The Dogs Bollocks satisfies but fails to impress
When Tony Wright, owner of the now defunct Brit Inn in Shorewood, decided to open a second English pub in Milwaukee last April, he headed to the former Elliott's Bistro space on the East Side, and opened The Dogs Bollocks.
True to English pub form, the draw at the now 1-year-old The Dogs Bollocks, 2321 N. Murray Ave., is seemingly not the food but instead a clean, bright pub with a decent beer selection and televisions showing all the latest sporting events.
On two recent visits, we found the pub business very slow, and on a weekday, we were the only patrons dining. As there was no server on duty on a Wednesday night and the bartender was waiting tables, we took this type of dinner crowd (or lack thereof) to be fairly standard for the pub.
The Dogs Bollocks has a simple English pub meets American bar fare menu. Wings ($7.95), chicken tenders ($7.95) and potato skins ($7.95) make a showing alongside curried British chips or fritters ($5.95) and Grimsby cod fishcakes ($7.95). The wings are bony and have little flavor to go with the small amount of chicken meat. On our visit, they were served with a side of ranch dressing.
After the appetizers, the menu is divided into a children's section, soups and salads, Sarneys (sandwiches) and British favorites.
Jewel in the crown curry ($9.95) featured tiny cubes of chicken in a curry sauce over basmati rice. While aromatic, the dish lacked flavor, and the chicken was slightly dry. Bangers and mash ($10.95) surprised with the bangers encased in a puff pastry type shell, reminiscent of a very thin pasty. Mashed potatoes came covered in gelatinous brown gravy with mushrooms.
Brunch at The Dogs Bollocks was a slightly better dining experience and this time there were three other tables of diners, so we ate in the dining room which now had a waitress on staff.
Brunch items are to be served with hash browns or potato of the day, but on our visit, there was no potato of the day. The brunch menu includes standards like eggs Benedict ($8.95), a bacon and ham quiche ($8.95) and French toast (coined William of Normandy Toast, $7.95), in addition to a full English breakfast ($12.95), and British pancakes filled with chicken, mushroom, spinach, cream sauce and cheese ($8.95).
The English breakfast offered "bubble and squeak" mashed potatoes-box-style mashed potatoes with bits of carrots and peas, grilled mushrooms, two bangers (this time breading-free), a marinated tomato, and a piece of soft toast buttered with margarine. The fried egg came over-hard rather than to the diner's specification.
RAF scrambler ($8.95) was intriguing to me in name, but the server didn't know what the meaning of RAF was either. Regardless, the scramble of red and green bell peppers, bacon, cheese, potatoes and mushrooms was not unpleasant, although certainly nothing to look at on the plate.
Service on both visits was adequate, and interestingly enough, both employees we encountered were new to the pub and hadn't tried most of the items on the menu.
My experiences here were not ones that would bring me back to the Bollocks to dine; I likely wouldn't try anything else on the menu unless I was there catching a soccer game on the weekend or a Tuesday night pub quiz and wanted a convenient but lackluster bite a few pints into the evening.
I am a English lady living in Milwaukee and I go to the dogs bollocks quite often. I find the management very friendly and the pub is very traditional. I also think the food is excellent too. If this pub isn't busy it's because of bad reviews like the one you have given them. I have been to other bars in Milwaukee and not found any to compare to this one. You don't often see the owners in them either, the staff take care of the business. Someone commented about this not being like a pub in London. Thank goodness it isn't .I come from Newquay, Cornwall and this is a surfers paradise.They would die for a pub like this there. I'm grateful I have a bit of home here for me and my family say the same. Keep up the good work dogs bollocks and bollocks to anyone who says different!
As an ex-pat English man I can assure you that the Dogs Bollocks is as close as you are ever going to get to a British Pub outside of the fair shores of the mother land. The food is good (better than a true English Pub I can assure you, not a steak and kidney pie in sight) and the atmosphere is fantastic, especially on the weekends when its an all day party from kick off till closing. Maybe the writer needs to take their head out their arse and get a job they maybe more suited to, I hear McDonalds is hiring. In fact The Dogs Bollocks is so good it caused the Pizza Man to spontaneously con-bust in jealousy. Give it a try and form your own opinion rather than take the word of some hack.
johnnyk I was there Friday night after work. By about 8pm you had to wait to get a seat at the bar or a table. The juke box is predominately Brit Artist about 200 albums and all the other stuff blocked on the internet.
Lionheart, the last time I was in there (about 3 weeks back) they had an internet jukebox, which can play virtually anything.They have an iPod loaded with BritTunes behind the bar, and the staff generally puts it on shuffle. Unfortunately, every time somebody put money into that cursed jukebox, it took over the sound system. If they switched to a new, all-Brit jukebox, that's a huge improvement that would bring me back as a regular.
I agree with Spicegirl. I don't know about the owners of The Trinity, McCathy's, Cafe Hollander/Central but the owner of The Dogs Bollocks is from the country that the bar represents England. I guess that is a start. I was there last night and the music on the Juke Box is all British and the Bar staff were playing British stuff. Also had the wings and the girlfriend had the Bangers and Mash, both were good bar food. The place was also pretty busy for the mid-week. Onmilwaukee probably needs a new food and drink critic. How about a vote on that one?
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