Right off the grounds of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, W.O. Wright’s Grill & Pub unites off-duty airmen and civilian employees alike for a taste of happy hour after work. The bar is also very close to Wright State University, but don’t let that fool you, this place is overall flooded with an older clientele enjoying beers, snacks and friends as soon as 5 o’clock comes around. It’s a lighthearted atmosphere with nightly specials, music and a variety of events to keep people coming in. It offers standard bar fare; burgers, nachos, and wings among other things.
With a distinctly older clientele, W.O. Wrights enjoys the busy atmosphere of a successful bar without the livelier, rowdier vibe of a trendier bar. Especially when the next-door base begins closing business for the day, the bar fills rapidly and stays that way into the evening. The kitchen starts getting busy and wait times go up. The food you’ll get is a mixed bag; some of it has been good, some of it not so much.
- Wings: Served extra jumbo-sized with a few different sauces. The Sweet BBQ wings have a thick molasses-based barbecue to make them bright, while the hot wings have an assertive heat.
- Western burger: A half-pound patty cooked well done and served with a vinegar-based barbecue sauce to make it stand out, then topped with smoky bacon and onion rings. Great!
- Jalapeno burger: A generous heap of jalapenos make this burger great, topped with a simple cheese to elevate that heat a little.
- Nachos: good, but tasted like all the ingredients were store-bought or canned, which did not impress me. While I wouldn’t mind eating them again, the overwhelming mountains of cheese, meat, vegetables, peppers and chips were tasty but I couldn’t help but wonder if they had fresh ingredients.
- Sweet potato fries: bland and slightly soggy. I tend to think sweet potatoes are a great ingredient to test an eatery; if you can harness their natural sweetness and texture, you’ve got a lot of skill, but it’s easy for careless cooks to overdo or underdo them. In this case, they didn’t seem to have their recipe down. Examples like this seem to abound on the menu; dishes taste either slightly off or like you could reproduce them at home thanks to generic ingredients. It would be more ambitious to make some of these specials more unique to the bar for a distinct taste.
Service was decent; while I ound wait times were bad during happy hour, I was also surprised to find service is a little slow even when there weren’t so many people around. The bar always seemed to be short one server or bartender, so no matter the crowd I find myself waiting for something or another pretty regularly. It’s a shame too, because the atmosphere is otherwise a pleasant one when the bar is empty, and can be very lively at peak hours. Slow service kills the buzz of an enjoyable atmosphere.
- The big crowd hits at 5:00 when the nearby base closes business. If you want to avoid that rush, come earlier or a little later.
- There are a number of events, bands and other things going on weekly. Check the online schedule for events that interest you.
- Have a little patience; wait times can be substantially longer when the bar gets busier.