On a recent road trip, I had the chance to revisit an old standby that any city could not do wrong to emulate. In any market, finding a good bar that offers a generous selections of taps that rotate with some frequency is great for those of us who don't have a standard beer. Providence has several such places in the form of Doherty's and Wickenden Pub, and probably others that I haven't heard of or visited yet. The beer connoisseur's pub, as it were.
What I haven't seen in any city besides Pittsburgh, and apparently now also Cleveland, is a pub that combines that with an awesome menu of creative and consistently well executed pub food. Beyond the basic's of burger formulations, wing sauces from mild to waiver required, and other sandwiches, Fatheads offers what I've found to be the best pub food to be found anywhere I've yet tried. And with over ten years of experiencing their menu and ever changing beer selections and staff knowledgeable about the beers that are on offer, every trip to Pittsburgh for me includes a visit to this place for a Headwich, burger, salad, sub or wings.
This isn't to say that every item on the menu is excellent, and errors have occurred. Once, in the long history of coming here, burgers had to be sent back for being improperly cooked. The vegetarian sub isn't very good. And I still haven't tried everything on the menu. Much more challenging now that I live in Providence and get my favorites on each visit.
Image via Wikipedia
My favorites, in no particular order because it all depends on the day, are the Bay of Pigs, an excellent interpretation of a cuban sandwich, the three pepper burger, the jalapeno cheesesteak, beasty barbecue wings and the taco salad that seems to contain an entire head of iceberg lettuce. Oh, and don't overlook the honey-mustard, a must order side for dipping the generous servings of well cooked chips or fries.
Servers have come and gone, been given unkind nicknames and consistently been knowledgeable about the beers on tap and in bottles and willing to put up with the antics of a table for 12 or 14 out to have a good time almost weekly or a table of 4 with a 6 month old in a car seat.
When I and my friends first started coming to the place, it occupied a narrow first floor of an old row home, and could seat about 40 people, with weeknight waits well over an hour. Back then, in addition to the rotating taps, a very large bottle collection was available. Eventually, the dining room was expanded to a second building allowing for seating for about 100 people, and the beer focus shifted almost exclusively to drafts, with about 40 taps and a cask being offered. Most recently they've redone their outdoor seating area to include a roof, allowing another 20 or so, partnered with Rogue for private label brews, and added one cask selection which rotates just about weekly.
And I hear they have desert. And soup. *
* It wasn't until going here for well over 8 years that we discovered that they served desert. it was over 10 years before we knew they had soups...and they weren't recent additions when the servers told us this.