The Rose & Crown English Food & Ale House
Something just felt off about this place from the moment we walked in the door until we left a beer or two later. I'm not usually picky with bars, and I love a good dive bar, but this was odd. We arrived around 9 or 10 pm on a Friday night and the outside was busy, the bar pretty full, and the tables mostly empty. I wandered up to a vacant corner of the bar and ordered Oktoberfest and Hoegaarden drafts for about $5 each. While I got the drinks Laura visited the filthy restroom. We grabbed seats at the counter beside the bar and listened to what appeared to be an eccentric Stanford professor explain the positive aspects of fascism to a younger guy who appeared to be a student. The lighting was too bright, the decor too dated, the building too lacking windows to be comfortable. Maybe outside is better. Maybe if you become a regular it would feel comfortable...?
While they claim to be an English pub, this definately did not resemble any pub I ever visited in England (or Ireland for that matter). At best the interior was German-ish at one time, now just run down.
Empire Tap Room
We stopped by the Empire Tap Room to catch the end of a postseason baseball game and grab a few beers. At first I almost didn't enter this brightly lit, somewhat fancy establishment, but we needed a place to park our butts for an hour, and Gordon Biersch across the street is sometimes just too... Starbucksy corporate.
The establishment has a big bar, seating probably 20 or more patrons. There are also about 10 tables inside and maybe another 20 outside in the nice patio. I was impressed by the large draft beer selection... they have at least 20 beers including some that I've rarely seen in the US like Bitburger. They also have a large wine selection.
We sat at the far end of the bar near the kitchen and we both had maybe two beers. I had a Rogue beer and a Bitburger at around $5 each. The service was good throughout our short stay and the bartender friendly.
Rose and Crown: English style pub
For us expats who start to get withdrawl symptoms for English beer you can always pop into the Rose and Crown. Actually I drank the draft Strongbow Cider which was pretty good. I'd previously tried the english beer in here and it wasn't as I'd remembered from home. Don't know what it's like now but a few years ago it used to get pretty crowded with students.