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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The London Bridge Pub and Chuck’s

Darren Bridger is a great guy. He was always one of our favorite barkeeps at The Hibernian on Glenwood South, as evidenced here in my write up of Strongbow Cider. Indeed, when Das Kinder had to interview a local business person for her Girl Scout business merit badge, I took her to see Darren, who had just opened The London Bridge and has known her since she was a “wee nipper”.

The London Bridge Pub is not a restaurant; it’s a private club, meaning you have to join. It has a magnificent beer (and cider) selection, probably the best in The Triangle. It also means that he doesn’t have a kitchen. So he doesn’t have food. But in an odd twist, he actually does have the best food in town: in fact he actively encourages folks to bring lunch or dinner in and that opens up a world of possibilities.

This brings me to Chuck’s, one of the other new Ashley Christiansen’s restaurants. Chuck’s is located literally around the corner from Darren’s place. My last visit to one of her locations – Beasley’s Chicken + Honey – was extraordinarily disappointing, prompting my first and only bad review. However, Her Imperial Majesty wanted to give Chuck's a run. I’m glad she insisted.

Chuck’s is a burger joint adjacent to Beasley’s. They specialize in high end, fresh ground burgers with hand cut fries. This is definitely not a “have it your way” kind of place. Here, the burgers are prepared with specific pairings. For example, I had a “Dirty South”, which is a spin on a Carolina burger done with chili, mustard, onions and slaw. I ordered it medium and was pleasantly surprised when it showed up pink in the middle. Her Imperial Majesty ordered the Bradley-Time, with roasted beets, buttermilk blue cheese, red onion, endive, and banyuls aioli.

Yeah, I know. Beets on a burger? Get over your misconceptions; it’s actually very good as was my Dirty South. We also ordered fries with a side of aioli and "comeback sauce" and I must say, they are as good as I’ve had. Absolutely marvelous. The prices are a bit on the high side but the portions are generous.
We paired our burgers with a pint of Ace Pear Cider on draft for the wife and an ice cold Bud in a bottle for me. They were sublime pairings (although her's was probably better than mine). All in all, it was a fabulous meal. Darren, with his spectacular beer / cider selection and by letting us bring in dinner, is truly a genius.


The London Bridge Pub
110 E Hargett St
Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 247-8901
Cuisine: Bring your own
Rating: *****
Prices: $
Atmosphere: A dark private club
Noise level: Average pub noise, unless we’re listening to a game
Open: After 3 pm most days. Unless Liverpool is playing, then he opens early.
Reservations: Are you crazy?
Other: Cash and credit cards.
237 S Wilmington St
Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 322-0126
Cuisine: Burgers
Rating: ****
Prices: $$
Atmosphere: Urban hipster, but we took ours to go
Noise level: We left, so who knows….
Mon-Wed, Sun 11:30 am - 10 pm; Thu-Sat 11:30 am - 12 am
Reservations: Are you crazy?
Other: Cash and credit cards.