One of my favorites for authentic pub experience, is Shakespeare Pub & Grille, located upstairs among the mini collection of restaurants on India and Washington Streets that include Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Middle Eastern and a wine bar and bistro. This very English pub sports dark wood tavern décor, wrapped with windows and simple wood tables. Out on the umbrellaed wood deck, my pub crawling pal and I sat on green plastic patio chairs and noted the dull roar of the I-5. The noise isn’t bothersome–consider it a version of white sound and inside seating can be noisy.
The menu includes shepherd’s pie (a melange of ground beef, vegetables topped with mashed potatoes and cheese), fish and chips (homemade), a few sandwiches, roast beef and bangers and mash (that would be potatoes and peas), among other things, none of which will bust your budget. Tap and bottled beers along with a full bar, make this venue a good hangout on a hot afternoon.
English chips typically are thick, not the skinny, limp wisps we call fries here in the states. At Shakespeare, those chips are long, crisp, thick and fleshy, and a meal at $4.95. Curry sauce can be ordered separately for $1.50 and must be something the English picked up when they owned India. This mildly spicy dipping sauce comes in a bowl and is a nice change from the usual catsup or malt vinegar. Scotch eggs are served hot or cold, and our server said typically they are cold. Now I happen to like cold sausage, but if you don’t, order it warm, as the sausage is wrapped around the hardboiled egg. Branston pickles with the quartered egg and sausage make a good mouthful. My half pint of black and tan (Bass and Guiness) washed it all down quite nicely. 3701 India Street, Lower Mission Hills, 619-299-0230, www.shakespearepub.com.