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Friday, July 1, 2011

San Francisco's Top Five British Pubs

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 1:10 PM

click to enlarge Darts and old British stuff at the Pig and Whistle
  • Darts and old British stuff at the Pig and Whistle

Let's face it, San Francisco: We wish we had lost the Revolutionary War.

Hurray, we have the Tea Party! Wouldn't you really rather be in the EU? Then, when Oklahoma and Kansas and Alabama get together to elect President Bachmann, we could all move to the Languedoc or the Algarve or even Lithuania -- anywhere, really -- without needing a visa.

So while everybody else is out celebrating Independence Day -- a typically crappy non-British movie; did Will Smith really deal with an alien invasion using only his fists? -- a certain cranky crowd will seek refuge in the cool, musty, environs of a pub that serves room-temperature beer and knows what bubble and squeak is.

Here are the five best places to regret George Washington's leadership.

The Pig and Whistle (2801 Geary, San Francisco): People like the bangers and mash, though the beers on tap are very Star Spangled. Bonus points because it has a dart team and a cricket team. Best nights: Wednesdays and Sundays at 8:30 for the pub quiz.

White Horse Tavern and Restaurant (635 Sutter, San Francisco): Free hot dogs and popcorn! You do get what you pay for, but there's a reasonable selection of single malts and a nice cozy ambience.

Mad Dog in the Fog (530 Haight, San Francisco): The recent remodel is controversial; it's less of a dive, which is a mixed blessing. One of the best places in the city to watch important football fixtures, though while it has pub food, it may be better to drink your breakfast.

The Pelican Inn (10 Pacific Way, Muir Beach): We're cheating on this one, because it's in Marin County, but it might be the nicest of the bunch. Gracious and homely, this hotel and pub will warm you on your way home from Stinson Beach. It does all the hits: shepherd's pie, bangers and mash, fish and chips, and if you give 48 hours notice, you can enjoy a royal afternoon tea for $28 a person. But who plans 48 hours ahead for tea? Oh, right, the English!

Edinburgh Castle Pub (950 Geary at Polk, San Francisco): Don't get your knickers in a bunch, Scotsmen, we said "British pubs," not "English." The Castle is enormous (which castles aren't?) and capable of hosting pub quiz in one section while drunks after work dance with varying competence in another. Fish and chips with a pint costs $10 from 6 to 9 p.m. daily.

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W. Blake Gray


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