British Invasion

By Ashley Bennett

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Posted July 21, 2011 in Eats

The Bulldog Pub lies hidden in the corner of a shopping center, sitting back from view of the busy street, and because of this it’s difficult for the casual passerby to spot. Should you get close enough on almost any night of the week, you’ll hear the welcoming sound of live entertainment waiting inside. It may be a small joint but you know that Cheers-esque location you’ve been searching for? Well entertainment, great food, a drink or two and a good time all welcome you at The Bulldog Pub in Upland.

I expected to enter an average sports-themed bar with a bit of U.K. flair on a slow Sunday evening, but was surprised to find the attention of many customers, including myself, enjoying a few jazzy numbers being performed by members of Bob’s Summer Group, a group of regulars who play every Sunday night. However this wasn’t the type of entertainment you half-heartedly pay attention to as you mull over your meal. The music and the vocals were the central focus of the pub and every chair in the place was turned to face the performers. Patrons with some real genuine talent were beckoned and cheered on by friends and strangers alike to sing classic hits from years past.

Aside from the entertainment, this pub is well known for its fish and chips. These filets of New Zealand Hoki, dipped in the pub’s own beer batter, come out crispy but pull apart with ease. Perfectly golden brown on the outside, white and moist on the inside; it’s easy to see why this is such a popular choice. Served with a side of tartar sauce for dipping, the portion of fish was plenty for one combined with a basket of lightly salted fries.

Among the normal menu choices of patty melts and cheeseburgers, I chose something that might reflect the “English” side of The Bulldog’s menu: The Bulldog and fries. This signature dish features a large English banger sausage generously smothered in grilled onions, barely being contained by two separate pieces of toasted roll. “Generous” isn’t an exaggeration—the sausage I ordered couldn’t even be seen under the mass of onions. This sandwich/hot dog hybrid is a perfect mix of sweet and spicy, especially when combined with a side of Dijon mustard. I loved every bite of this beasty sandwich despite the fact that the encasing roll was not large enough to hold back those tasty grilled onion escapees which ended up slipping out onto my plate.

On the other hand, my dinner partner had the Dinkum Burger and fries, which had its fair share of standard toppings to compliment a bacon cheeseburger. But what makes this dish a unique addition to the menu are two unusual toppings: a fried egg and a few slices of beets. Baffling, yes; but the sandwich still held its own. The veggies were fresh and the bacon was crisp. The egg added a unique flavor when paired with the semi-bitter pickles, and the whole thing was just one big juicy and glorious mess. To keep it all together a steak knife was stabbed right through the center as if the Dinkum was the Excalibur of burgers.

While a majority of the patrons on this particular evening were a bit older (and by no means did that limit the energy of the atmosphere), customers came by from many age groups to either have a drink, enjoy the entertainment or merely play a game of pool or darts. Another night may have sported an entirely different crowd, considering The Bulldog’s evening activities include local open mic night and karaoke.

The Bulldog Pub, 1667 N. Mountain Ave., Upland, (909) 946-6614; uplandbulldogpub.com. Sun-Sat, 11am-12am. AE, D, MC, V.


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