Inside Pub Royale at 2049 W. Division St. in Wicker Park [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
WICKER PARK — A pub that blends British and Indian fare and beers has replaced the former SmallBar on Wicker Park's Division Street and is set to open to the masses at 5 p.m. Thursday.
Pub Royale's electronic screen along the back wall resembles an arrivals and departures screen but with 24 draft beers, displaying the name, type, region of origin, the percentage of alcohol by volume, sizes — available in 8 and 16 ounces — and price, most glasses around $7.
"It's actually a program that was written for us specifically, so that we can quickly and easily update our draft menu as needed. With the frequent changes, we thought it would be fun to play off of the train station departure boards that flip to update," said Mary Doyle, a spokeswoman for Heisler Hospitality, which owns Royale Pub at 2049 W. Division St., just west of Damen Avenue.
The beer list was created by cicerone Ria Neri and Beverage Manager Michael McAvena.
Pub Royale also offers a long drink menu, starring seasonal house made version of a Pimm's cup, called a "Royale Cup," made with Letherbee in four numbered varieties: 1) Ginger beer with cucumber and mint; 2) Ancho reyes with lemon, orange and mint; 4) Scotch, cinnamon, lemon and peach; and 4) Rum, strawberries and pineapple.
Bartender Amy Probasco, who goes by "The Sauce" and was formerly with Girl and the Goat, [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
The No. 4 Royale Cup [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
The food, from Chef Jason Vaughan, is equally as creatively devised, with a thin brown paper menu that is foldable in several squares and looks and feels like a map or a bingo card.
The easy-to-read menu is not crowded with words, and the capital lettered headlines of "Fries" or "Pub Salad" get right to the point.
Among the 19 menu options, many spicy and relatively healthy, are samosas, deep-fried dough pockets stuffed with curried potatoes, fried onion and peas and cucumber raita salad topped with cooling yogurt.
Cucumber Raita [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
There's also scorched cauliflower that is sweet and spicy with Manchurian sauce, sesames and cashews that Probasco said is one of her favorite items on the menu in part because she was never a fan until trying Pub Royale's take on the cruciferous vegetable.
Doyle said Pub Royale has brought 30 to 35 new jobs to the area, and while there are not currently any former SmallBar employees on staff, Rachel Rodeghiero, who previously worked at SmallBar, is now behind the bar at Trenchermen, another venture owned by Heisler Hospitality.
Business partners Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner formed Heisler Hospitality eight years ago, with a goal of "taking an unconventional and organic approach to each individual project," according to a news release.
Next up, the Heisler team will tackle Queen Mary, the reopening of a bar shuttered since 1975.
Window seating at Pub Royale [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
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