Indulge your inner Scot with delicious food and a rousing bar.
When looking for a place to spend a night out on the town, a Scottish joint may not be the first idea that comes to mind. Yet Scotch Corner Pub has managed to pull off authenticity without an ounce of tackiness, and it may just become a new favorite hangout spot.
How do they maintain this authenticity?
“We’re Scottish ourselves, so that helps,” said General Manager Ben Pitkethly. Pitkethly added that he and his mother Maggie, who owns the pub, moved to Boulder directly from Scotland.
Upon arrival to the restaurant, which is located in L’Absinthe’s old spot on Broadway and Walnut, you’ll have the leisure of seating yourself. According to Pitkethly, this is a European custom and encourages a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere.
Once seated, be prepared to stay a while. The people that were present when we sat down were all still there when we left, and all were enjoying themselves over conversation and various beverages.
“One of my hobbies is scotch collecting,” Pitkethly said of the menu’s extensive list of scotches and whiskeys. “We want to offer ones that are rare, and we want people to try something different every time. It’s always changing.”
The boisterous sound of bagpipes competed with laughter and loud voices from the bar; everyone seemed to be having a joyful time.
The first thing I noticed on the menu was its lengthy list of vegetarian options. Above the list was a proud announcement which notified customers that all vegetarian dishes are prepared in a separate kitchen so as to avoid cross-contamination. I nodded in pleasant surprise, as this was something I did not expect of a Scottish eatery.
Arriving at a decision was difficult, since many of the dishes were unfamiliar. I recognized items such as fish n’ chips, burgers, and sandwiches, yet other items such as bangers and mash sounded a bit more questionable.
“The authentic dishes are very popular,” Pitkethly said. “Especially the pies.”
Our server, Josh, also recommended the pies, which were available with a variety of different ingredients including steak, chicken, and beef. These come with a side of “mash,” which is the Scottish term for mashed potatoes. Options for these included cheesy mash, whiskey mash and red potato mash, among others, with a variety of gravies to choose from as well.
My two guests, Stephanie Moncada and Alice Shallcross, ordered Fish and Chips ($12.95) and the Roasted Veggie Tart ($10.95). As our server whisked away our menus, we hoped it wouldn’t be long until this delicious-sounding food was sitting in front of us.
The Steak and Ale Pie ($11.95) arrived looking like a package. I broke through the puffy crust and discovered little treasures of tender beef and vegetables smothered in a pungent ale sauce. Paired with the flaky, buttery crust and savory whiskey mash, the dish was to die for.
I sampled the Fish and Chips and it was perfect; flaky fish inside a crunchy batter with a classic tartar sauce for dipping. The Roasted Veggie Tart was a baked pie crust with a delicious medley of roasted and marinated vegetables lying on top.
We sat in silence and devoured our dinners, leaning back afterwards into our seats to unbutton our pants. It took a while for our server to tend to us post-meal, but our stomachs were happy for this lag time.
“We’re not necessarily a fine-dining restaurant,” Pitkethly said. “We want people to relax, so our service is relaxed. People appreciate how laid-back things are here.”
Indeed, the service could have used a bit more energy. Yet we weren’t trying to rush out the door since the mood inside the pub was down-to-earth and friendly.
When our server finally did clear our plates, he offered us the dessert menus, towards which we glanced doubtfully.
Yet when he described the Sticky Toffee Pudding (all desserts are $5), we were sold. It was a slice of moist cake that was, as the name describes, sticky with a coating of sweet toffee.
If this is authentic Scottish food, I need to start planning my next vacation. In the meantime, there is Scotch Corner Pub, a little vacation in itself in the heart of downtown Boulder.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Lauren Duncan at email@example.com.