A good pub is like an old leather jacket.
A little bit worn down, but and warm and safe.
Somewhere you can laugh and reminisce and complain and wallow and deal with whatever trials and tribulations life throws your way.
I’ve been trying to find a good pub here for a while now and my latest adventures have brought me to a quaint little place right in the heart of down-town Edmonton.
Sherlock Holmes is, for the lack of a better term, adorable.
The building takes stylistic cues from the traditional Middle-German house, with exposed brown beams, white walls, and a barn-like appearance. If you go when there’s snow on the ground, the front area even looks like a lawn with a tiny little picket fence.
The inside is pretty much what you would expect.
Dented, mismatched tables and chairs fill up the floor space next to barstools and the odd booth. Exposed rafters are plastered with logos, posters and license plates and anything vaguely British. The floor is old and wooden, and there’s a somewhat cozy upstairs level for when things really get busy.
Now I normally complain about how restaurants and bars are all decorated the same and lack personality, but I think Sherlock Holmes takes it too far in the opposite direction. Everything screams “LOOK AT ME I’M A SPECIAL FUCKING SNOWFLAKE”. Personality isn’t something that you ham-fistedly slap onto every available surface.
Service was unreasonably slow. There was almost a half hour wait between sitting down and placing orders. Much time was spent trying to catch the waitress’ attention without being too obnoxious. This mainly involved trying to make eye contact with her as she looked anywhere but our table.
When we finally did get our order taken, it didn’t take too long for our food to come out. The honey garlic wings, pretzels and beer cheese came out first.
The wings were typical pub fare and were pleasantly crispy and sticky. Nothing to write home about, but nothing glaringly wrong either.
The pretzels were soft, warm and chewy and were absolutely delicious with the Dijon-horseradish dip. They tasted like they were home-made, and if not, well it’s a damn good re-heated pretzel.
This one actually came with a warning from the waitress when we ordered it, which is always nice. It was described as a “cold, hard, salty cheese-string”. Fortunately for me, cheese strings were an integral part of my childhood.
To be honest, the cheese was actually pretty good. Once you get past the bizarre texture (like a harder, stringier, cheese string…), you realize it actually tastes quite good. Somewhat like an old cheddar with less kick.
The pizza was alright. Note that I’m writing this nearly a month after my visit, so my memory is a bit fuzzy, but let’s just say I wasn’t blown away. The veggies seemed fresh, the thin crust was a bit soggy, the sauce tasted canned and they didn’t skimp on toppings.
Sherlock Holmes, more so than most restaurants in town, sells an experience. With a drink or four, the tacky decorations don’t seem as tacky any more. You find that there’s always something to look at and talk about, be it the clientèle or the decorations. The alcohol softens the edges on the scarred tables and chairs, and suddenly they’re not ugly, they’re quaint. It’s not claustrophobic, it’s cozy.
It goes without saying that the food would be significantly improved too.
With that being said, I fear that my sobriety affected my ability to experience the Sherlock Holmes the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Guess I’ll need to go back and have a few drinks.
You know, for science.