written and photographed by Jackie Dodd
I couldn’t decide what surprised me the most—maybe it was the Pilsner Urquell in my hand, the one from Prague. The Prague version, as in the one that never makes it to the States and isn’t the same as the brew we get in those green bottles. Maybe the most surprising thing was that Queen Anne Beer Hall feels a hundred years old in a charming, rustic, how-am-I-not-in-middle-Europe-right-now sort of way, and at the same time nothing feels forced or contrived about it. It could be either of those things, but it’s not. The most surprising aspect of my visit to this large but cozy gastropub is how it ended, or rather when it ended. What started late one afternoon as a quick stop-in to interview the manager and get a few photos ended at nearly 2 a.m. with four new friends clogging up my Facebook feed with snapshots from a spontaneous evening. This is the goal the owners had in mind—build community and bring people together. The tables are communal to encourage mingling; there isn’t wifi (a reminder to stay off your phone), and the staff is so friendly you’ll think they know you from somewhere. It’s like Cheers, but with better beer and old-world décor. Drop by and maybe you’ll get lucky with the unfiltered, unpasteurized version of a Pilsner Urquell, or even better, with four new friends and an evening of great memories.
203 W. Thomas Street