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The oddball of Little Italy

Princess Pub & Grill
1665 India St. (Little Italy)
619-702-3021
Happy Hour: 4 to 7 p.m., daily

By Dr. Ink

Long before the gentrification of Little Italy there came a British pub that blended politely into the landscape of Italian bakeries and pasta kitchens. Now, 40 years later and without fuss, Princess Pub & Grille remains a cherished landmark to those seeking Guinness over Chianti or bangers over meatballs.

Located prominently at the corner of India and Date streets, the slightly dark, slightly gritty space has also become home to trivia contests on Wednesday nights and European soccer broadcasts when the season starts in August.

Half-price fish goujons and a pint of Boddingtons (Photos by Dr. Ink)

Half-price fish goujons and a pint of Boddingtons (Photos by Dr. Ink)

Daily happy hour is also a main event for anyone looking to save a few bucks on pints and appetizers. Sunny, warm days are the best, as they allow you to loll on the wrap-around patio while gazing out to nearby residents walking their condo-confined dogs. You’re basically smack center in the neighborhood’s vibrant, modern-day bustle.

The drink specials put wells at $4, although the $5 draft beers seem more alluring when stepping into this British zone. The discounted pints apply to the entire tap selection, including Bass English Ale, Old Speckled Hen, Harp Irish Lager and more. In sticking to pub tradition, the brews are served in their designated, labeled glasses, although American non-etiquette becomes evident when those Coors Light coasters appear under your glass.

I thirsted for Boddingtons Pub Ale, dispensed deftly with just the right amount of creamy, nitro foam hovering over the straw-colored liquid. As always, I enjoyed its heaviness and mild carbonation. Conversely, the canned versions I’ve had elsewhere simply don’t compare. They completely lose their British accent, leaving you to wonder if you were accidentally sold Corona.

Appetizers during happy hour are half-price, which means nothing costs more $6. The selection features potato skins, garlic mushrooms, nachos and spicy wings. Nothing too British, except for the fish goujons involving five long pieces of battered cod served with tartar sauce and lemon. It’s basically fish and chips (san the fries) stacked vertically, and with a sneaky hint of Cajun pepper in the batter.

Visiting solo with the goujons all to myself, and a couple of Boddingtons later, I came away fully sated for less than $15, thus aborting my plan to bring home pizza from a restaurant down the street.

 

RATINGS:

Drinks: 4
The bar features on tap about a dozen beers of British, Irish and Belgian origins, along with a few American labels. They’re dispensed carefully into designated glasses and without excessive foam.

Food: 4
The battered fish goujons are delicious and plentiful. Made with cod, they’ll suit your craving for fish and chips, provided you can do without the fries.

Value: 4
Various half-price appetizers ring in at under $6 in most cases while pints of beer cost only $5, a rather significant savings compared to other establishments that sometimes charge more than $8 for brews such as Guinness and Boddingtons.

Service: 3
Bar service was slow, but the waitresses tending to the outdoor patio were fast and accommodating.

Duration: 5
The deals are available daily, offered just the way we like it within the balance of late afternoon and early evening.

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