Dogs Bollocks could be start of new Brit invasion
When a second Mo's Irish Pub, Brocach, Trinity Three Irish Pubs and the Third Ward's Irish Pub opened within about a year of each other, Milwaukeeans began noticing a trend. Then when O'Sullivan's in Brookfield and now Oakland Avenue's The Black Rose arrived shortly thereafter, it seemed as though the Irish were all but taking over the bar scene.
Thankfully, the East Side's new Dogs Bollocks, 2321 N. Murray Ave., is British, not Irish, though owner Tony Wright says it's a distinction that's too often confused, perhaps because we've become so accustomed to the Irish way of imbibing.
"The Irish have done a great job of exporting their culture, but the Brits haven't done it as much," he says. As an English export himself, he hopes to help change that, beginning with his new bar and restaurant that opened April 17 in the former Elliot's Bistro space.
In a city that's arguably Irish pubbed out, the differentiation is welcome. And once inside, anyone with an ounce of geographical knowledge can figure out that the dining sections designated as Hyde Park, Chelsea and Notting Hill are popular areas in London, not any part of the Emerald Isle.
The Oasis pumping through the speakers helps, too.
The kitchen's not yet open -- Wright says he's aiming for mid-May -- but in the meantime, there's plenty of Stella, Boddingtons, Carlsberg, Newcastle Brown Ale, Kronenbourg 1664 and the like on tap to sip on inside the completely redone interior. The building's original cream city brick remains and works as a beautiful backdrop to the London Underground maps, framed Beatles posters and a faux call box which serves as an entrance into the kitchen.
When he rolls out the menu next month, Wright says it'll be as "traditionally British as we can get it," and feature food he remembers from his years growing up in a tiny 11th century village.
He mentions the classic ploughman's lunch of cheese, bread, pickles and onions, as well as quintessential desserts like trifle -- a custard-topped fruitcake of sorts -- and treacle pudding, steamed sponge cake topped with more custard.
But it won't all be bubble and squeak-like.
"Things have changed in England now, so much of the traditional stuff's not there anymore," Wright says. "The most popular food in England right now is curry and rice, so we'll have that on the menu."
While British-based, the rest of the menu, he says, will pull from the reaches of the former British Empire and include influences from India, South Africa and even the original 13 U.S. colonies (look for a hamburger as our representative food).
Wright's first pub, Shorewood's Brit Inn, features a more Americanized menu. Wright recently sold the Brit Inn to focus on the Dogs Bollocks, which he hopes is the first of many new ventures. He's got plans for a second location "outside of the city," but his scope extends much beyond county lines.
With the help of his new British Pub Company, Wright wants to consult on and construct a plethora of British-themed pubs across the country. Of course, he wouldn't run them, he'd just use his expertise to set the scene for other potential bar owners.
"I've got connections back in England and Ireland to supply authentic pub equipment and décor," he says. "I've got an architect and a designer and we're going to go out and create British pubs from different eras in British history. It's a lofty ambition, but that's what I want to do."
But for now, he's got the week-old Dogs Bollocks to focus on. Although he was hoping for a grand opening that might coincide with St. George's Day -- the April 23 celebration honoring England's patron saint -- he's instead opted for a different day that unites Americans and Brits, June 6, known as D-Day.
The grand opening incorporates a cherished British tradition, the costume party, and Wright encourages all to come dressed in World War II-era garb. Next year he hopes to make St. George's Day festivities a bit more like that of the ever-popular St. Patrick, including a potential Murray Avenue "Brit fest" in late April.
Kayls | May 5, 2009 at 9:31 a.m. (report)
Boddingtons... on tap!?!? I'm sold. I was so sad when the VOX started selling it in cans. Poppycock! I'll have to check this place out soon.
still love the place. I was in England last year and the Dogs Bollocks is selling about the same beer line up as the pubs we visited in London. The Brits were big on carlsberg and stella. I am sure that by the time the DB has it's grand opening everything will be in place. Can't wait for the food and outside seating. Great article, I wish everyone at the DB all the best.
It should be non-smoking. That would be awesome!
Tetley's or John Smith's Smooth would be perfect. What about opening for football and paying for Setanta? Cheers Wiscoleeds
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