England will step into the spotlight April 29 as the world shares the excitement of a Royal Wedding, and those of us in the East Bay have several choices of places to go to join the revelry.
The nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton Friday follow two other occasions for celebrating things British this past week — the 85th birthday Thursday of Queen Elizabeth II, who continues her reign as the oldest monarch in English history, and St. George's Day on Saturday, a somewhat ignored feast day in honor of the patron saint of England that was once a festival to rival Christmas.
For readers who may want to share this celebration of Britannia, we've listed various East Bay hubs (or pubs) of Englishness.
389 Colusa Ave, Kensington
Hours: 5 to 10 p.m.
Find their Facebook page here
Complete with a playground for the kids (hence the "Circus"), this "local" is as good an English pub as any across the pond. From the beer to the food and back again. Save yourself, though, for the "Sticky Toffee Pudding," which tastes as good as it sounds.
Commonwealth Cafe and Public House
2282 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
Hours: 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Serving traditional English fare such as bangers and mash, shepherd's pie and beans on toast, along with a variety of hearty ales, the Commonwealth is a modern incarnation of the faithful English pub. There are no events or specials planned for St. George's Day, but it's the thought that counts.
"We usually have that British vibe going anyway," said owner Ross Adair, who hails from Glasgow, Scotland.
Breakfast begins at 9 a.m. with Heinz baked beans on toast or a Devonshire cream scone. For lunch or dinner, the "ploughman's platter" will take you to the green plains of the English countryside, while the "fish & chip butty" will bring you home to English comfort food. Beware: Stray to the French onion soup or Scotch egg and you may be accused of treachery.
On St. George’s Day, the match of the day is Chelsea versus West Ham, with kick-off at 9:30 a.m.
Englander Sports Pub
101 Parrott St., San Leandro
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight
This place may feel more like an American sports bar than a quaint English pub with the SF Giants and the Oakland A's playing on St. George's Day, along with the large selection of American beer and food. But the menu still boasts a few English staples. Look for the steak and ale pie and fish and chips among the burgers, barbecue and Mexican food. A "shandy lager" (known in England simply as a "shandy") is always a refreshing addition to a daytime pub meal.
The Englander opens at 11 a.m., which means missing the morning soccer game and a traditional brunch, but stays open for late-night revelers.
331 Hartz Ave., Danville
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Happy hour, from 3 to 6 p.m., means $3.50 pints of draft beer. On Saturday, shepherd's pie will be on special for $7.50. Next weekend, The Crown will show live coverage of the Royal Wedding, which starts at 3 a.m. for the thoroughly dedicated, from 11:30 am until close, and serving tea and scones.
336 Saint Mary St., Pleasanton
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Two words: curry chips. This popular English chip-shop item (known as "chips with curry sauce") is the perfect blend of comfortable and flavorful. Try a thirst-quenching Blackthorn Cider or a creamy Boddington's. Beware of the "Snake Bite," a favorite with England's college-aged revelers. Its bite is stronger than its bark. The beers come in the larger imperial pint size, too.
For the wedding, Redcoats will be hosting a traditional English garden party, with strawberry cream tea and fresh scones, trifle and sherry. Make reservations to ensure your spot. Reruns of the wedding will be shown all day.