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Username: jaykoivu

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The Victoria Pub and Grill, Ventura

Here's a little diamond in the rough!...Well okay, so maybe it's more like a cubic zirconia.

Located in a rather nice little So Cal town along the coast called Ventura, the Victoria Pub & Grill is a British styled pub plopped down and hidden in a strip mall appropriately enough on Victoria Ave. When I heard about the place being a British pub I figured the name was from Queen Victoria, but alas it's just named after the street it seems. None the less, let's go inside...

The decor is done up mostly in dark red woods, perhaps cherry. The tables, chairs, the bar, many of the walls, the stairs and bannister, the moldings and more. Couple that with the very dim lighting and you've got yourself a rather dark and subdued establishment. I don't know how old the place is, but my guess is that's it fairly new or they may have just remodeled. Everything looks very new, which detracts from the welcoming, homey, lived-in look you'd expect from a British pub. The effect is that it feels a little like one of those chain pubs being put up by Wetherspoons all over England. But they do seem to be trying. Perhaps in a couple years some character will grow on the place.

Okay, on to the beer! Their twelve taps currently are Guinness, Newcastle, Sierra Nevada PA, Fuller's ESB, Bass, Pyramid Hefeweizen, Fat Tire, Blackthorn Cider, Pear Cider, Pilsner Urquell, Fosters, and Coors Light. Their bottle selection leans more towards BMC type stuff, but there's a few interesting items such as Samuel Smith's Nut Brown, Old Peculier, Boddingtons and Steinlager. I had an Old Peculier when we visited and I have no complaints.

The food is so-so. I just had a cup of chicken curry soup, which was all right. My wife had a chicken sandwich that she said was okay. The salad was pretty bland, although it did come with a tasty hazelnut dressing, which you really needed to drown the salad in to get any kind of flavor. Course you have to take into account that we got there at about 2pm on a Sunday. In a real British pub the kitchen would probably be closed.

Here's a few other random details I noted while we were there. The decoration on the walls consisted of footy tees, all of which said "Victoria Pub" on the front. They had some nice flatscreens around the place showing a few different baseball games. A couple bookshelves are set into the walls containing books that appear to be for decoration only. Upstairs there's more seating, a pool table and darts.

Overall, not a bad place! I'd come here again if I found myself in the area.

1 Oct 2006 03:09

The Anacapa Brewing Company, Ventura

The beer here is decent to average. Nothing terribly exciting, but usually passable. Every once in a while they'll have something a little different, but generally they play it safe with pale ales, a stout and a red. This all might sound like a lot of complaining, but honestly this is the best place in this area that I've found. Plus the food is genuinely good and the service is great. There's usually the same bartender there whenever I go and she's a hoot!

The restaurant is a pretty straight forward rectangular room with a very long stone bar. Behind the bar are the brewing vats, which is probably the most interesting aspect of Anacapa. On the left side of the room as you walk in is an area with tables designated more for dining. There's also a few scatters tables near the front and out in the patio area. Most of the tables are small and fit no more than a group of four, so this might not be an ideal place for a large group. There's a couple TVs that are usually playing sports, but at a very low volume, and in no way would I call this a sports bar. The focus is definitely on beer.

If Anacapa doesn't strike your fancy, you could try Dargan's, the faux Irish pub up the street...but it's nothing special and you can get Guinness anywhere anyway.

1 Oct 2006 03:07

The Island Brewing Company, Carpinteria

This is not a pub or even a bar. It's a tasting room attached to the brewery. But quite honestly, this is the closest thing to a pub in the area. Island does about 8 varieties with a stout, pale ales, and a porter among them. Pints and samplers are available at reasonable prices. The beer is fresh and favorful. Paul the brewer is passionate about his craft. He's often on hand, so chat him up. He's a nice guy and he loves talking about beer! NOTE: The sign that says Island on the corner of a building on Linden Ave is NOT the building the brewery's in. The brewery's tasting room is down an alley along the railroad tracks. You can drive down there and park by the door. Carpinteria is also a great place to stay during the Summer for vacation. It's cheaper than Santa Barbara, but still close to the city. It's also within 45 minutes of the Firestone taproom in Buellton to the North, just 20 minutes from the Anacapa Brewery & Restaurant in Ventura just to the South, and 15 minutes from the brew pubs in Santa Barbara.

7 Apr 2006 20:42

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jaykoivu has been registered on this site since 25th March 2004