Back in the early nineties, David Eyre and Mike Belben decided to go food-first when they took over a London pub called The Eagle. This was a completely outside-the-box approach at the time. People frequented British pubs to grab a drink and catch up with friends … certainly not to enjoy a good meal. And so “it was The Eagle - with its vibrant cooking, blackboard menu and mismatched furniture - that spawned the gastropub revolution.” [Henry, D. (2016, January 14). The Eagle, Britain's first gastropub, turns 25. Retrieved from www.telegraph.co.uk]
Today there are thousands of gastropubs all around the world. And while each one boasts its own flavor, most will share these telltale features. Here are five things you should expect to find at a gastropub.
True gastropubs are always evolving. Whether it’s the list of craft beers and cocktails or a seasonally-inspired menu, things are never meant to be set in stone. That’s where the blackboards come in handy! Made to be modified at any given time, blackboards are the perfect way to showcase menus, events, and other newsworthy notifications inside a gastropub.
A Crazy Cool Twist On Classics
One of the most exciting parts about visiting a gastropub is seeing how the chef puts his or her own spin on a classic. “You certainly will be able to get a cheeseburger but it will more than likely include unique cheese, homemade sauce of some sort, and [other] additions” [Audet, M. (2013, May 6). Gastro Pubs Bring Upscale Food to Casual Dining. Retrieved from www.culinaryone.com]
Marrying the expected with the unexpected defines a gastropub’s food and signature cocktail offerings. Now who’s in the mood for a smoked gouda burger with savory slab bacon bites
Fresh and Local
It’s very typical to find seasonal menus at a gastropub. These menus often feature locally sourced fresh ingredients which optimally pair with either the time of year or the location. For example, as all New Englanders know, pumpkin and/or butternut squash must make their debut during the fall. Whether it’s in the form of an autumn-inspired bruschetta or a warm bowl of bisque, these ingredients signify the harvest and seasonal changes to come!
Craft beers from a neighborhood brewery or wines from a nearby vineyard customarily serve as the hidden gems on a gastropub’s drink list. “Many gasto pubs will feature a changing array of craft beers from local sources depending on the season and what happens to be available.” [Audet, M. (2013, May 6). Gastro Pubs Bring Upscale Food to Casual Dining. Retrieved from www.culinaryone.com]
And while the menus can be quite dynamic, the bartender or server will know each offering like the back of their hand. No matter how many times a beer kicks and a new one gets added … or how many specials get introduced … a true testament to an exceptional gastropub is exceptional service.
If you see white linens and wait-staff wearing bow ties … you’ve come to the wrong place! A gastropub exudes warmth, coziness, and a casual vibe. A mix of warm wooden accents and eclectic wall decor (perhaps a bar top made entirely of old CDs) … now that’s what we’re talking about! Forget about being fancy and be prepared to let loose when you visit a gastropub.
Plates For Sharing
The gastropub experience shouts fun and friends! That’s why you’ll probably notice a decent collection of plates made for sharing on the menu. Forget about the old times of suffering menu remorse because you should have tried something different. Sharing plates at a gastropub allow everyone at the table to sample a morsel of goodness. And this doesn’t just stop at food! Many gastropubs offer flights or half pours so you can try out different craft brews, too!
So now you know what to expect, are you ready for your next gastropub adventure?