When my American mind thinks of a pub, I envision a dark, wood paneled room with a broken jukebox. There is a surly, tattooed, bald man from Ireland wiping down the bar asking if I want a “pont or a Hoff” and a few old men in the corner drinking sticky liquid from sticky glasses. The menu consists of chicken wings and fish and chips.
So how could the Duchess of Cambridge possibly eat here?!
The Pot Kiln Free House
Catherine has been spotted at English pubs for years – most recently dining at the Pot Kiln Pub near Berkshire. Much to my surprise (I blame it on my Americanness!), traditional village English pubs are actually quite reputable places. In fact, they are notably delicious and homey.
When the Duchess of Cambridge needs to feel like Kate, she could go to the local pub in Bucklebury, Anglesey, or maybe even in Norfolk near Amner Hall. With little fuss or press at these unpretentious eateries, Kate can enjoy a favorite classic dish and a quiet evening.
Okay, so what is an English pub for us non-British readers? There are different kinds of pubs – some you go to drink in, and some you pop into for lunch. In most village pubs, you can expect good food in a historical, countryside atmosphere. Pictures of the scenic country, farming and equestrian tools, and mismatched furniture decorate the dining room. Almost anyone – from grandmothers, to Royals, to surly, tattooed Irish men can enjoy the traditional pub setting.
At a good English pub, you can expect five classic menu staples – beer battered fish and chips, a classic pie (think Shepherd’s or Chicken Pot Pie), a good range of sandwiches, a Ploughman’s lunch, and a Sunday roast. Don’t expect bar foods, like hot wings or nachos. Instead look for very British fare, like the Scotch eggs Kate and Pippa enjoyed at the Pot Kiln.
Don’t expect fancy cocktails either (no Cosmos or Crack Babies!). The menu will usually stick to wine, beer, whiskey and cider, although some establishments will have a larger spirits menu. Try local or craft beers, which many pubs will provide, or stick to white wine, which Kate has been known to prefer. Snuggle up to the fireplace (which is a must in any decent pub) and enjoy the food, drink, and company!
Many pubs are locally owned and family run, sometimes passing the keys and recipes down through the generations. These aren’t just restaurants – they’re a passion, a time-honored tradition, and an English pastime.
Next time you’re looking for an English pub, try these lovely establishments approved by the Duchess of Cambridge herself!
The Pot Kiln Free House in Frilsham
Fort Saint George in Cambridge
The Old Boot Inn in Bucklebury
The White Eagle in Anglesey
Ma Bells in St. Andrews