Step aside, craft beer—the element of surprise may be the real emerging star at British-Indian restaurant Pub Royale. While not entirely divorced from the sports bars that surround it (it is a “pub,” after all), the concept stands out in its eatery-heavy district for doing something a little different.
“People are surprised by what they like,” notes manager Adam Halyckyj, describing guests caught unawares by the restaurant’s monthly Bollywood Night—a movie showing it hosts to draw traffic on Sundays—and who stick around to watch the rest of the film.
The restaurant’s Royale Cup—its riff on a Pimm’s Cup created in partnership with a local distiller—often catches guests off guard, too, he says, noting that men tend to be surprised by how much they like a drink made with muddled fruit.
But beer is the centerpiece at this 1,700-square-foot spot, with 20 on draft plus four ciders, and a selection that rotates as often as possible. Draft options appear on a large digital wall display that “clicks like a train board” and can be updated quickly from a phone or computer, Halyckyj says.
It’s also a good conversation starter for servers and bar staff, who can easily suggest offerings to customers, seeing as the display lists each draft’s style, origin, price and available sizes between 4 and 16 ounces.
In terms of the bar program, which comprises 45% of overall sales, “We really try to work in tandem with what we’re doing in the kitchen,” Halyckyj says of Pub Royale. It serves up Indian fare like curries and samosas, and brunch items ranging from chai-spiced French toast to shrimp and grits.
Cross-training is key to enabling smooth service when traffic ticks up, and staff are expected to take an “all hands on deck” approach, as they’re all initially trained in the kitchen and can help expedite service in the front and back of house.
Yet, Halyckyj says, even during packed weekend periods, Pub Royale aims to be first and foremost “a comfortable bar with good food.”