Is there a Brit-pub brouhaha brewing in Santa
Rosa? Just months after Toad in the Hole opened its
doors in Railroad Square;
Stout Brothers Pub has finally opened on Fourth Street with a similar fish and chips,
bangers and Guinness focus.
But that’s about where the similarities end. Stout Bros. owners have
transformed the former Anatolia space into a
cozy faux-tiqued public house with a decidedly Irish bent. The spot is a maze of cozy nooks and crannies,
tweedy knick-knacks and a snug upstairs balcony perfect for tucking into a
pint–or six. A large wooden bar
dominates the downstairs, just waiting to be scarred and marred by whisky shot
glasses and rings of stout.
Sure the whole thing is a little predictable. But since the demise of the Old
Vic, Santa Rosa
has been crying out for a clubby, old school spot where ‘Danny Boy’ belts out
over the sound system, rather than an endless loop of down-tempo electronica.
I’m over Zen and apple-tinis. Bring on the whiskey-fueled Riverdancing.
The pub is launching its kitchen with a limited menu. Classics like corned
beef sandwiches, shepherd’s pie, potato leek soup, burgers, bangers and mash are well-represented and well priced at under $8 for lunch. But you’re here for the fish and chips Already, they’ve got my vote for some of the
best in the county. And you know that’s a tall order.
Despite some kitchen-timing issues that need to be worked
out the batter-dipped fish was piping hot, crispy, flakey, and ever so slightly
sweet. The tartar sauce wrapped the whole thing up with a bow–tangy, garlicky
and creamy–along with a dribble of vinegar. Mushy fries still need work, as
does the absolutely tasteless coleslaw. My
Irish onion soup never arrived and the sticky toffee pudding I had my heart set
on wasn’t available. Apologetic staff promise that these mishaps will be ironed
out soon. The sooner the better. This wild Irish rose is hungry for more. Failte!
Stout Brothers Irish Pub and Restaurant, 527 Fourth St., Santa Rosa