel and Adam chose Pepsi products. Everyone else around us had beer, lots of beer, buckets of ice holding bottles of beer. I could barely hear Nate, he didn't seem to be struggling with the din at all.
When he returned with our drinks we'd had plenty of time to scan the menu. Angel asked for the wings as an appetizer, I didn't mind, but didn't care either. I don't usually like hot wings at sports bars.
I knew it was risky, but since this was an Irish (U.K.) themed sports bar, a 'pub' no less, I ordered the fish and chips.
Angel changed her mind a dozen times, decided she wasn't real hungry so she ordered the Beer Cheese Soup and a Cob Salad. Adam went for the Sourdough Burger.
Nate hustled off and we were left watching the ballgame again. It was too loud to conversate, so we just watched. It was down to the last few innings, a heavy pitching battle in a one point game.
I don't recall how long things took to get to the table, the noise was distorting time and space. The wings arrived, I touched one and licked my finger. The taste was pretty good until the heat kicked in. I was satisfied. The wings weren't exactly flamethrowers, but there was definitely enough heat that I knew my delicate system would violently reject any sizable portion.
Adam and Angel went about them merrily though.
Her soup arrived pretty soon. A small bowl of thick, cheesy, bacon-sprinkled, creamy soup. There were also two tater tots in it. Yeah, tater tots.
I tasted it, thought it was pretty good. Angel agreed and lapped it down pretty quickly.
Soon enough, the main courses arrived.
My plate had more stuff on it that I really wanted to eat, but it was a standard order. The chips were actually house-made potato chips, which indicated that this place might not be aware that 'chips' in the U.K. are actually fries. The Brits refer to what we call potato chips as crisps. The British, and since they were conquered several times by them, the Irish as well, have really butchered up the English language. Anyway, when I want fish and chips I want fries.
|Fish and 'Crisps.'|
The chips were crunchy, but since I'd geared up for fries, I didn't eat very many of them. The applesauce was sweet and fresh, but I am no expert. I'm pretty sure the last time I had applesauce was out of a baby food jar while feeding a baby, back in the 70's or 80's. So I tasted the applesauce and pushed it aside. I never did figure out the point of the bread.
|Yeah, that's a 'salad'|
Her salad was enormous. Lots of salad toppings, ham, peppers, eggs, tomatoes, other meats, and a relatively tiny portion of lettuce. She did get a soft pretzel stick with it though, and it was pretty good.
The Cardinals finally struck out the last Dodger, the crowd went wild, and the pub decided to pump up the volume on their sound system even more. A waitress cam up to us and said that since the Cardinals had won they were offering something for three dollars, I couldn't hear what it was. At this point though it might have been a Ferrari and I would have still turned it down. I was starting to suffer long-term calm-damage from the incessant onslaught of noise. I just wanted to leave.
I finished my fish, about ten chips and three or four fork-fulls of the slaw, I was done. I couldn't tell if I was still hungry or not, my brain was too obsessed with finding and utilizing an exit.
We paid up and left as quickly as we could. Nate did a splendid job considering the war zone we were in. The tab came in at fifty two bucks and change. Not too bad considering it covered three meals and an appetizer. Too bad the food wasn't all that great. The tea was pretty good; clear, fresh, an easy +3.
The food wasn't bad, but as we got into the SUV and chatted about it, even though my ears were ringing and a headache had kicked in, we all pretty much said the same thing. Adam's burger was plain. Not tasty, more like cooked ground beef with out any further effort.
The cob salad was huge, and since nothing had recipes or ingredients, it was just piles of stuff and the only thing Angel could say was that there sure wasn't much salad (lettuce) in her salad.
I usually don't order Fish and Chips in places that don't boast about their Fish and Chips. this night's meal was exactly why. It just wasn't up to my understanding of the dish and expectations for it.
So maybe we all ordered incorrectly. Maybe we could go back and try something else.... nah, we won't be doing that. None of us were really happy with what we had, the place was waaaaay too loud, so why would we want to go back?
If you like loud, smokey, really busy place that makes mediocre, almost bland food, this is a place for you to try. It was really busy, really loud, really smokey. . . Everyone but us seemed to be having a great time, but we just couldn't wait to get out of there.