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The Pub, Rocky River, Ohio – A new favorite place

On June 15, 2008

I’m always looking for pubs, restaurants, bars, people’s houses – whatever you will – with steel tip darts but my new favorite place for watching football (when you watch soccer in a restaurant with a British flag on the front door, it’s football) and playing darts totally snuck up on me.  I had asked the concierge at a Cleveland hotel for the best scenic drive to Sandusky and she had guided me toward Rocky River Road.  With Friday afternoon traffic to wade through The Pub almost slipped by us.  We actually had to circle back and hunt for what we thought we saw but, boy howdy, are we glad we did.  Now no matter where I’m travelling in the area, I find a reason to drop by, have an ale and beat my friend in darts.

The back entrance to The Pub in the parking lot to the
left of the bank with which it shares its building –

here’s the front entrance you need to watch for when driving down the street.

There is so much to love about The Pub.  First, the parent company has done a wonderful job of preserving the facade from the theatre which used to make its home here.

Second, in a time when so many places are taking their steel tip dart boards out, The Pub has taken a chance on having steel tip boards.  Not only have they actually put the boards up but they have given them the appropriate amount of room which means losing space for at least two four top tables.

Third, The Pub has somewhat of an authentic British public house feel.  It is separated into several “rooms” like you might find in real pub and the pub grub it serves is reasonably in line with what you might find in a pub as well.  I haven’t made my mind up yet whether outfitting the servers in modified kilts is a good idea but with so much that is just right about this place, the clothing isn’t a deal breaker.

Fourth, they serve Lambic Belgian Beer – a deliciously fruity ale – in both apple and raspberry.  Funny how much better my dart game becomes as I drain a glass of apple ale.

The two dart boards are found on a patio to the far right side of the restaurant.  During the cool months ceiling to floor doors enclose the patio.  On our initial visit the weather wasn’t quite warm enough to have them open as evening approached nor were they open on our return visit later that same weekend.  Business was so slow on both of those visits that I feared the down turn in casual dining might close The Pub down before it had a decent shot at succeeding.  Ah, but our third visit not only proved our fears unwarranted, it provided me with one of those evenings that lingers in the memory long after the apple ale buzz has faded.

We and a sky full of black storm clouds blew into Rocky River late on a Sunday afternoon heavy with humidity.  The patio doors were open and all the tall tables just beyond the patio roof had their umbrellas up and guests perched on the tables’ stools.  Barely beating the rain inside we found ourselves helping the servers to close the umbrellas and save the glasses and cutlery from playing their own game of darts.  Within minutes though the storm had passed, replaced by a cool grey early evening.  We settled into a table that gave us both access to a dart board and a view of the “friendly” between the Argentine and United States national football teams.  Argentina being the number one ranked team in the world at the moment and the U. S. being the 92nd, we were just hoping for a competitive game, not a drubbing.  Well, that evening two underdogs had their days.

We ordered shrimp tempura and stuffed mushroom caps off the appetizer menu  (both delicious), an apple ale for me and a good strong beer for my companion.  Before long we had settled into alternately playing for the title of World Champion of Steel Tip Darts and watching the game on TV.  Two hours later our boys had held the Argentine team to a 0-0 tie and I had emerged – after three hard fought games – the triumphant but gracious World Champion of Steel Tip Darts (not to brag but I did hit a double bull to end the last game, okay maybe to brag just a little).

Patio of The Pub with its doors open,
dart boards and TV faintly visible at the back.

Were I a resident of Rocky River or any place within reasonable driving distance of it, I would be back at The Pub on a weekly basis defending my world title.

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