On a random Saturday afternoon in a not so random town, my wife and I decided to go out for some drinks and food. Our wanderings took us to The King’s Head – a new bar in the Pierce Atwood building on Commercial Street which I had been hearing about lately. With an A-frame sign on the street and a sign hanging above the door, the entrance to the place is otherwise nondescript, just consisting of a door in a large brick building. Without hesitation though, we went in to see what the buzz was about.
We walked in and I quickly looked around. The room we entered into had a great three-sided bar and a few tables. To the left was a room with all table seating. The place was a little dark and there was a small mid-day crowd there. We sat at the bar. As I swiveled my head back and forth to catch all the details around me, I saw 25 beer taps and a great selection of booze including a number of whiskeys. The bar had a feeling which reminded me of the days of yore. The bartender/owner approached us with drink menus and offered us food menus which we accepted.
I looked at the menus intently as I had done no presearch regarding the offerings there. The beer and wine menu had a full food menu on the back, but the mid-day food menu was separate and had a couple happy hour specials on it too. I was focused on the drink menu at first. I asked what was selling well and was told the Bissell Brothers Baby Genius was a top seller. I said I’d have one of those but didn’t see it on the menu. Along with a beer, I got the newest version of the menu which I was told changed regularly. That one had the Baby Genius on it. My wife started with a chardonnay.
With the beer propped in front of me, a sip proved that it was excellent. I usually prefer darker beers with a higher alcohol content, but at only 4% ABV, this one was great – light and summery with superb flavor. With our drinks going down smoothly, we focused on getting some food. We decided to order the Cheese Platter with a pastry wrapped camembert, gouda, apple cranberry sage compote, local honey, and peppered olive oil crostini. I generally feel that anything with cheese is delicious, so I was ready for some delectable dairy delicacies.
While we waited for our food, we sipped our drinks – a lot – because the cheese plate took a long time. It took so long that we arrived at happy hour about a half hour later and ordered a Scotch Egg which came with paprika aioli and was two bucks instead of the regular five. I have a love of Scotch eggs and was excited to try it, though I hoped it would come out quicker than the cheese plate for which we were still waiting.
The cheese and egg came out within a reasonable time after I ordered the egg. I tried the cheese. The warm pastry wrapped cheesy concoction was super-flavorful with great texture. It went well with the compote which added a little sweetness. I also smeared a bit of honey on a bite, but truthfully, there was so little honey that it was difficult to get any on my cheese pastry. Next I set my paws upon the gouda. I’m actually not sure it was gouda as the cheese was hard with a deep yellow color. If there are variations of gouda, it may have been, but my experience with gouda over the years is that it’s soft and more white than yellow. It didn’t matter though. I was still going to eat it. I eyed the mystery cheese like a single man at a gentleman’s club, threw it on a crispy crostini, and dropped it in my cheese hole. It was magnificent. The cheese didn’t taste like gouda. It was on the sharper side and had flavor for miles. The crostini was lightly seasoned and the perfect accompaniment. Overall, the cheese plate was a winner.
My Scotch egg was up next. For those unfamiliar with Scotch eggs, they are a very manly food consisting of an egg with sausage wrapped around it and then breaded and deep fried. The outside is crispy and the egg is usually somewhere between medium and hard boiled. This particular one was cut in half. I cut a piece of the egg and dipped it in the aioli and proceeded to dunk it into my mouth. It was good. How could it not be with egg, sausage, and a deep fried panko crust? The aioli was good too, but as I continued to eat, I ran out of it quickly; there wasn’t enough. There was only a small dallop and I could have eaten at least double the amount with my fried chicken butt nugget. In an ideal scenario, there might even be a selection of sauces offered. Nonetheless, the egg was well prepared and well worth the two bucks.
As we neared the end of our food, I was ready for another drink. When the bartender asked in an important-sounding Polish accent if I wanted another beer, I outmanned him and said I wanted whiskey. He asked if I wanted to see the whiskey menu. I did. It was titled “Whiskey and Whiskey”. Things were already good, but now they were getting stupid good. The options for whiskey drinks were one and two ounces. That created a minor issue as I hadn’t planned on exhibiting quite that amount of machismo. I was looking for a Rob Roy – alternately known as a Scotch Manhattan in more feminine circles. The bartender said they didn’t have everything needed for the Rob Roy and then recanted saying that he had vermouth, so he could do Scotch and vermouth. I said that was fine and chose Laphroaig 10 Year which I had never tried. My wife ordered the beer I had just finished.
While making my drink, the bartender looked at me and said “I don’t have cherries though or anything like that”. Oh man, this place was awesome. My large drink arrived quickly in front of me and I sipped it. Holy super smokey smattering of sensuous soot! The whisky was smokier than a dozen Cuban cigars in the middle of a house fire on top of an active volcano. I loved it and could feel my balls growing to the size of fuzzy dice. Beer, Scotch egg, smokey whiskey, and NO FUCKING CHERRY! I was feeling so masculine that my moustache was growing a beard.
As I continued to sip my whiskey, I though about all the people who don’t drink whiskey and how they would have to do something challenging to feel like they’re men. They might have to wield an ax and chop down a tree or get under a car and dirty themselves with oil. Myself, I like to drink whiskey. It gives me that “not so fresh and I love it” feeling. The path to greatness might be knowledge or something ridiculous like that, but I prefer whiskey like any good man.
After drinking my Rob Roy, I smeared some after shave on my face, donned my vintage fedora, built a massive bonfire, and started a fight. Then I asked for the bill. It came to just under 70 bucks after tip. What a great place The King’s Head is. I actually really loved it. The food was very good, the drinks were great, and the atmosphere had me fired up. As masculine as I felt The King’s Head was, there were plenty of women there who seemed to be enjoying themselves. This is a place for everyone. Get down there now and down some whiskey and a beer so you too can experience The King’s Head.
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