Public House No. 7, Seven Corners, VA

Thanks to this review by Fritz Hahn, I found myself at Public House No. 7 for the very first time on Monday evening.

Walking through the charmless main dining room, I didn’t find much appeal, but once I walked into the pub area, I knew I was no longer in Kansas (I know this isn’t an Irish pub, but I went to many a pub in Ireland this past summer, and the dining rooms there also tend to be spartan).

I have an enormous respect for Hahn’s knowledge of and palate for beer, so I took his advice and went straight for the Fuller’s ESB. I’ve had this numerous times before, but I got the feeling this was an especially good keg; unfortunately, they got slammed over the weekend because of the review, and were out of the Fuller’s.

It is you, Fritz, who led me to the oasis, and it is you who made it vanish!

So I settled for a pint of Boddington’s ($6), nicely poured by the wonderfully gregarious bartender Michelle. I was also very curious about the Chip Butty ($5.99) Hahn had mentioned – I’d heard of these before, but had never had one: how can something that’s nothing more than (frozen) french fries on a buttered bun be any good? Well, I don’t know, but it is, and you should order this when you come here – I wish I’d gotten two of them.

The Boddington’s was mediocre (as Boddington’s often is these days), so I moved on to a bottle of Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout ($6) because I decided to make it a full-blown “Fritz Hahn night,” and ordered his other recommendation, the Lancashire Hot Pot ($13.99), a lamb stew topped with scalloped potatoes (which entirely cover the dish, and serve to retain the heat coming up from the earthenware vessel). I liked this dish, but didn’t love it – the lamb was very muted, which is surprising because there was at least one other lamb dish being offered (this often indicates you’re going to get really good lamb). Don’t get me wrong – this was better than your average pub stew, but I’ll try something else next time.

Public House No. 7 exceeded my expectations, and the only thing preventing it from being raised to italic in the Dining Guide (free to members) is the relative lack of good beers; hopefully this will change in the future – it’s a charming pub.

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