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Mystery Diner: The Public House

The Public House is one of those local gems tucked away in the lower Connecticut River Valley. My spouse and I get a bite to eat there whenever we visit friends in Old Lyme. Just a quick jaunt across the River, and you find it in the Old Lyme Plaza – nestled quite close to the Bowerbird and other shops.

You walk in, and you instantly feel the cozy comfort of the whisky bar/“pub” feel to the establishment. It is warmly decorated, with the mood instantly set by the classic look of Edison lights hanging above the spacious bar. In addition to the bar, there are two dining areas from which one can choose – one to the left of, and separated from, the bar; the other surrounds the bar. Tables are assorted – from high-tops to booths.

You also instantly find yourself in the company of friends – whether it is fellow diners or the very open, friendly bartending and wait staff. Though the restaurant dining and bar areas are often crowded, people turn around and do not hesitate a wink to set aside room for new entries. The hustle and bustle of laughter, conversational voices, and the awesome music playing through its sound system (an eclectic mix of The Strokes to Tom Petty to Johnny Cash) fill the House – all the way to its warm-toned ceiling.

But let’s get down to brass tacks: the beverages and food. Craving a stout, hoppy beer, glass of Chardonnay, or a delicious mixed drink? You can take your pick and then some! The bartenders are generous in their pour, and are very knowledgeable on the beer, wine, whiskey, and mixed drink selections. Meanwhile, not only does the food taste delicious, it is genuinely handcrafted in the kitchen on premise. From “Nibbles” to “Small Plates” to “Salads” to “Entrees,” the Public House has something for everyone. A favorite of ours is the Baked Chickpeas – baked golden to perfection with a zesty Cajun seasoning. The Calamari is also noteworthy, as it is not greasy and has the appropriate meat to breading ratio. In fact, none of the fried dishes that we have enjoyed at the House are greasy. The Salads are served in heaping bowls – again, with an appropriate amount of dressing to complement the greens (rather than drown them out). The Burgers are robust and hearty. The menu also boasts a variety of tacos – fish, shrimp, or pork. For the diner who craves something closer to home in terms of taste, there is always the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich. While the menu is concise and clear to read, don’t let that fool you: there is absolute variety and thought put into this array of food.

Recently, we had dinner on a Monday evening, which happens to be the House’s Trivia Night. Different evenings of the week have a unique theme – whether it is Trivia Mondays, Teacher Appreciation Wednesdays, or live Music and Martinis Thursdays.

Going back to Trivia Night…everyone really gets into it – playing, answering questions, and laughing. Of course, if you’d rather not, you do not have to play (but you’ll find yourself attempting to answer the questions anyway!). We shared the Baked Chickpeas and Calamari. Then we had the Fish Sandwich Special (yes; the menu features daily specials – ranging from soups to entrees) and the Chicken Taco Salad. Delicious on all counts. We highly recommend that you give this charming pub a try after some Christmas shopping!

Check out their website HERE.

The Public House
90 Halls Road,
Old Lyme, Conn.

860-390-6181

Open Monday-Thursday 3:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Open Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday

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